Need to reformat your computer? Is your OS having problems which results in you having to reinstall? If so, I bet you’re about to do some major file backups, huh? It’s common practice for people to use CDs, DVDs, Flash drives, and external hard drives to back up their data. This common method isn’t necessarily the quickest and simplest way of doing things. I introduce you to the “Poor Man’s Backup Method.” I guess one could also just call it a simple backup method. Unfortunately, you can’t start using this method immediately; you actually do need to reformat to begin using this method.
Prerequisites: Knowledge of how to [re]format a hard drive, create partitions, and install your OS of choice.
1. The Clean Slate
Before you do anything, make sure you back up ALL of your data. You can use the common methods for this: CDs, DVDs, other hard drives, Flash drives, email, etc. You need a clean slate, so once you have ALL of your important data backed up, format your hard drive completely.
2. Splitting the Atom
Now, here comes the trick. Create two partitions. You can make them of equal size or you can opt for different sizes. Just make sure there’s enough space on one to install your OS.
Conversion reminder: Take the total number of megabytes of your drive and divide by 1024 to get the number of gigabytes.
3. Installing the OS & Secondary Drive Creation
Now, install the OS like you normally would on your C: drive. This part is no different than if you did a full reformat without making two partitions.
Now you need to format that extra partition into a usable drive. Right-click My Computer > Manage > Storage > Disk Management.
Right-click on the unpartitioned area next to the C: drive and click “Format…” and format the partition accordingly. This might take some time, but when it’s done, you will now have another usable drive. Feel free to change the drive letter if you want.
4. Data Migration
Once you have the OS set up, move you data from your backup media to the OTHER drive on your computer. Don’t put this data on the C:\ drive which is for your OS. The reason you created that second partition was for storing your data.
5. Putting It To Use
Now, say you run into major problems with your OS. Maybe it has a virus or it’s going very slow. Now you just need to wipe your C: drive and reinstall the OS there. You data is all intact on your other partition.