Department of Redundancy Department seeks backup suggestions
I could use a little help. And so could some others, I bet.
I’m already a believer in backing up computer files. My pictures, for instance. I have all my digital image files in at least three different places. All my music, too. (Although I do need to move one external drive out of my house, like to a drawer at work.)
I’ve recently begun cloning hard drives, mostly as a way to install new, bigger drives in systems. But I know I can clone them to create backups that should let me restore things without reinstalling all my software. (A few weeks ago, I cloned my main desktop machine at home, only to lose one major software installation when the new drive crashed. I popped the old drive in and everything else was perfect, but the most recent software was a complicated install that had taken a couple of hours. I am a fan of redundancy in computers now.)
So now I want to start creating backups of my desktop, and a couple laptops as well. I’m in the market for software to help me and I’m looking for suggestions.
In an ideal world, I would use one 1-terabyte external drive to create a backup for three different machines.
Is this prudent, or should I use a different external drive for each machine?
And what software do you recommend?
Western Digital has a version of Acronis True Image that works if one of the drives involved is a WD drive, and in most cases I can use it. I’ve also tried a couple others. But I’ve never restored from an external drive and the idea makes me nervous. Would I be better off just making a clone of the entire drive regularly and setting the clone aside?