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Subject: Recommendations please: backing up your PC rss

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col_w
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I've just had a nasty scare where I thought I'd lost all my data. I know next to nothing about backing up; what's the best way? At the moment I could burn a DVD, but this seems a bit manual. I see there are now portable USB hard-drives available, are these the best option? Can I just plug them straight into any computer and access the data?

Is there any particularly good (and free hopefully!) software that will back up selected folders either on a schedule or when I choose? For XP.

My PC came with an internal SATA hard-drive but I have also acquired an EIDE one. Will connecting the EIDE one to the cable the DVD drive is on work, or do they have to be the same type? I.e. could I use the EIDE drive as my backup?

Thanks in advance for any advice.


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Keith "Boaty McBoatface" C
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Many external hard drives come with backup software if you're going that route anyway. You just leave the drive connected and it will automatically back up your data.
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Blorb Plorbst
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You could back up to the cloud

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_online_backup_ser...
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Chris
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Here's my recommendation -- and it's completely free:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/6029513#6029513
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col_w
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CrankyPants wrote:


I don't think I want to go with an online option. Both for ongoing cost, and that I don't really trust other people with my data.
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Gil Hova
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I had nightmares about losing my significantly-sized music collection to a hard drive failure, so I got an external hard drive to back it up on. I used the software that came with the drive (Memeo Instant Backup) to automagically trigger a backup anytime the folder got updated.

Then I had nightmares about losing my significantly-sized music collection to a fire or a theft. At first I considered using S3, but that proved to be too expensive. So I started using a cloud backup service. I use CrashPlan, but Carbonite and BackBlaze offer similar services. It'll cost between $2 and $5 a month.

It takes a very long time to upload data to a cloud service. Assume about a month for every 100 GB you need backed up. If you're in a rush, you can get CrashPlan to mail you a hard drive to which you can copy your data, but that'll set you back over $100. (And likewise with restores; a mass restore will take a long time, but you can fork over some dough to get it on a hard drive.)

EDIT: Just saw your post about not wanting to back up online. You can always get a couple of external hard drives. Hook one up to your machine and back up to it. After a month, move it to an off-site location and hook up the other hard drive. Rotate every month. Unfortunately, if you have to restore from the off-site drive, you won't have up to a month's worth of your most recent data. But if you don't want to entrust your data to the cloud, that's the way to go.
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I use several external hard drives to back up my data, which is mostly music, videos and pictures. My internal hard drive is mostly used to collect data and after a reasonable amount of time I move them to the main external hard disk (1 TB) and one of the other hard disks (one for audio books; one for rock & pop music; one for classical music & Jazz; one for pictures and videos) as backup.
Just recently I bought a cheap external hard drive (230MB) to carry data around, like I used to with USB sticks.
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Lexingtonian
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Like Gil, I'm concerned about a fire taking my data, so I periodically back up to USB drives and throw them in my safe-deposit box. If I catch a sale at Target, I can get the drives pretty cheap, and I guess they'll keep get cheaper going forward, like memory generally does.
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Scott A. Reed
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Curtis Anderson wrote:
Like Gil, I'm concerned about a fire taking my data, so I periodically back up to USB drives and throw them in my safe-deposit box. If I catch a sale at Target, I can get the drives pretty cheap, and I guess they'll keep get cheaper going forward, like memory generally does.


Indeed. While I don't put my drives in a safety deposit box, getting a 2TB external drive for $100 to back up all of one's data is a pretty reasonable plan. Just find a friend to hold one for you offsite and back-up/trade out drives periodically.
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Steve B
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skelebone wrote:
Curtis Anderson wrote:
Like Gil, I'm concerned about a fire taking my data, so I periodically back up to USB drives and throw them in my safe-deposit box. If I catch a sale at Target, I can get the drives pretty cheap, and I guess they'll keep get cheaper going forward, like memory generally does.


Indeed. While I don't put my drives in a safety deposit box, getting a 2TB external drive for $100 to back up all of one's data is a pretty reasonable plan. Just find a friend to hold one for you offsite and back-up/trade out drives periodically.


That is a good idea indeed. I actually plugged a regular hard drive into my desktop computer, backed up to that so in case of a failure, I can just copy it over again. It's unplugged currently so it doesn't continuously run and wear out
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Blorb Plorbst
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I just keep any data of value on my hard drive. All docs are on Gdocs. Movies and Music is starting to be cloud managed as well.

As portable, web connected devices like the iPad become more prevalent, the idea of household computing will move away having your data local and move toward web-based content management. Personally, I like not having to worry about HD crashes and managing backups.
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Rob Robinson
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I have 2 internal drives, and an external, which I use in conjunction with GoodSync.

Everything of importance on my main drive is backed up to my other internal drive, which is then synchronized to an external drive.

If you don't backup your files you will regret it.

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Walt
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I agree with getting an external drive (or two if you're in a disaster prone area). It'll come with software, or you can use your OS backup, or you can just copy your files to it. Ideally, you want two, one "off-site" (somewhere unlikely to be hit by any disaster that strikes your home). Once a week take the drive you're using for backup and exchange it with the off-site unit. Do a full backup when you start using the retrieved unit since it's data is a week old; after that you can do "incremental backups" (just things that have changed) until you swap drives next.

Essentially, the idea is to have three copies of your data (one as much as a week old): the two USB drives and your computer. Never allow all three to be in the same place.

Many more arduous, more exactly methods are possible (and doubtless will be suggested by those who do corporate backups), but this is a reasonably inexpensive and convenient method.

If you keep sensitive information on your system, encrypt the backup drive. If you use any kind of online banking or bill paying, you're in this situation.

You can just plug these drives into a USB port. They aren't blindingly fast going through USB, but you can just kick off the backup as you go to bed.

If you have an early XP machine, it may have USB 1.1. 2.0 is faster. The new 3.0 is much faster, but I'm unsure drivers are available for XP. Getting faster USB ports would speed things up at the cost of installing a small, simple card in your computer.


ImaginaryRoot wrote:
That is a good idea indeed. I actually plugged a regular hard drive into my desktop computer, backed up to that so in case of a failure, I can just copy it over again. It's unplugged currently so it doesn't continuously run and wear out

You should be able to set your system to stop drives spinning after a period of time. (If you leave your system on for a long time, and it pauses significantly when you restart use of it, possibly with a slight thud, that's the hard drive restarting, so the spin-down feature is already set.) The wear of having power applied is minimal. The power cables are not made for frequent use, so that's a likely failure point in your current regime.
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Ed Sherman
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col_w wrote:
Is there any particularly good (and free hopefully!) software that will back up selected folders either on a schedule or when I choose? For XP.


You could start with the software you already have.
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Mark Hamzy
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IngredientX wrote:
Then I had nightmares about losing my significantly-sized music collection to a fire or a theft. At first I considered using S3, but that proved to be too expensive. So I started using a cloud backup service. I use CrashPlan, but Carbonite and BackBlaze offer similar services. It'll cost between $2 and $5 a month.


I share your nightmares. I have a lot of music, pictures, and video. So I bought two Synology NAS boxes. They support a lot of functions, run linux under the covers (cron and rsync FTW!), and can do RAID6. I keep one at home and one at work.
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I use MS Sync Toy to copy my "My Documents" to my wife's laptop, and she does the same to mine.
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