Last week I finally hit a wall with my disk storage on the desktop computer. The primary drive is 500 gigabytes and I had installed another 500 gig drive in that computer. The nice little bar that Windows 7 displays was showing red – as I was down below the range that Windows thinks is OK. That drive had both the OS, apps and a large % of my data. What was filling it up was a combination of pictures and video (which seem to keep getting bigger).
My video storage has gone up significantly as I’ve been ripping DVDs and my old DV tapes. In the case of the DV tapes the 1 hour of raw footage is about 12 gigs – which adds up quickly. My original plan was to expand onto the 2nd hard drive – but I realized I had another problem. That C: drive wasn’t the only drive showing up as red – my portable 500 gig backup drive was also showing red. That backup drive was used both for my laptop (about 60 gig) and for my desktop. The combination of the 2 was also filling up that drive.
What I realized was that I couldn’t just expand onto the other hard drive – as I couldn’t easily back it up to that portable hard drive. I thought about buying another backup drive to split between the computers – but that leads to other problems with my backup:
- DVD Backups
Carbonite can be a great service – if you’re not overloading it like I am. I have over 300 gig on my carbonite backup drive – which is far larger than most. Uploading those video files can take a long time – weeks. What I realized was that if I moved any of those video files from one drive to the other it would end up re-uploading them (the upload speed when you have more than 200 gig is quite slow). I like Carbonite (I have it also on my laptop) but it has consequences like this. I started to look at some other alternatives but quickly realized just how expensive they would be for that much data (>$100 a month in many cases). [I still highly recommend Carbonite as it keeps the backup continuously and off-site).
The other issue was how I backup my data to DVDs (yes – I’m paranoid to use Carbonite, a portable hard drive and DVDs). I use Acronis True Image to create 4.7 gig splits of my data so that I can burn them to DVDs (if you’ve ever tried to do direct DVD backups you realize how much of a nightmare it is when one disk in the middle fails). I have it compress the data – but when you’re backing up over 300 gig it takes a lot of hard drive space (my run for 2012 took 73 DVDs for my desktop).
Therefore I decided that the best path was to upgrade my 500 gig main drive to 1 terabyte – by cloning it. Acronis True Image has a disk clone feature that lets you move the raw disk partitions from one drive to another – even if they’re different sizes (the disk I bought also came with some software to perform that). Therefore I used that feature to clone the drive overnight and swapped the drive positions in the desktop. Initially I had some issues in that the original drive kept popping up as the primary windows drive (even when changed it in the BIOS). Once I unplugged that drive the new one turned into the “C:” drive and was up and running (including Carbonite).
I plan on watching it for a few days and then wiping that drive. The other drive I had inside the desktop will now become another backup drive to use to backup the desktop. Once it gets pretty full I can also use the original backup drive to backup up a subset of that data. Overall it’s been an interesting and pleasant experience watching how well the “clone” worked. I also made the weekend more interesting in that I upgraded the RAM in my laptop and fought with Windows 7 Service Pack 1 on my wife’s laptop (that’s still the challenge to be resolved).