USB HD, mirror or image?

I have 2 PC’s, 1 Laptop and 2 IPads, all on my Home Network.
I know very little about my new 2TB My Cloud.
I don’t know the difference between Mirror or Image.
I have a spare 1TB WD 10EADS.
I plan to use the My Cloud as a Backup, I have previously used the 1TB with an Image of my primary PC in case the internal HD crashes.
How do I do this with the 2TB My Cloud and the 1 TB USB drive which I just formatted. We don’t have a lot of data so the 1 TB USB drive should have enough space for the 2 PC"s and Laptop for Images or Mirrors. Frankly I don’t know which to use.

I am close to being a Novice so I appreciate specifics.

First, start by reading the My Cloud User Manual (, and exploring the My Cloud Dashboard Help and the My Cloud Learning Center Help ( information to gain an understanding of what the My Cloud is, what features it has, and how to use it as a backup location using either the WD My Cloud included Smartware software or a third party backup program.

You didn’t indicate what the name was of your backup software (if any). Depending on the third party backup software features one can do either mirroring or an image backup.

In general terms a drive image is a complete backup of the entire hard drive including the hard drive partitions (including hidden partitions) to another location. Where as mirroring generally refers to just copying the hard drive data, not its partitions, to another location. Typically a drive image allows one to use emergency boot media usually created from within the third party backup software to boot the computer independent of the hard drive which allows one to recover the image backup to a new hard drive or to overwrite the existing hard drive if it was corrupted or infected with a virus/malware. Mirroring on the other hand while you can restore the information back to the computer’s hard drive, it may not completely restore a computer’s hard drive if restoring to a new hard drive or one that has its partition corrupted.

To maximize the backup security one could perform two sets of backups, one to the USB drive and one to the My Cloud. That way if one backup drive failed the other backup drive would be available. Or one can attach the USB drive to the My Cloud to increase the storage space on the My Cloud and point the backup software to use that USB hard drive through the My Cloud. Again, read the My Cloud User Manual which has an entire chapter dedicated to using a USB hard drive with the My Cloud.

One can also use the USB drive to backup from the My Cloud to a USB drive attached to the My Cloud but to use this option the USB hard drive has to be as large as the information being backed up from the My Cloud to the USB hard drive.

Following on from Bennor’s comments, I would suggest that you use a tool to create an image of your operating system and any programs you have installed on it (including Registry, etc). This will allow you to restore your PC to its previous configuration should you have a disk crash, virus infestation, etc.

Then I would perform a backup of your user data (which does not include the OS or installed programs).

System image and user data backup are two different functions.

To ease the OS/program vs data distinction, it’s good practice to make sure that no program data gets put into your program installation area (e.g. ‘C:/Program Files’ on a PC). Sadly, some programs will put data in their install directories, rather than in explicit ‘data directories’, and they can have a nasty habit of hiding files in obscure places. Most programs can be told where to put data and settings, or will default to somewhere in ‘Documents and Settings’ (or whatever it is called in later versions of Windows).

The iPad is a bit different, since it deliberately hides the file system from you, so you have little or no control over where data and programs (apps) are stored. In which case, an image of the entire system is required, which will include OS, apps and data. I don’t have any experience of using backup image tools on the iPad: does iTunes provide one as part of its iPad support functions?