Tools for Backing Up Your Hard Drive - Faster Transfer Methods: LAN and Other Methods
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LAN: A LAN is often the number one choice for copying data over. To create a LAN both source and target PCs need to have network cards and operating systems. Unless the network is a wireless LAN the right type of network cable would also be required to connect the PCs directly to each other. Most modern PCs have a network facility integrated into the motherboard or added on via a PCI card. And almost any old network card in the source PC will suffice. Should the source PC not have one itís well worth the $10 that basic network cards cost. Customers often ask if Windows XP or some other new version of Windows can actually be configured in a network with PCs running older operating systems. The goods news is that yes, it can. Itís possible to have a 7 PC network with a mix of Windows 95, 98, 98SE, ME, NT, 2000 and XP.
Using a LAN is fast but LANs also present other benefits. LANs are easier to setup than DCCs and, in some cases, even easier than hard disk swaps. A wired LAN with a 10/100 network card at each end designed to provide 100 MB per second may give you less than 50 mbps but itís still faster than anything else except transferring data between two hard disks in the same PC. Gigabit LANs take the data transfer speed up to a theoretical 1000 mbps but do require Gigabit LAN hardware in both machines. But itís not just speed. A wireless LAN saves the inconvenience of moving the PCs close together, once created a LAN can be left in place and will provide shared Internet access or some connectivity benefits for years to come, LANs are non-intrusive and do not require breaking the warranty seal on a new PC (if the PC doesnít have an internal network card an external USB to RJ45 ethernet adapter will do the job just as well), and there isnít the FAT32-not-reading-NTFS issue to worry about.
Other methods: There are some less used and some quite original ways people find to transfer data. Uploading to a website and downloading to the new hard disk involves no extra hardware. Webmasters tend to have a favourite FTP program, and thatís all the software required to upload to a website. This method does require sufficient space on the hosting service and preferably a fast, unmetered Internet connection. Does your host offer unlimited storage? This is your chance to see if they mean it. This method is, as you would expect, tediously slow compared to hard disk or LAN transfers.
USB Devices, flash memory, ZIP and Jaz are other possiblities. Zip disks are limited by size and the maximum they go up to now is 750 MB. Older Zip drives are unlikely to support capacities larger than 250 MB or, in fact, 100 MB on the really old ones. With the Zip and Jaz formats it is highly unlikely that the drives to read these media are already in the target PC. USB devices are very convenient for carrying around and fast on read and write operations. But, like Zip and CD media they donít store very much data and older PCs may not support USB 2.0. They may not even support the earlier USB 1.1. Flash memory devices need readers as well and again, older PCs are unlikely to have them. External readers are available for all these media and they are worth considering but they just donít compare to hard disk swaps and LANS for sheer speed.
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