How To Back Up a Hard Drive

Backing up your hard drive is a very important way to prevent data loss. In the event of hard drive failure data recovery can be impossible and important documents and information can be lost forever. There are many ways to backup your hard drive, and many ways to automate and ease this process.

What is a Hard Drive?
The following are sources with information about hard drives:

Bad Sector Blues: Describes the physical components within a hard drive
Hard disk Drive: Definition from Louisiana State University
Hard Drive: Definition, and helpful information from Shippensburg University
Raid Recovery: Information on raid data recovery
Managing Files & File Systems : An overview of hard drives, and how information is stored and retrieved from them
Storage: An overview on storage types, technological details of types of storage, and storage mediums from Clemson University
Department of Technology Technical Tips: Information about hard drives and related components

Why Do Hard Drives Crash?
The following describe the technical components involved in hard drive failure:

Selecting a Proper Storage Device: Contains an overview of what components in a hard drive fail
Hard Drive Failure Prediction: An overview of software techniques to detect signs of impending hard drive failure
Disk Failures in the Real World : An analysis of hard disk failure especially in large systems with many computers

How To Back up a Hard Drive
The following are ways to backup hard drive data:

Data Backup Solutions: Information on ways to backup data from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
ADSM/TSM Network Backup for Windows : A description of backing up data over a network on Windows
Leopard Time Machine : How to use Time Machine to backup hard drive data on Mac OS X Leopard
Backing Up Hard Drives to External Media: How to backup your hard drive using other media, such as DVDs, from the University of Delaware
Techno Tip: You won’t Miss you Data Until It’s Gone: An overview of data backup techniques

How To Clone a Hard Drive
The following are ways to create an exact replica of a disk with all disk and file information identical to the source disk

Making an ISO Image: Cloning Windows hard drives using an ISO disk image
How to copy hard drives : Describes cloning a Windows XP hard drive
Cloning A Mac OS X System Disk: How to clone a Mac hard drive using Carbon Copy Cloner
Disk Utility Application : Cloning a Mac disk using the built in Disk Utility application

How to Recover Lost Data
The following are ways to recover data from a failed hard drive:

Information of the specifics of hard drive data recovery
Recovering & Examining Computer Forensic Evidence : An overview on techniques to recover data from computers
Recovering Deleted Files: Response to a question on recovering deleted files on windows
ER for Hard Drives: Article on data recovery options

In general the best option for data recovery is to make sure you don’t have to either by backing up important data on the drive, or imaging the drive so that you can make a complete clone of the original drive in the event of failure. Data recovery services do exist, but even they can have a difficult time of recovering your data, and sometimes not all data can be recovered as once there is physical damage to the platters that store data, the binary information that makes up file storage is lost.