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Considering New Backup Options
Old 05-17-2014, 07:56 PM   #1
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Considering New Backup Options

With my old laptop, I'd use BackupMaker to zip up my "My Documents" and copy the result to a DVD (one week) or a set of two rotating USB drives (alternating weeks). This worked fine. The zipped file fit on a single DVD.

Thus I can go back to any two-week period from the last several years. This has been a life-saver a few times.

I'd also occasionally back up the entire system.

My new laptop has a huge drive with lots of space I don't need. I also have access to cloud storage (OneDrive) totaling 100 GBytes.

Based on this new storage space, I'm considering a new backup scheme.

For example, I could backup to OneDrive once a week, and it wouldn't fill up for 20 weeks. If I did incremental backups, I'd pretty much never run out of space.

In the same way, I could store 160 weeks worth of backups of the documents folder on my hard drive.

These backups could be done automatically while I sleep.

Before I decide on a new backup scheme, anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks,
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Old 05-17-2014, 08:48 PM   #2
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I keep a networked hard drive that backups both DW's and my computer daily (or when they are on). Everyday when my computer is on, the hard drive is backed up to onedrive. Occasionally I will make usb backups of individual files I really want a copy of.
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Old 05-17-2014, 09:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
...
My new laptop has a huge drive with lots of space I don't need. I also have access to cloud storage (OneDrive) totaling 100 GBytes.

Based on this new storage space, I'm considering a new backup scheme.

For example, I could backup to OneDrive once a week, and it wouldn't fill up for 20 weeks. If I did incremental backups, I'd pretty much never run out of space.

In the same way, I could store 160 weeks worth of backups of the documents folder on my hard drive...
I do not consider a copy of the files on the same hard drive as a backup. What if you drop the laptop and break the drive? And hard drive failures do occur. A backup needs to be on a separate media.

I use a dedicated desktop running Windows Server to host the backup files. By itself, it automatically maintains duplicate copies of backups on two separate internal hard drives.

Archival directories of photos, tax records, and MP3 are stored in a different Buffalo server with a RAID array. Another USB drive holds a triplicate copy.
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Old 05-17-2014, 09:18 PM   #4
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I backup to the Cloud daily (automatic); Quicken and other important files I backup onto a USB drive manually as well.
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Old 05-17-2014, 11:11 PM   #5
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My own goals for backup are as to protect against the following risks in declining order of likelihood

1. loss of hard disk
2. loss all my local equipment, i.e. through a fire or burglary

I therefore want to have these abilities:

a. restore entire system quickly without having to rebuild
b. restore critical data, not necessarily quickly, in the case of the loss of all equipment

Critical data is important data which I could not recreate from other sources without the system in question.

My standards are to be able both to do a full restore efficiently, but also to recover an individual file without having to do a full restore. In addition, it should be easy to verify the integrity of the backups, e.g. by doing a test restore of a single file from a full image backup. In addition, I am not willing to expose very sensitive information, such as passwords to financial accounts, to the custody of any third party such as a cloud service provider. This condition means that I am not willing to do a full image backup to somebody's cloud, even encrypted.

My methods of achieving these goals depend on the way my particular systems are structured, but basically I take image backups locally, test them weekly and back up critical, but not sensitive, data to a cloud service daily.
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Old 05-18-2014, 07:56 AM   #6
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You also need to take into account the risk of fire etc. that could destroy your house and any backups located there... not the biggest risk, but it is one that should be in your thought process...


A question... are you paying for your OneDrive Why not use the Google Drive as it appears to be cheaper?
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Old 05-18-2014, 08:45 AM   #7
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I've been using Dropbox (cloud storage) as my main drive for important stuff. It's available across several computers and my phone. Primarily it is nice to have copies of every file modification so that I can recover them at any point. I back this up by copying my Dropbox files to local drives on two computers at home once a day.
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Old 05-18-2014, 08:46 AM   #8
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iosafe has fireproof/waterproof storage https://iosafe.com/. You could also use one the water/fire proof storage chest, SentrySafe H2300 0.36 Cubic Foot Fire-Safe Waterproof Chest, Silver Gray - Cabinet Style Safes - Amazon.com, store the external drive in it.

The online backups sound great but they are limited by the bandwith you have, upload speeds are very slow. If you only have a couple a gigabytes it works ok, but a full image backup would take weeks to upload.
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Old 05-18-2014, 09:27 AM   #9
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For backup, think in terms of layers of protection. Catastrophic loss (fire, etc.) requires one approach. Fritzing a file requires something less complicated than a full image or full backup off-site.

Here's something that was a Black Swan event until recently: Cryptolocker. Do you need a unique layer of protection for that? Does your backup scheme keep you out of the hot water?
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Old 05-18-2014, 09:36 AM   #10
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I do not consider a copy of the files on the same hard drive as a backup.
I agree with that philosophy, but I figure that there are three uses for backups:

1. Backups in case your hard drive or equipment fails
2. Backups in case your house burns down
3. Backups in case you delete a file or folder by mistake, or because you mistakenly thought you'd never need it again.

Types 1 and 2 are most important, but type 3 is the most common, and works fine with same-hard-drive backups.

I prepare for type 1, which I don't think has ever happened to me.

I prepare for type 2, which happened to me once.

I prepare for type 3, which has happened perhaps 50 times.

The advantage of the same-drive backup is that it is very fast and convenient.

Now to do some fake Bing searches so that I can earn enough points to get 100 GB of OneDrive storage.
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Old 05-18-2014, 09:39 AM   #11
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I've been using Dropbox (cloud storage) as my main drive for important stuff.
Do you put financial information on Dropbox (e.g. tax returns, etc.)? I use it but only for files that wouldn't be disastrous if they became public. I know dropbox has encryption but I'm too paranoid to trust it.
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Old 05-18-2014, 10:36 AM   #12
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Do you put financial information on Dropbox (e.g. tax returns, etc.)? I use it but only for files that wouldn't be disastrous if they became public. I know dropbox has encryption but I'm too paranoid to trust it.
I use Dropbox too, and store critical (important) files on it. Is ANY cloud service safe? I don't think I'd die or lose all I have if a tax return gets stolen (don't we turn over copies to the IRS at tax time and also to a bank when applying for a mortgage?).

Lately, after looking at the files I have accumulated electronically over the years, I am wondering why I am keeping several Gigabytes of fairly ussless historical records. I am pondering lighting up a new Win 7 box to replace the XP one I am currently using and looking at what I should load on the new box vs. what's on this 7 year old custom build.

Maybe it's time to evaluate storage of files vs. dumping many?

Now I know folks have music, pictures, videos, etc that they want to store so having a large repository is needed, but how critical are the files and critical to what?
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Old 05-18-2014, 11:18 AM   #13
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1. Backups in case your hard drive or equipment fails
2. Backups in case your house burns down
3. Backups in case you delete a file or folder by mistake, or because you mistakenly thought you'd never need it again.
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Small self-contained NAS drives of 1TB and 2TB are cheap and fast enough to serve but function 2 above. For a partial fire protection, I would have built a small box and keep a NAS drive out in a garage corner far from the living space if I lived in a more moderate climate where it is not 120F in the garage in the summer.

Cloud storage seems ideal for catastrophes, but it is slow. It is better for me to put archival copies on a USB HD and put that in the motorhome (need encryption for sensitive records).
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Old 05-18-2014, 12:21 PM   #14
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I agree with that philosophy, but I figure that there are three uses for backups:

1. Backups in case your hard drive or equipment fails
2. Backups in case your house burns down
3. Backups in case you delete a file or folder by mistake, or because you mistakenly thought you'd never need it again.

Types 1 and 2 are most important, but type 3 is the most common, and works fine with same-hard-drive backups.

I prepare for type 1, which I don't think has ever happened to me.

I prepare for type 2, which happened to me once.

I prepare for type 3, which has happened perhaps 50 times.

The advantage of the same-drive backup is that it is very fast and convenient.

Now to do some fake Bing searches so that I can earn enough points to get 100 GB of OneDrive storage.
Type 1 has happened to me several times. I think you have been fortunate. I haven't had type 2 happen, and type 3 rarely occurs but sometimes it is fun to dredge up old files.

I probably have the worst backup system here.

I have a laptop and desktop computers, but have used only my laptop computer for the past five years or more. I have a portable external hard drive, and back up my laptop on that. Then I back up that backup on my desktop computer.

When evacuating for a hurricane, I do a brand new backup, store it on the external hard drive and desktop computer, and then take my laptop and external hard drive backup with me.

The reason this is the worst backup system, is that I forget to do backups often enough and it isn't automated. If I put backups on my calendar, I think it would be a much better system. So, I'll start doing that right now. Presto, chango! My backup system just markedly improved, so thanks to all.

When my laptop computer fried last October, I hadn't backed up for several months so I lost a few things. They weren't very important to me, though. I don't seem to have as many urgently vital files on my computer now as I did back in the old days. Or, maybe I"m just more mellow about losing my files now that I am getting older.

It seems like the more time passes, the more my computer files pretty much look like anybody else's. Well, except for the photos, but I have shared them with several relatives who could send me copies in the event of an emergency. Then there are the tax returns, but I print out paper copies and keep them too.

I am one of those people who vehemently object to using the cloud as a backup solution, just because I am old and cantankerous and don't want that (probably infinitesimally small) risk.
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Old 05-18-2014, 12:46 PM   #15
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W2R,
Backing up to Dropbox, Onedrive, or most of the cloud drives is as easy as dragging and dropping a file from one folder to another. I run SyncBack Free. It is set up to transfer files on my desktop to the cloud drive on my desktop, the rest is automatic.
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Old 05-18-2014, 12:55 PM   #16
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Apple Macintosh has a wonderful backup system service as part of their OS called Time Machine. We have two USB drives (powered by USB too, so only need to connect the cable), and we back up to both of them more or less alternating.

When we go on a trip, we put one Time Machine drive in our safety deposit at the bank. And the other goes on the road with us in the RV, or we store it in a safe area in the house.

So - we use a redundant backup system. It's super easy to use, we just have to remember to back up every few days.

The Time Machine service makes it very easy to retrieve old files.

We prefer not to store any personal files on the net/cloud, whatever.
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Old 05-18-2014, 01:06 PM   #17
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I am one of those people who vehemently object to using the cloud as a backup solution, just because I am old and cantankerous and don't want that (probably infinitesimally small) risk.
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W2R,
Backing up to Dropbox, Onedrive, or most of the cloud drives is as easy as dragging and dropping a file from one folder to another. I run SyncBack Free. It is set up to transfer files on my desktop to the cloud drive on my desktop, the rest is automatic.
Bah humbug!! Just joking. I am sure it is as easy as all get out, but I just don't want to do it. However, I never miss anything on my calendar now that I am retired. There isn't that much on it. So, I am all set, thanks.
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Old 05-18-2014, 01:13 PM   #18
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I do a full backup of all of the "My Documents" folders every 3 months using 2 thumb drives I alternate between. Furthermore, I backup every month all the files I recently modified in the most recent month on the same 2 thumb drives I alternate between and store them elsewhere on the thumb drives. This is a small backup, as I may use maybe 25-40 different files in a given month.

The one time I had an unexpected PC failure back in 2012 I was lucky it happened a few days into the month so I lost extremely little since the backup I had done less than 48 hours earlier.

A few times over the years I have had to go back and fetch a file I had backed up at the start of the month because I ahd inadvertently deleted or replaced the file, losing saved data I wanted to keep.

Back in 2002-2003 when I was working from home and having several PC problems, I saved onto diskette any work I had done that day. I had several PC failures for a few months so I never lost a single file of work or anything else.

Because I had changed PCs and/or hard drives few times in 200-2003, I have many files I have not needed to access stored on diskettes (the old PCs did not have writeable CD drives). In the rare instance I need to access one of those long dormant files, I can boot up an old PC and retrieve the file. For some files, I would have to use the old, now-dated software on the old PC to convert the file to something compatible on my current PC. This has happened maybe twice in the last 10 years.
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Old 05-18-2014, 01:37 PM   #19
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After my third laptop crash, the last one with a three month old machine (and losing a lot of stuff), I went full out with Google.

Converted my files, documents, photos, music etc etc and put it on the cloud. I now store nothing on my computer, everything is backed up automatically, syncs with my phone and can be accessed by any of my computers, anywhere.

For those less likely to go this route, I have a lot of friends who recommend Carbonite for $49 a year.
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Old 05-18-2014, 02:05 PM   #20
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I use a desktop and for data backups I have a second HD for backups.

To perform the backup, I use a program called syncback. The syncing is not incremental.

Additionally, I use rollback software that does a snapshot of my OS every day, week and month so I can revert back to a previous state pretty easily.

Plus, I keep clones on my computer to an external hard driver ocassionally in case if the computer just goes kaput on me.
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