My Studio laptop is no longer recognizing the power supply, so Dell needs to replace the motherboard. Last week my "family" laptop, an HP Pavilion, died. (Our second HP to have the motherboard fail within two years). I purchased an external hard drive and the data on the HP was transferred onto it. If I run Dell Backup and specify to back up to my external hard drive, will the backup create a folder for all the dell files, or will it overwrite what is already on there from the HP laptop? The backup option lets you specify a drive, but I don't want to run it until I know my other data is safe. Do I need to partition the external hard drive? I don't want to loose my HP data, and I really want to back up my Dell before I send it in for a new motherboard.
You will need to backup the entire hard drive - all partitions and the backup program needs to be able to restore all partitions to the new hard drive. We can't say if your backup program will do that as you didn't note what backup software you are using. Same way with whether it will overwrite what is there now or will just write a new (additional) file to the backup hard drive - depends on the backup program you have and how it works.
I have a Maxtor 1TB USB connected drive that I use for backups. The backup software supplied with this drive will not do what you want to do as it only backs up certain data on the hard drive. It didn't matter to me as I have Acronis True Image Home backup software and it will backup all partitions and also restore all partitions to a new hard drive. I recommend Acronis True Image to all my clients. Acronis web site
Along with what you want to do, periodic full hard drive backups should be done, not for "if" it's ever needed but for "when" it's needed. If a hard drive fails and you do not have a backup all your user date (pictures, music, word processing files, address book, etc) is lost and you are faced with reinstalling Windows, device drivers, applications programs, etc. With a full backup program, such as the Acronis you can recreate the entire hard drive in about an hour, and the only thing lost is the user data that was added since the last backup. I do backups on my PC at least every two weeks and more often if needed.
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I want to use the Dell backup utility that is installed on my Dell Studio laptop. This utility asks you what drive to back up to, but I didn't continue with it because I'm afraid that the Dell backup might overwrite other files on the external harddrive that were transferred over from my HP laptop. Thank you.
I don't have that backup on my older Dell desktop but from what I've seen on this forum it won't give you a complete (all partitions) backup. Most programs will use empty space on a hard drive, not overwrite what is there. They usually check the drive for available space before doing the backup.