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  • The Case for Backing Up WHS to External Hard Drives


    While we all wait for the perfect Windows Home Server online backup solution, one tried and true method that we can turn to is using an external hard drive. Here we take a quick look at the process.


    Nowadays a person can pick up a large 1-2 TB hard drive from $100 or less. If you think about it, the cost for backing up to an external drive is a lot cheaper in the long run than using a cloud service in the long run at their current prices. The problem with backing up to physical media is it seem like a cumbersome chore. While all it takes is connecting the drive and running through the WHS Backup Wizard, we’re all guilty of being lazy or simply forgetting to backup on a regular basis.




    For this tutorial we’ll be using WHS Version 1 with PowerPack 3 as a lot of users are probably still using it. In the future we’ll be taking a look at the backup options for Vail.


    Getting in the Habit


    When I worked in IT and for those who do, are probably familiar the daily routine of  a daily routine of  swapping out tapes daily. Think of your data as though it was extremely valuable for a big corporation or bank. Sure they might only be pictures and home movies, but that data is priceless to you personally.


    You may not want to swap out your external drives every day, but a weekly rotation is probably a great idea. Then keep your rotation of external drives in another building. When working in IT we kept our backup tapes at the bank in a safe deposit box, but maybe you have a family member, friend, or colleague where you can keep your external drive. Either way it’s good to have w sets of backups so they aren’t in the same location in case of fire, flood, or some other unforeseen disaster.


    Backup Process


    If you haven’t backed up your WHS data to an external hard drive before, the process is fairly simple following the wizard. First connect the external drive to your WHS machine. Then launch Windows Home Server Console on a machine on your network. Find the new drive, right-click, and select Add.




    The Add a Hard Drive Wizard kicks off... just select Next.




    Now in the next section make sure you select to backup files and not add it to the pool.




    Then depending on if it's a new drive or not, select if you want to preserve the existing files or format the drive.




    Give the drive a name that you can remember like WHS Backup or whatever helps you.




    Then close out of the wizard provided everything looks correct. If you need to make any changes you can go back at this point.




    Under Server Storage you'll see the drive listed under Server Backup Hard Drives.




    Now go to Computers and Backup, right-click your server, and choose the files you want to backup to the external drive. You can also check the box to remember the settings for future backups.




    Then wait while the backup process completes. Of course the amount of time it takes will depend on the amount of data you're backing up. While this is a manual process, once you get into the habit of running it daily or weekly, you can save some cash on not having to spend money on a backup service.


    What do you guys think? Do you use an external drive to backup your data and rotate them out on a regular basis, or do you use an online service such as Cloudberry, ASUS, or another service?


    by: mysticgeek


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    I backup my server, minus ALL my ripped DVD's, to a WD 1 Tb external drive about every two weeks. Now I just need to get a second drive and swap them out at work to have them "off site."
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    @chilly88: Yep. It's the "sneakernet" approach, but it works well if you make a habit of it. It is a bit more work, but you can save a lot of money with this approach and not have to worry about another monthly bill. I backup my most important data online to Carbonite from my main PC, then swap out 2 1TB drives on a regular basis and store one at my parents house. I too don't worry about ripped DVDs or CDs.
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    Nice writeup. Note that my BDBB Add-In can also use this drive as a storage location alongside shared folder backups, so if you've not got a huge backup DB you could store both on a single drive.
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    Additional hard drives can just be added to the machine and we need to be know more details about our hard drive backup and online backup is most important to me. I hope your writing is helps me a lot to keep protect my hard drive.
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