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Backing up a hard drive(s)
Old 07-27-2018, 08:38 PM   #1
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Backing up a hard drive(s)

If you read my earlier post, you know why Iím posting this. The end result on that crash is that we lost all the work DW did since March. Thankfully, no pictures were lost, but the event highlighted a major flaw in my backup routine (do it when I think about it) that I want to correct.

I have a main computer with a SSD and an internal drive for data. Only programs go on the SSD and all data and various backups are on the internal hard drive.

I also have DWís laptop that has a SSD and we used the external/portable drive (the one that crashed) to store her data. In the discussion surrounding this event, DW tells me she has a lot of pictures on the SSD. This is good and bad. Good because we didnít lose those files. Bad because she was instructed to handle her data like the main computer, no data on the SSD.

So, Iím working on developing a full backup of all our drives and would like your input. This event has also made me aware that I should also backup my SSDís so that if they did crash, Iíd have a lot less work than if I had to reinstall all the programs. Also, if DW does store data on the SSD, I obviously want to capture that.

I also have two iPhones and two iPads. I suspect they are easy to backup through iTunes but if thereís a good way to handle those, Iím all ears.

I know that this will take some time and money to set up, but in the end, I want a bulletproof routine so what I just went through doesnít happen again. Iím the system administrator at our house, and even though the damage was minimized, I let DW down. I donít want that to happen again. Thanks.
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Old 07-27-2018, 09:16 PM   #2
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With the SSD, is there much effort involved in remembering that programs go on SSD and data on internal drive? To ask another way, when you install a program, do you have to make the extra effort to make sure any data saved by the program gets saved onto the internal drive and not the SSD? Along with SSD cost (though prices are dropping) I've been hesitant to get a SSD for fear that if a data crash, a SSD isn't as forgiving (recoverable) a regular hard drive. For now, I've gone the SSHD hybrid route for my main drive. Then a regular as the backup.

As for backing up, I think you'd want a program that does scheduled backups. Along with that, incremental backups as you don't want to have to back up everything, changed or not each time. I have scheduled backups of my system and data run early in the morning as I'm still snoozing in bed. I also do on the fly (manual) syncing of my data another partition on my backup drive as I'm a bit paranoid that a backup of my data might fail. Plus, sometimes for data, once a day backup doesn't feel enough.
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Old 07-27-2018, 09:24 PM   #3
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To ask another way, when you install a program, do you have to make the extra effort to make sure any data saved by the program gets saved onto the internal drive and not the SSD?
Yes. Turbo Tax is a good example. When you install the program, it creates a folder for the turbo tax data files. Once you redirect it, it works fine to save files on the data drive. Itís not a big deal but you do have to consider and know where your data files are going as the main drive is the default for some programs.
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Old 07-27-2018, 09:33 PM   #4
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Yes. Turbo Tax is a good example. When you install the program, it creates a folder for the turbo tax data files. Once you redirect it, it works fine to save files on the data drive. Itís not a big deal but you do have to consider and know where your data files are going as the main drive is the default for some programs.
I plead guilty about putting my system and data on my "C" drive. I know a strategy is to only put the system there and then put something like My Documents folder onto another drive. But the lazy part in me just lets programs install at the program's default.

Looks like you have to weigh how much time is gained with a faster SSD vs time consumed having manage what goes where.
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Old 07-27-2018, 10:27 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
With the SSD, is there much effort involved in remembering that programs go on SSD and data on internal drive? To ask another way, when you install a program, do you have to make the extra effort to make sure any data saved by the program gets saved onto the internal drive and not the SSD? Along with SSD cost (though prices are dropping) I've been hesitant to get a SSD for fear that if a data crash, a SSD isn't as forgiving (recoverable) a regular hard drive. For now, I've gone the SSHD hybrid route for my main drive. Then a regular as the backup.

As for backing up, I think you'd want a program that does scheduled backups. Along with that, incremental backups as you don't want to have to back up everything, changed or not each time. I have scheduled backups of my system and data run early in the morning as I'm still snoozing in bed. I also do on the fly (manual) syncing of my data another partition on my backup drive as I'm a bit paranoid that a backup of my data might fail. Plus, sometimes for data, once a day backup doesn't feel enough.


What software do you use for incremental backups for a PC?

Iíve been trying to find one for my momís PC, as the software that came with the WD Passport Drive is full backups only (as far as I can tell, while trying to trouble shoot over FaceTime). Iím a Mac user at home and time machine sw is incremental.
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Old 07-27-2018, 10:49 PM   #6
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What software do you use for incremental backups for a PC?

Iíve been trying to find one for my momís PC, as the software that came with the WD Passport Drive is full backups only (as far as I can tell, while trying to trouble shoot over FaceTime). Iím a Mac user at home and time machine sw is incremental.
As you know, Apple make some things so simple.
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Old 07-28-2018, 12:39 AM   #7
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I don't think there's anything that's completely bulletproof.
Have you considered a NAS drive with multiple hard drives that you can set up with redundancy?
I have a simple QNAP NAS drive with two hard drives that I set up mirrored. I store data on my machines in specific folders and then just copy them onto the NAS drive on a regular basis, though I should really schedule it.
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Old 07-28-2018, 12:58 AM   #8
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Honestly - I just create lots of redundant data. So I have a Passport that I use for data backups. I just do this manually periodically. That is my main backup. I do not attempt to do backups of my program drive (SSD) because whenever I have occasionally lost such a drive that is usually a good opportunity to do a fresh install of everything and clean it up.

It is unlikely that I will simultaneously lose both my desktop and the Passport. However, that did happen once several years ago. I had the external drive plugged into the computer and had a problem and lost everything on both of them. I did have another laptop that had almost all the data so it wasn't an issue. But what I learned from that is not to leave the external drive plugged into the computer all the time. I plug it in when I need copy something to it or access it and then unplug it.

But -- all those redundancies:

1. I have often had a second computer that had a copy of all the data on it (within a few weeks anyway). That has usually been because I had both a desktop and a notebook with a large drive. Currently I don't have a notebook so I don't have that.

2. Since I don't have that, I have a second external drive. When I got my new computer last year I couldn't use one of my SSDs from my old computer so I put it in a housing and use it as an additional external drive. I don't update it as often as the Passport but do it periodically.

The only real situation where I could lose all of this simultaneously would likely be someone stealing everything in my house or destruction of the contents of my house. So I shouldn't rely entirely on physical devices in my house. So I have the following:

3. For very important stuff I copy it to One Drive periodically. I don't regular sync the drives but I do put it there so I could always go get it if I needed it.

4. I have created as paperless an office as possible. Almost everything I do gets saved to PDF and then uploaded to Evernote. Some more sensitive documents I don't do that. Some Evernote user encrypt those documents and then upload them and attach them to a note. THey aren't searchable on Evernote (the note is -- not the document) but they are there. I may look into doing that at some point since I don't like documents that only live on devices in my house.

5. For photos - I mostly do have some additional back ups. Many photos were taken on my phone and are in iCloud. I also have an Amazon Photos account. That said -- I don't have everything there and I need to put it there.

6. I had a lot of photos scanned in by DigMyPics. I have DVDs of those photos and videos.

7. Still there are some photos that are only on my computer. What I need to do is put them on DVD and go put them in a safety deposit box.
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Old 07-28-2018, 06:36 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by ocean view View Post
What software do you use for incremental backups for a PC?

Iíve been trying to find one for my momís PC, as the software that came with the WD Passport Drive is full backups only (as far as I can tell, while trying to trouble shoot over FaceTime). Iím a Mac user at home and time machine sw is incremental.
For my PC, I have been using Macrium Reflect. There's a free version but that doesn't do incremental backups. The paid version does.

Another software program I've used recently is Ashampoo Backup Pro that I also like. This does incremental also. Just saw that a new version is coming out around end of month.
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Old 07-28-2018, 07:01 AM   #10
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I use MozyHome for files.... free for up to 2GB. Backup mostly Quicken files, TT tax files, other Excel and Word files... currently at 1.8GB so still have room to go.

When I first started using it I had some trouble with some Quicken files and it worked flawlessly. I haven't had to restore a file in a long time.

Pictures are in the cloud.
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Old 07-28-2018, 07:10 AM   #11
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Backblaze.com works well for me.
And, yes, I have tested it.
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Old 07-28-2018, 07:34 AM   #12
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Each of our three PCs has a second disk and we use Acronis for daily backups. That way we can completely recover any PC with a max of one day's data loss.

In a sort of "belt and suspenders" approach, we also do daily file backups using SmartSync Pro to a NAS system.

Every six months or so I do an Acronis backup for all three systems to one of two USB drives. The most current backup goes to a safe deposit box and the I keep the older one at home in the office.
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Old 07-28-2018, 07:56 AM   #13
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We use a 1 TB NAS. It's essentially a hard drive that we hook up to our wifi router. Everyone in the home has access to the hard drive.

With the NAS I do nightly full/incremental backups via automated schedule. I searched high and low for a good, free backup program, but many did not allow network drive backups. Iperius Backup is a GREAT free network backup program. Can't say enough good things about it. So after the initial full backup, the daily incremental backups go pretty fast.

For photos we use Amazon Photos - unlimited photos - as a backup backup to the NAS and individual PCs.

And - for $12 a year on Amazon Prime got 1 TB and also do scheduled backups of key family/financial data (no photos or video) so have another backup backup.

Just hoping this is enough. It's seems pretty solid and not to expensive to implement.

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Old 07-28-2018, 08:21 AM   #14
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I assume you're using Windows 10, if so I would go for the simple approach. Really no need to buy additional software, buy and connect a network drive to your home network and turn on Windows 'File History' on your PC. Fairly simple to setup, once File History is turned on it will automatically save all changes and allow you the option of going back and recovering an earlier version if needed. Just make sure all the folders you need backed up are included in the File History configuration. You can also use Windows backup to create a system image, only need to create a new image when new programs or major updates are installed.
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Old 07-28-2018, 08:28 AM   #15
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Whatever way you are backing up, make sure you have tested the restore process. Nothing worse than finding out your backup is a fail.

I use Clonezilla on a USB live boot disk to backup three different drives and OSes.
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Old 07-28-2018, 09:24 AM   #16
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I mentioned this in your other thread, but I use Macrium Reflect to backup my computer. I have three main drives on my computer. The C: drive is a 250GB SSD that I only use for the OS and programs. I don't put much effort in keeping program data off the C: drive, so some settings and whatnot still end up there. My D: drive is a standard 1TB hard drive and is where I keep all of my important data (photos, videos, music, financial records, health records, etc.). My W: drive is a 1TB SSD that I use for video work. It's only for temporary data, so I don't back it up.

My backup drive is an external 3TB Western Digital 2.5" USB portable hard drive that is always attached to my computer.

Every night at midnight I have Macrium Reflect perform a full image backup of my C: drive. There's not much on my C: drive, so it only takes about 20 minutes to do a full backup. My backup definition keeps three full images of my C: drive on the backup drive, purging the oldest image before creating a new one.

When the C: drive backup is finished, I have Macrium Reflect backup my D: drive. I perform a full image backup every Sunday night, and incremental backups the rest of the week. I retain two full images and the associated incrementals on my backup drive.

I also use a program called "Max SyncUp" to backup selected folders on my daughters computer over my home network. Since her computer isn't always on, it tries to backup every two hours and simply aborts if her computer is not available. This is a "file" backup and not an "image" backup.

The backup processes are fully automated so I don't have to do anything to backup. I also have full disc images so I can quickly restore to a new drive if needed and minimize my down time.

Occasionally I also copy files manually from my W: video drive to my backup drive

Of course, a backup drive that is always connected to the computer is just as vulnerable to viruses, fire, theft, floods, power surges, etc. So once a month I swap my backup drive with a second identical drive I keep in a safe deposit box at the bank.
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Old 07-28-2018, 09:56 AM   #17
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I've used Acronis True Image for many years. It's often on sale for a good price. EaseUS Todo has a free version that has lots of capability too.
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Old 07-28-2018, 10:12 AM   #18
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I backup offsite using a utility called iDrive. I think I paid about $100 for two years of backup service. The initial backup takes quite a while depending on one's upload speed, and it does a daily backup also.

Now, if somebody steals my computer and my disk drives, I still have my files including the important ones of family photos, and financial wheeling and dealing
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Old 07-28-2018, 12:17 PM   #19
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I'll just add about backing up your iPhone/iPads. Apple gives you 5GB free storage. Go to Settings, touch the top item (with your name, and Apple ID, iCloud).
Then touch, iCloud, and go down to "iCloud Backup".


I stay within the 5GB limit because I don't want to pay Apple more for increased storage. Therefore, I don't backup my photos with iCloud. I use Google drive for photos and videos and they give 15GB free I believe.


Also, to backup my Windows PC, I just use a 64 GB USB flash drive and manually copy files over every few days.
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Old 07-28-2018, 02:45 PM   #20
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I'll just add about backing up your iPhone/iPads. Apple gives you 5GB free storage. Go to Settings, touch the top item (with your name, and Apple ID, iCloud).
Then touch, iCloud, and go down to "iCloud Backup".


I stay within the 5GB limit because I don't want to pay Apple more for increased storage. Therefore, I don't backup my photos with iCloud. I use Google drive for photos and videos and they give 15GB free I believe.


Also, to backup my Windows PC, I just use a 64 GB USB flash drive and manually copy files over every few days.

Agreed. I was looking into that last night and did just what you said. I'm only using 1.5 of the 5GB so I'll worry about more space if necessary. Probably more likely for DW because she deals with pictures, but she's been backing them up to something from Amazon (not sure what, not my department).
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