External hard drive set up questions



I got my enclosure and hard drive set it up. Windows XP Pro directed me through formatting the hard drive. I ended up with on large hard drive with 300 gb.

Do I want to partition the hard drive? What is the advantage to partitioning it? How do I partition it? If I already put 30gb’s on it is it too late to partition?

Is there an easy way to back up all of the files I created on the computer? Example all of my word processing files, all photos, all MS Office created files all movies etc. Currently they are everywhere on my computer.

The idea behind an external hard drive is to leave it off unless I am going to use it correct? There is no need to have it on if I am not using it right?

I have enough room to totally copy the exact contents of my desktop and lap top, but I don’t really see the need to. I figure I have all of my created saved files and I can just reinstall windows if anything catastrophic happens? Is my thinking correct? Or should I back up the total contents of my hard drives?


Too late to partition it if you already formatted. There’s no compelling reason to partition it anyway.

Yes, you should leave it off except when you need to use it.

As to backups, I’d suggest you use an imaging program to make an image of your entire OS volume. Although that’s not required, many backup programs will let you choose specific folders to copy. But having an image of the entire volume gives you the option of doing a complete restore if the OS does a melt-down. An image restore takes minutes, as opposed to a re-install of OS and all your applications, which for me takes a day or more.



Can I turn it off and on at will, as long as it is not writting?

do I have to use that Safely Remove Hardware icon to unplug the firewire to move it to another computer?

If it is off can’t I just unplug it?


You can use programs like Partition Magic to partition it even if you have written to it…