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computer backups?
Old 07-26-2019, 06:59 AM   #1
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computer backups?

Well, my backup HD just died so I am now it's time to assess my backups approach before I just run out and buy a replacement.

We have an Apple Mac for our home PC, 1TB drive. It holds a bunch of personal info, financial and otherwise.
I had been running with an external Western Digital HD and Apple Time Machine, using the Firewire port on the MAC.

What do other folks use?
Recommendations for reliable HD backup system?

Thx
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Old 07-26-2019, 07:53 AM   #2
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We have a 2TB My Passport for Mac that plugs in to a USB port. It has worked flawlessly to maintain a backup. Easy to set up as well.
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Old 07-26-2019, 07:53 AM   #3
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I have used TrueImage for over 10 years now and can highly recommend it. I have to Restore my computers quite often -- I am a sucker for trying new software without prior research (who has time for that? <chuckle>). In fact, I restored one of my machines 3 times this week.

https://www.acronis.com/en-us/personal/computer-backup/


As far as hard drives goes, any of the major brands will work. Prices have come down so much (I saw a 8TB external drive in Costco yesterday for less than I paid for a 1TB just two years ago -- $140) that backup storage should not stop one from making multiple copies cheaply.
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Old 07-26-2019, 08:03 AM   #4
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I simply clone the disk once every month or so and then throw it in the closet. I have nothing so critical on my computers that if lost it would be an issue. If the disk in the machine dies, I just pop in the clone.
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Old 07-26-2019, 08:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albireo13 View Post
Well, my backup HD just died so I am now it's time to assess my backups approach before I just run out and buy a replacement.

We have an Apple Mac for our home PC, 1TB drive. It holds a bunch of personal info, financial and otherwise.
I had been running with an external Western Digital HD and Apple Time Machine, using the Firewire port on the MAC.

What do other folks use?
Recommendations for reliable HD backup system?

Thx
This is exactly what I use, and a couple of weeks ago wanted to find a spreadsheet I must have deleted accidentally a couple of months earlier. I was very impressed at how easy it was to look back in history using the "Time Machine" and recover it.

I have both my MacBook and backup drive encrypted.
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Old 07-26-2019, 08:52 AM   #6
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Using TimeMachine with an inexpensive external hard drive is pretty much a no-brainer for Mac users. It works well, is unobtrusive, and is integrated into the OS very well.

One other solution that works a bit differently is SuperDuper. It's terrific for creating an exact duplicate of your hard disk.

That is, Time Machine continuously adds files to it's backup storage so you can retrieve any file from the last N days, while SuperDuper gives you a bootable snapshot of your disk from one spot in time.

I know people who use both. I get by with just Time Machine.
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Old 07-26-2019, 09:08 AM   #7
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My current backup procedure is a custom program that backs up my key data directories to 2 different NAS devices (both with RAID configurations so that a single drive failure will not be an impact) and a external drive. I swap 2 external drives back and forth from the bank safe deposit box. These directories are also backed up onto the "cloud".

I rarely take a clone backup of my main Windows desktop, usually only when I upgrade the motherboard. I can always reinstall Windows and the programs I use, if needed. Most of my other systems are Linux based, which I find is much easier to recover/reinstall than Windows.
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Old 07-26-2019, 11:09 AM   #8
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Heck, I don't keep anything of real importance on my computer. If I have a crash, I just go get another laptop. I can always come up with new phone numbers and recipes.

We've been buying used, reconditioned laptops online. The last one for my wife was $85, and it's a much nicer computer than mine. I still like her old Windows 7 for my low tech needs. The grandson's remanufactured Dell was about $200. My Dell laptop was new a year ago , and it came with an outdated version of Windows 10. I updated all the software this week.
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Old 07-26-2019, 12:16 PM   #9
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Each week I make two backups on two portable external (USB) hard drives, for redundancy. They're cheap these days.

I do not back up my OS or programs since they can easily be replaced. I just back up my own files, photos, music, and so on. I keep all of these files under C:\Users\W2R .

Then every weekend I just copy/paste to back up that entire C:\Users\W2R folder into a dated folder on each of my two external hard drives.

Eventually I delete some of the excess backups on those external hard drives, so as to not clutter them up too much. I don't keep more than one backup per month for last year, for example, or more than 1 backup per year for five years ago.

This method has worked flawlessly for me for the past 35 years or so, using the storage media of the day. Although I am sure it is not foolproof it is good enough for me.
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Old 07-26-2019, 12:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albireo13 View Post
What do other folks use?
Recommendations for reliable HD backup system?

Thx
everyone uses the cloud now
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Old 07-26-2019, 12:31 PM   #11
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Seems like most of the responses here are local solutions, and I'm in that camp too. Time Machine on the Mac, but I have ad-hoc and not very frequent backups for the Win7 and WinXP HTPC. I'd like to have something as easy as Time Machine for my Win 7 desktop. And I'd like to have a bootable image backup for all of these systems. And no cloud requirement. I'm sure I could do it, but it's not the kind of project I leap at.
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Old 07-26-2019, 12:31 PM   #12
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I backup to a separate internal disk, to the cloud (Onedrive), and periodically to a portable disk that I do NOT keep attached to the computer. So far I've had no problems but I fear that all of my attached and cloud storage could be corrupted by malware.
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Old 07-26-2019, 12:32 PM   #13
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everyone uses the cloud now
No, everyone doesn't. People differ in their backup choices, and for good reason. Google it.
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Old 07-26-2019, 01:17 PM   #14
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everyone uses the cloud now

Not me!
Stuff I want to back up is big enough that cloud storage is too expensive and slow, plus I don't trust cloud storage to always be there when I need it or to remain private.
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Old 07-26-2019, 01:19 PM   #15
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No, everyone doesn't. People differ in their backup choices, and for good reason. Google it.
you mean some folks still use an IOMEGA zip drive? I thought those went the way of the dinosaur.
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Old 07-26-2019, 01:47 PM   #16
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I have multiple types and copies of backups for both my Mac and DW's. Admittedly, this is more than most people need or are willing to maintain.

  1. Time Machine for daily versioned backups. These are restricted to user data only, no OS or applications. I alternate between 3 external drives.
  2. QRecall for secondary versioned backups, as Time Machine sometimes has glitches. These are also restricted to user data only. I run these every 1-2 weeks, or after doing a bunch of work. These alternate among 3 external drives (not the same ones as Time Machine).
  3. Clones made with Carbon Copy Cloner or Super Duper. These are whole disk copies which I update every month or so (or just before an OS update), using separate partitions on the same external drives as #2.
This means user data resides as 9 copies on 6 physical drives. I always keep one set of #2 and #3 in a safe deposit box, swapping them out every couple of months. This doesn't count several archive drives created over the years. DW thinks I'm obsessed, and she's right.
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Old 07-26-2019, 02:07 PM   #17
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I keep my documents on Google Drive. Every few months I download them to my Chromebox as a backup, the whole process takes a few minutes.
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Old 07-26-2019, 02:21 PM   #18
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Depending on the quantity of information you need to back up, and how much you value it, there are many different methods.

1. Cloud - suitable for smaller quantities of information. You need to trust the security of the servers. I use DropBox for my critical financial files (tax returns, spreadsheets). This is not suitable for terabytes of photos.

2. External RAID (redundant array of independent drives). I use a Western Digital 8TB My Book Duo Desktop RAID External Hard Drive - USB 3.0. This has two 4TB HDDs that mirror the data. That way, your files are on the original HDD, and two copies are on this device. This devices has automatic backup software.

3. External HDD such as you've been using. I use small, external 2 to 4TB HDDs for backups that will be stored 'off-site'. I have two, and always keep one in a Safe Deposit Box at the bank. That way, you'll always have a copy of your files, if your house burns down, floods, or your computer takes a direct lightning strike or is stolen.

4. Internal RAID. I also have two HDDs in my computer that mirror the data.

5. SSDs and Thumb Drives. Solid state drives are more reliable than HDDs, over the long run. Key financial files are also backed up here, in addition to my wedding photos. Currently, I have a 128GB thumb drive that I keep copies of the files on at W*rk, which is in a separate building from my condo.

6. NAS. Network attached storage. This uses your network to share files between computers. I tried solutions by Synology and Western Digital. They lacked the speed I wanted, and the wireless connections left them susceptible to external hacks. I eliminated these from my backup routine. These are best for multiple users who want to share and back up data on a network, but if you're only backing up one computer, I don't recommend them.
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Old 07-26-2019, 03:30 PM   #19
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How about reliability? Is any external HD more reliable than other?
I think I will go with another external HDD ... perhaps 2, for redundancy.
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Old 07-26-2019, 03:50 PM   #20
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How about reliability? Is any external HD more reliable than other?
I think I will go with another external HDD ... perhaps 2, for redundancy.
Reliability of an external HDD is going to be primarily determined by the drive in the box. In general, if you buy a packaged external HDD product, you're going to get a 5400 RPM drive packaged in a sleek enclosure. Lots of times, these solutions are more for portability and tossing the drive in your backpack than for being a backup solution that sits on your desk.

If you want a better solution, buy the best drive(s) you can, and put it in to a good enclosure or USB/eSATA docking station. I've found that Western Digital Caviar Black drives are probably the best from a reliability and performance perspective. You can also get used/refurbs for really good prices on Amazon. I use a Cavalry two-drive docking station and it works well. You can even put two drives in it, not connected to anything other than power and with the press of a button will clone one drive to the other. This is wonderful when I've made a clone of a drive using cloning software, and then want to make a second copy - I can do that not using the computer at all.

This is the Cavalry 2 bay I use:
https://www.amazon.com/Cavalry-CAHDD.../dp/B0030MHL66

Here is a 4 bay version:
https://www.amazon.com/Drive-Docking.../dp/B01J4ICS2G
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