Create a Backup
At this point we should all be very clear that backing up our archives is an indispensable part of modern life, just as important as having a spare key, clean underwear, and some savings in the bank.
From time to time we have to back up our data, especially those important data that cannot be replaced, and that we cannot afford to simply create again.
Although there are several alternatives when making backups, one of the most used is to create a backup partition on our computer’s hard drive.
A partition is a storage unit, a hard disk can be divided into multiple parts and each part is called a partition. Each partition works almost independently, it’s like dividing your disk into several smaller disks.
Why create a backup partition?
Simple, each partition functions as a separate unit, with a different format, with individual space, and is not affected by changes made to other partitions.
This way we could install the operating system on one partition and save our documents on another, and if one day we have to format our PC for some reason, we would not lose our files.
This is a good option, but some prefer to use a large partition for OS and documents, and a smaller backup partition. In fact many computers already come with a backup partition made.
In this backup space we can keep very important documents and thus have two copies of them, we can also keep the controllers of our PC to have them always at hand.
In the end the decision of what can be done with the space is each user’s according to their needs, but it is always better a disc with sections and organized than a closet where shoes are kept on clothes.
How to create a backup partition
Before creating the backup partition it is important to know that there are different types of file systems, and that not all operating systems are compatible with each of them.
For a partition of this type the best and easiest thing is to use the FAT32 system, which although old is still very robust and can be accessed from Linux, Mac and Windows without complications.
You can use the tools to create manage partitions that includes the same Windows, just type “partition” in the search will already appear. You can also go to Control Panel > System & Security > Administrative Tools, there you will find the option to create and format partitions on a disk.
The process is quite simple, select your largest partition, which is usually the one included in the operating system and reduce its size by the number of gigabytes you want to use for your backup partition.
Then create a new partition using the space you freed up and use FAT32 as the file system.
If you prefer, you can use some more complete third-party tools such as EaseUS Partition Master, or Paragon Partition Manager.
From OS X
From your Mac you can use the tools of the Disk Utility system. Double-click your primary hard drive, open the Applications folder, select Utilities, then Disk Utilitty.app. With the tool open press the Partition button and you will be able to resize and add new partitions.
You can use the Gparted partitioning tool quite simple to use and the best option available, you can also use them from Mac and Windows through a boot disk, and is the one I recommend above all other alternatives that I have shown in this post.
The best applications to partition your disk
One way to organize the content of your disk is to partition it. Physically, a hard disk forms a single drive, but at a virtual level we can create partitions, so that for your operating system will be like if you had two or more drives, independent of each other.
There are a lot of applications to partition your hard drive. They all have in common their ease of use and visual design, so you don’t have to fight with the command line and with a few mouse clicks partitions your disk safely.
Applications to partition your disk
The advantages of partitioning your disk are many, such as keeping your files safe in case you lose the operating system or sharing your documents with different operating systems or networked computers without compromising the security of your computer.
For this task, Windows has its own tool, but unfortunately it is not very intuitive and finding the options you need requires some effort.
Luckily, there are a lot of free, paid, hard drive partitioning applications that will meet your partitioning needs.
EaseUS Partition Master Free Edition: EaseUS is a company specialized in hard disk management. Among its star programs are, in addition to partitioners, backup programs, recoverers of lost files.
EaseUS Partition Master Free Edition is the free version of this disk partitioner. It is compatible with all versions of Windows (from 2000 to 8) and, in addition to creating, reading and deleting FAT, FAT32 and NTFS partitions, it also accesses Linux EXT2 and EXT3 partitions.
With the help of its wizard or advanced functions, this partitioner will allow you to create partitions, copy them, delete them, format them and resize them without data loss.
MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition: This other disk partitioner is compatible with Windows (XP to 8) and the FAT, FAT32 and NTFS file systems.
Besides being compatible with the UEFI boot of Windows 8, MiniTool Partition Wizard can correct problems in the MBR (Master Boot Record). It also allows you to create partitions, resize them, copy them, or merge two or more partitions.
Paragon Partition Manager Free Edition: Paragon is another firm specializing in data and disk management. With this partitioner you will be able to divide your disk and reformat partitions with the help of practical assistants.
As in the previous cases, Paragon Partition Manager offers support for Windows XP to 8 and for FAT, FAT32 and NTFS file systems, in addition to the Apple HFS+ machine.
Wondershare Disk Manager: This partitioner is one of the simplest you can find, but no less effective in its work. Wondershare Disk Manager is compatible with Windows XP, Vista and 7, and displays only the options you need at any given time, with a graph representing partitions and free or occupied space.
Aomei Partition Assistant Home Edition: Our latest recommendation looks similar to the previous ones. It also supports the latest versions of Windows and the FAT32 and NTFS file systems, as well as Linux EXT2/EXT3.
With Aomei Partition Assistant you can partition HDD, SSD and USB drives, as well as copy, move and mix partitions without losing their content.
These are just five examples of applications for partitioning your hard drive. There are many more, with the same features: ease of use, support for most versions of Windows, compatibility with common file systems (mainly FAT32 and NTFS), Undo function and optional rescue disk.
Choosing one or the other will depend more on a personal decision than on the options they offer, which are very similar to each other.
It is not superfluous to remember that no matter how good these applications are, precautions must be taken. Before partitioning your disk, make sure which files are the most important and make a backup. In case the partition doesn’t go well, you’ll appreciate that backup.
Recommendations for Windows 7 backup
It is common to find faults in the operating system. Has it happened that Windows does not start and the following happens? recovering the information becomes a complicated task (remove hard disk and mount on another computer, use a LIVE CD, etc.), because if we format we lose the information.
To avoid this and other future problems, as a technician I always recommend that data (user information) should not be hosted on the same partition of the operating system.
Configuration 1 hard disk:
If we are before a clean installation without data of users, at the moment of requesting the partitions we create 2: normally I leave from 60 to 100 GB for the S.O. depending on the size of the hard disk, the rest for what I will call “partition of backup”.
Configuration 2 disks:
The first disc is left exclusive for the S.O., it is not necessary to play the second disc, we will only name it “Backups”.
Once the operating system installed we proceed to create folders for our information, this operation is performed differently depending on the OS to use:
For Windows XP follow these steps:
Step 1: Documents Route:
- Press the Windows + E key to call Windows Explorer.
- Then, right click on the My Documents folder and choose Properties.
- Now all you have to do is click on the Move button and select the folder you want. (Ex: D:/Documents)
Step 2: Desktop path. If the desktop is usually used by users to leave their files, usually the technicians forget them and ups, to recover data…
We will go to Start > Execute, there we will type regedit and we will press the enter key. This will take us to the registry editor.
We’ll navigate through the folders on the left. We’ll go to
HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerUser Shell Folders
Click on “User Shell Folders” and to the right we can see a list of several things.
That huge list are all the important routes of the system, double clicking on “Desktop” we can modify its value, change its value by the path we want for our Desktop (eg “D:Desktop”) and ready, to restart the pc for Windows to accept the changes. We can do the same with favorites if you want by modifying the “Favorites” value.
For Windows 7 follow these steps:
The default location of the user profile in Windows 7 is the same as in Vista C:Usuarios, which we find quite absurd to put the profiles folder on the same partition as the system. In the Windows 7 profile you will find: documents, images, videos, favorites, etc.
The next steps are as follows:
- The profiles folder has hidden subfolders that we must visualize. To show hidden folders go to “Tools / Folder options / View (tab)” and check the option “Show hidden files, folders and drives”.
- We copy the folder C:Default Users to the new location, for example D:Users.
- We do the same thing with the folder C: UsersPublic Access
- We open the registry editor by typing “regedit” in the search engine programs and files Home and go to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SOFTWARE MICROSOFT Windows NT CurrentVersion ProfileList.”
- Change the value of the Default, ProfilesDirectory and Public entries to the new locations
Once this is done we create a new user with administrator rights, log in with him and we have our full profile in the new location.
If you already have your O.S. installed and do not need to format it is possible to make the partition with the utilities of the Hirens disk or the Magic Partition: create, resize and format new partitions without deleting or damaging the O.S. apply the above steps and ready, data saved.