Partition portion of External HD for System Files Backup

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  1. Posts : 17,349
    Windows 11 Pro

    Well, what is confusing us is that it is impossible to have a Drive C partitioned as logical disk drives C, D, E.

    Reference this screenshot of my disk management:

    Partition portion of External HD for System Files Backup-capture.jpg

    My computer has 2 physical disks attached. Both happen to be internal SSDs but that is irrelevant.

    Each disk can have multiple partitions. Each partition can be assigned only 1 drive letter. You can't have Drive C: be partitioned into C:, D:, and E:. It's just impossible. My Disk 0 contains Drive C: and Drive E: - two separate partitions. My Disk 1 contains Drive D: and Drive R: - again two separate partitions.

    What it sounds like you want to do is create 2 different partitions on 1 external hard disk. One partition you want to use for system backups and one partition you want to use for data files. Yes, you can do that. And yes, you need an image backup and incremental backups. Your base full image backup you want to make when you know everything is running correctly. Then you want weekly incremental backups because Microsoft issues updates on Tuesdays and any one of the Tuesday updates may break your system.
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  2. Posts : 2,487
    Windows 10 Home, 64-bit

    Do I understand correctly:

    You have an internal hard drive with partitions C, D, and E.

    Your "music files" are somewhere on C, D, or E.

    You want to "back up" EVERYTHING on those 3 partitions.

    Is that it? Or are your music files NOT on C, D, or E?

    Do you have ONLY a single internal hard drive, albeit with several partitions?

    "Music files" can typically be backed up with any old file backup program.

    A C partition containing Windows can only usefully be backed up with an imaging program of some type.

    I don't see why a backup of music files or Windows would require any particular partitioning scheme on a destination external hard drive.

    If your music files are on C, they would be included in any image made of the C partition, but you could of course make a separate backup of music files only without imaging, using a garden variety file backup program. That's probably preferable anyway, even though an image of C would capture them.
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  3. Posts : 35,442
    Win 10 Pro (21H2) (2nd PC is 21H2)

    I have a secondary 3TB External USB HD. Once formatted leaves me with 2.72 TB of storage. What I would like to do is have two partitions on this physical drive. Logical Drive K which would have about 600gb and that would leave Logical Drive L with a 2.10 TB storage. That part is easy to achieve. My question is can I be backing up the system files on Drive K while I am adding data files to Drive L?
    Returning to your initial question and considering one of your later ones referring to disk imaging:

    You're free to create disk image files on one partition of your external disk whilst writing to another partition of that disk.

    However do note that the first is very disk intensive and uses a lot of capacity on that disk's interface, so might slow the second. Creating an incremental disk image of my SSD over USB3, for example, might take 9-12 minutes. That's not going to happen often in normal circumstances, so the question of doing both simultaneously isn't going to arise very often.

    However, using the other partition for other backup purposes raises a quite different set of questions. This tends to imply the disk remains connected. Thus it is exposed to possible corruption, ransomeware, viruses, and perhaps a reduced lifetime compared to only being connected when using disk imaging.

    Further, if you were concerned about security of your backup (fire/theft/flood/electrical damage..) leaving it connected does not offer that, compared to it being securely stored in a separate location.

    On a related note Do I need a image backup plus the standard incremental backup for any changes Herr Windows throws at us on a bi-weekly basis?
    It's always a good idea to update your image set before any major change. However where updates (rather than feature updates) are concerned, if you have Home your difficulty is having control of when those updates are applied without using a 3rd party tool to control Windows Updates.

    Feature updates (upgrades) are different in this respect, as you must now initiate them, so before doing so you have the opportunity to update your disk image set.
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  4. Posts : 2,803
    Windows 11 Pro, 22H2


    My apologies if my response was too complicated. The gist of what we are all saying is that we are having a little difficulty fully understanding all the specific details of what you are trying to accomplish. Please try to directly answer the questions posed in the past couple of posts and feel free to add as much detail as you want. The more details that we have, being as specific as possible, the better.

    I know that sometimes finding the correct technical terms can be difficult, but that is perfectly okay. Feel free to be descriptive and put things into general terms.

    That said, let me try paraphrasing what I understand the issue to be. Please correct any details I do not have right:

    You have a physical drive in your system that is divided into several partitions with the drive letters C:, D:, and E: plus a DVD drive with the drive letter F:.

    You would like to add an external drive and create two partitions on it with the drive letters K: and L:.

    K: will be used for the purpose of holding backups and L: for data storage.

    Does that sound about right?

    If so, tell me where you are right now: Do you already have that external drive partitioned in K: and L: or do you need help doing that first?

    Let's begin with that before we get into other details.
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  5. Posts : 80
    windows 10 64 bit h20
    Thread Starter


    Your assessment is correct.

    Maybe I am using the wrong terms. That is what we used to call things back during dos days.

    Thanks for all your help I am going to mark this as solved even though it is nor resolved in my mind.
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  6. Posts : 35,442
    Win 10 Pro (21H2) (2nd PC is 21H2)

    Did you also see my post #13?
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  7. Posts : 12,467
    Win10 Version 21H2 Pro and Home, Win11 Pro

    A simple method I give my clients is to use a separate detachable drive for backup. Any time partitions on the only drive are involved a major crash of that only drive loses everything on it, and I do mean everything. Sometimes sending the drive to a recovery firm like Ontrack can get data back but with the larger drives of the last several years it can get expensive, have heard of people wanting their pictures and other files paying up to $1000USD, makes a 1TB External/portable drive at less than $150USD a good choice.
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  8. Posts : 80
    windows 10 64 bit h20
    Thread Starter

    Though I marked this as solved I have come to the conclusion that a backup drive should just be that. So I will just use the other external drive as a data drive. Thanks for most of your suggestions.
      My Computer

  9. Posts : 2,803
    Windows 11 Pro, 22H2


    If you are happy with the information that you have, great, but if do still have questions, don't get discouraged! We'll be happy to help if you still have further questions.
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