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Old 03-07-2013, 07:39 AM   #21
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I have a NAS on my home network (basically a hard drive with some extra features, that you can plug into your router).

My computers automatically synchronise with it daily. This is done by SyncBackSE, which has a number of interesting options, like keeping a certain number of previous versions of each file.

Once a month I plug a USB drive into the NAS and it takes a full backup of it, that I store in a safe location away from my home.

I have a number of other backups, but this is the core of main backup policy.
I like MichaelB's idea of copying crucial files to cd several times a year.

Two useful tips:
- Verify the contents of your backups occasionally! I recently needed my main backup and my photographs on it were corrupted! Good thing it wasn't my only copy.
- Put your NAS or homeserver somewhere dry and where ordinary burglars won't look. Your living room isn't safe. The floor of a basement is not safe (flooding), securing it to the ceiling of the basement is better.

(my setup is offline for the moment, as my NAS recently died; I'm making do with usb drives until I have a working NAS again)
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:59 AM   #22
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But the must have part is one subfolder with less than 6 gigabytes. I would be more than inconvenienced if I were to lose that.
Yeah, don't want to lose the porn...
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:47 AM   #23
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I am surprised that someone has not talked about a RAID system...

I do not know much about it, but I have been looking into this as an option... but it cost some money...

The main feature is that the system keeps two backup copies of everything on two different disks... so if one disk fails, you just take it out and put a new one in... the system will then copy all the files from the good disk...

At work this is what they do and even though we have lost disks, we have never lost a file...


Just and FYI, at work we also have an instant backup offsite of all files... which also has RAID disks...
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:55 AM   #24
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I am surprised that someone has not talked about a RAID system...

I do not know much about it, but I have been looking into this as an option... but it cost some money...

The main feature is that the system keeps two backup copies of everything on two different disks... so if one disk fails, you just take it out and put a new one in... the system will then copy all the files from the good disk...

At work this is what they do and even though we have lost disks, we have never lost a file...


Just and FYI, at work we also have an instant backup offsite of all files... which also has RAID disks...
RAID is good protection against disk failure.
However, it doesn't protect against accidental deletion/modification, so it does not replace a good backup system, but it is a nice addition.
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:43 AM   #25
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Thanks for all the excellent and expert suggestions.

I'll likely use some combination of these techniques.

Ha
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:53 AM   #26
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But the must have part is one subfolder with less than 6 gigabytes. I would be more than inconvenienced if I were to lose that.

Ha
Carbonite. Buy the three year package and it works out to about $4.50 a month. Check Leo Laporte's website for a code to get a free month or two.

Carbonite Online Backup - Endorsed by Leo Laporte
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Old 03-07-2013, 11:01 AM   #27
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RAID is a good option. Do the backups to a RAID system, then make copies to an external drive(s), rotate the externals. Put externals offsite or in a fireproof data storage.

I have installed iosafe products in several location. It's a fire/water proof drive enclosure. New product is a multi drive unit ioSafe N2, World's First Disaster Proof Private Cloud | NAS (network attached storage) RAID and File Server powered by Synology DSM - disk station manager

System backups and data archives are different process. Somethings depend on what OS you have and what version. XP had a very good backup tool, ntbackup. Vista was worthless, 7 is ok but not as good as ntbackup.

The online backups are ok for small amounts of data. They are heavily dependent on a robust internet connection. initial backups can take a very long time, and the restore can be as well. Some allow for shipping a backup on hard to them for the initial but extra cost.
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Old 03-07-2013, 11:02 AM   #28
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For 6GB of data, I would keep it simple:
I agree, it sounds like haha's main concern is ~ 6GB of files. So start simple, get a solid plan for that, then move on to getting a back up of settings, etc.

Fortunately, backing up ~ 6GB of data is simple these days.


Quote:
- Backup to a hard drive/USB drive as stage 1
Since it is only 6GB, I'd go with a USB flash (thumb) drive. A 16GB is ~ $15 now, get three of them so you can rotate, have one off-site, and redundancy. You could keep two copies of a 6GB sub-folder on each, to keep an archive, in case you accidentally deleted a needed file (more on this below).

Anyhow, KISS at first, just copy that folder to the thumb drives. EZ.


Quote:
- Burn to DVD as stage 2, and store in bank safe deposit box.
- Back up to the "cloud" (i.e. the internet) via one of the services as stage 3

The frequency of backing up with depend on how often that 6GB of data changes. The more frequent the changes, along with the difficultly of recreating those changes to a previous backup, the more frequently you need to backup.
I'm not a big fan of DVDs. It takes some time to burn, I don't trust them long term, and cost will add up if the data changes frequently.

Cloud - pros/cons, others covered that.

Now, to get just a bit more advanced than a straight copy, I use an open-source program that is available for all major OS - GRSync.

http://grsync-win.sourceforge.net/

There is a slight learning curve to this, but what it does very well is 'incremental' updates. Once you back up the whole 6GB, you can run GRSync and it can be set to ADD any changed/new files to your backup. This is very fast, as only changes/updates are copied. And it can be set to not delete the older versions (not sure about that if you use the same file name - that might get over-written, I need to check) - but for important files, I always add a suffix, A001, A002, etc to updates.

edit/add: Note that GRSync does a simple copy, but in a smart way. You don't need the software to recover the backup or anything - it is stored just as if you did a straight file copy. That is important to me, I don't want to worry about special software working properly to recover something, and I can always do a quick check of the copy by just poking around the drive.

You could do this with USB hard drives, but those will cost more when you want 2-3 of them, and probably have more storage than you need for this, and are physically larger. You might want one hard drive for settings, etc - depends how much that is.

-ERD50
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Old 03-07-2013, 11:12 AM   #29
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...(snip)...
But the must have part is one subfolder with less than 6 gigabytes. I would be more than inconvenienced if I were to lose that.
...
I have one folder that also has critical data. For that I do as others above have suggested: put it on 1 USB drive that goes into a safe deposit box, then maybe weekly put it on another USB drive that is at home. Once every few months swap those USB's so that you always have at least a fairly up to date version in the safe deposit box.

Also I should mention that I just do a simple copy to the USB drive. That is because I can easily verify it's being done correctly and there is no backup software to depend on. The only time I've ever needed the backup was to get back an Excel file I'd messed up. Easy as pie when it's just a copy paste.

Doing the full backup with backup software is an additional level of detail that other's above have covered.
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Old 03-07-2013, 02:54 PM   #30
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For backing up into the "cloud" anywhere you might want to consider the article from Ars Technica"

How Verizon turned in a Baltimore priest, whose cloud backup was scanned for child porn by a third party, then notified Verizon of nefarious activity. Anotherwords Your stuff in the cloud is no longer private. Bold sections are by me.

"........
Verizon isn't the only cloud provider that performs some level of scanning of its content. Dropbox, for example, spells out in its terms and conditions the many things users aren't allowed to do with the service, including "Don’t share 'unlawfully pornographic' material." The company will cancel your account or worse if you try to. Dropbox also says it "may collect" information on "all the files you upload or download."
And like all cloud providers, Dropbox and Verizon (and others) must be able to provide files stored in the cloud to law enforcement—in some cases without a warrant. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act of 2012, which would have offered cloud-based storage greater privacy protections, failed to get out of the Senate last year, so the "stored communications" that are your personal files will be open to scrutiny for the foreseeable future."


While the article is a discussion of how they busted a Baltimore priest with child pornography, it is well worth to note that anything stored in the cloud is nearly open to anyone with any miniscule of legal claim.


I am not suggesting anything nefarious, simply, that once the stuff is elsewhere besides your computer, might as well consider it public information
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Old 03-07-2013, 04:19 PM   #31
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Now, to get just a bit more advanced than a straight copy, I use an open-source program that is available for all major OS - GRSync.
+1 for rsync. If you have a mac it should already be available on your terminal.

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I am not suggesting anything nefarious, simply, that once the stuff is elsewhere besides your computer, might as well consider it public information
I personally wouldn't put any files in the cloud that have financial information (SSN/account numbers/etc) unless I had encrypted it previously with a really long key. See also this article about Dropbox's security claims:

Dropbox Lack of Security - Miguel de Icaza
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Old 03-07-2013, 04:51 PM   #32
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Similar to others that have replied here, I use multiple methods. I use SmartSync Pro to back up our three computers to a NAS device once/day. Some critical files are backed up to a SD card every 30 minutes. One of the reasons I like SmartSync Pro is that it stores all files in native format - very easy to do a drag and drop restore.

I also do volume backups on two of the machines each night using Acronis. These backups go to a second disk (internal in the desktop and in the laptop docking station). Two weeks ago the main disk (1TB) on the desktop crashed completely. I was back up and running within twelve hours after getting another drive and doing an Acronis volume restore.

I also have two USB drives that I backup to using SmartSync Pro and rotate between home and a bank safety deposit box.

One thing I've found handy is to have the backups generate an email letting me know whether the automatically scheduled backups were successful or not. That way I'm sure that everything is running as expected. As someone else mentioned, it's also good to verify the backup content from time to time just to be doubly sure.

I also use SmartSync Pro to copy some files to Dropbox so they are universally available. My only experience with cloud backups was with Norton - backups worked fine, retores not at all.
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Old 03-07-2013, 04:57 PM   #33
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Daily backup to a USB external drive using Acronis True Image. I have it setup to automatically do a full backup followed by 12 incremental backups, then repeat the cycle. Keep the most recent two sets of full backups and the corresponding incrementals. This backs up absolutely everything.

Add to that, Mozy free from EMC (they let you do 2 gigabytes for free). I am only using about 500MB of it for my most loved ones (files). This runs four times a day with one copy to the cloud and another to the external USB drive. On an "as I feel like it" basis, I copy the 500MB from the external USB to a USB flash drive.

Works well and is fully automated, except for the flash part, which I probably should automate.

Edit to add: Whatever you do, be sure to test the restore process.
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Old 03-07-2013, 05:02 PM   #34
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My problem with Carbonite, and really any of the cloud backup systems, is the initial backup. Including my music files, I have over 300gb of data backed up. That initial backup over home internet lines takes way too long and is prone to failing. I have not found a good way around this hurdle.
One way around it, and I'm not sure which online backup service offers it, but they give you a little program that burns DVDs that you mail-in. After that, it's just the changes. I heard about this on the Security Now podcast, probably SN 349, but it could have been a follow-up in a later show.

--Dale--
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Old 03-07-2013, 05:25 PM   #35
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+1 for rsync. If you have a mac it should already be available on your terminal.



I personally wouldn't put any files in the cloud that have financial information (SSN/account numbers/etc) unless I had encrypted it previously with a really long key. See also this article about Dropbox's security claims:

Dropbox Lack of Security - Miguel de Icaza
I don't worry about most stuff -- even mildly sensitive financial documents including SSN. If I had something I was really worried about sharing I would not store it unencrypted in the Cloud. My guess is that all of them, including Carbonite, Skydrive, Apples Cloud service, etc have flaws. The only answer is to use reliable encryption at your end. Then flaws at the Cloud side won't expose your data. Keep in mind, unless you encrypt all of your files on your PC, they are available to anyone with a few smarts who physical access.
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Old 03-11-2013, 02:43 PM   #36
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I do backups, but I am not really confident in what I am getting. I would prefer to get secure backup of everything- my files, my desktop, my favorites and settings.

But the must have part is one subfolder with less than 6 gigabytes. I would be more than inconvenienced if I were to lose that.

I have one main desktop computer that this is on, so at present I am not concerned about my Surface, etc.

What are my choices, and the pros and cons of them? I can hook up wires and connectors, but I know very little about this stuff. I don't mind spending some money.

This will really help me, and your suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Ha
for your must have data. just getting a couple usb thumb drives and doing a simple copy of the folder to the usb drive , alternating between the two. is pretty low tech, effective and won't cost you much. You can employ some of the other suggestions for the whole system.
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Old 03-11-2013, 03:53 PM   #37
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If on windows 8 there is file history, which claims to keep files and changes for some period of time ( 1 month up). It will run from every 12 hours to shorter time, and requires and external drive. You can set the retention period also. I don't use it since I am digitizing a lot of pictures as tiffs (to avoid any compression losses) and digitize and then edit the pictures, so that at 20 mb per slide it could mount up fast. I tried it and it seemed to work, except if you turned it off and back on it started over.
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:56 AM   #38
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A new development is out, in beta, from BitTorrent. This approach takes your data to the cloud, but for transfer only.

BitTorrent Sync creates private, peer-to-peer Dropbox, no cloud required


The advantage I see is that your data resides on another local machine in your network, or on a remote machine over which you have control.

Another tool for the geek, and I hope it proves useful to someone.
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