Backup to HD/HDD

Backups to an internal hard drive are still better than no backups at all!


If the amount of data which must be backed up regularly exceeds a few GB, one might think about hard disk drives (HDDs) as a backup medium of choice. However, fixed internal hard drives are less suited for backups than other mediums: Theft, fire or water accidents can destroy your data and the backups. In an emergency, you are left with nothing, because you have lost not only your data but also your backup!

Still, external hard drives can be a good choice as backup mediums, because their capacities can be huge and prices are affordable even for terabytes of space. Most importantly, they can be stored apart from your original data. Compared to CDs/DVDs, another advantage of external HDDs is that they offer a more convenient way of storing and organizing your data, so that you can keep a better overview of you backups.

Hard Drive Formatting

There are limits that come from the file system or the operating system. A file system is a kind of basic format/structure for a hard disk that is created when the medium is formatted and later filled with files. There are three common file systems that can be used for hard drives on Windows computers:

File system: FAT
Partition size: up to 2 GB
Maximum file size: 2 GB

File system: FAT32
Partition size: 512 MB to 2 TB
Maximum file size: 4 GB

File system: NTFS (Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP and 2000)
Partition size: 10 MB to 64 TB
Maximum file size: The maximum file size is only limited by the partition size

FAT32 partitions are supported by most operating systems and are therefore widely used. It has some restrictions, for example a maximum file size which your backup archive might exceed, but Z-DBackup offers an automatical workaround and splits your backup file into multiple smaller portions if the size limit is reached (it creates a multi-spanning archive.)

External Hard Disk Drives

Advantages of external HDDs

HD Hard Drive Disk
  • Capacity: Hard discs offer a huge amount of space. You can most likely store backups, even versioned backups, of all your data on one external HDD.

  • Compatibility: Current operating systems recognize external hard drives automatically and you can use them just like normal internal HDDs.

  • Writability: External hard drives can be re-written an unlimited amount of times.

  • Price: 500 GB are available for less than 50 $/€. Larger ones are only slightly more expensive.

Disadvantages of external HDDs

  • Transport: External hard drives need their own power supply. Also, they are the largest and heaviest backup mediums in comparison to DVDs, tapes etc.

  • Durability: Hard discs consist of a rotating cylinder on which data is stored magnetically and accessed by a moving read/write head. Shock and improper handling can lead to defect and thus data loss.

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