Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
The important thing is to get a backup system running on your computer. I'll discuss an option that that will get you going.
I have a new Win7 PC and I want to buy a backup hard drive that already has your recommended Macrium Reflect installed on it. I would prefer an internal drive but would consider a USB 3.0 external drive as well since I don't have ESAT or Firewire ports on my PC.
I'm not finding either drives with MR (Macrium Reflect) installed on them after much searching. Do you know of places that sell them with Macrium Reflect installed on them since you recommended Macrium Reflect?
If not, my only option is to buy Macrium Reflect and then install it after I buy a backup hard drive which I would prefer not to have to do since it would likely cost more money to buy both separately which I am short on after recent expensive replacements of several other random things. Any help would be appreciated.
In this excerpt from Answercast #4, I discuss why backup software should not come pre-installed on a hard drive and what you can do to get from free, trial installations.
The short answer to your question is "no". I know of no source that will sell you a hard disc with software pre-installed or with software actually pre-provided. Because you would still end up having to install it and actually running through the install process once you have your hard drive installed.
In all honesty, even if they did, I don't think it would address your fundamental problem which is cost. A drive costs X; Macrium Reflect costs Y; if they were bundled together they might cost something a little less than X + Y, but my guess is not a lot.
The fact is: the hard drive manufacturer's gotta be paid; the people who produce Macrium Reflect need to be paid; no matter how you package it, there's probably not gonna be a way around that. So, in reality, that point is kind of moot because I just don't know of a preinstall solution like that.
And in all honesty, I'm not sure that I would want pre-installed software. It seems likely that it would be pretty quick for the version of software that's installed on the hard drive (that could be sitting in somebody's stock room for many months before it gets sold) to be out of date the moment you got it.
Especially when it comes to important utilities like backup software and so forth. I want to make sure to get the most recent copy and the right way to do that, of course, is to buy it and then update it regularly.
Now in order to address the costs concerns, I would actually do two things: one is that I would certainly go shopping for a hard drive. They tend to be fairly inexpensive these days. Hopefully, prices are coming down again after a spike last year due to floods in one of the overseas manufacturing facilities.
So get yourself a good hard drive with enough space that meets the criteria that you want; a USB 3 is what it sounds like you're looking for.
What I would do then is: I would at least start with the free version of Macrium Reflect.
With the free version, you're not going to be able to do a couple of things. You're not going to be able to do incremental backups and you're basically going to be doing only image backups. But a.) it's free, and b.) an image backup is better than no backup. In fact, it's way better than no backup.
If you've got enough space on that external hard drive, you could keep oodles of image backups of your main machine and it would certainly be more secure than having no backup at all. It's not the most flexible solution, but if you're price conscious; if that really is an issue for you, that's the direction I would send you in.
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