Backup Best Practices

By Vilandra
Apr 25, 2013
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  1. I'm interested in how people back up their systems. Do you backup files manually, use software, keep drive images?

    I always think I want to actually use the backup software that I have, but I end up just keeping copies of the files themselves and using BeyondCompare to update the backups with new/updated files. I like having access to them and being able to easily see what is there. I usually make a drive image when I first set up a hard drive, but then I never get around to updating them. I guess I figure if I need to reinstall the OS, that's a good opportunity to clear out all the old program junk.

    So, how do you back up and what do you think is the best process for keeping your backups up-to-date?

    :)
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,025   +221

  3. JC713

    JC713 TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 6,094   +724

    Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, jobeard! Sorry I felt that was necessary.
  4. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,066   +1,179

    I keep what data I want on hard drive and backup to BD. Data that is regularly updated is backed up to Thumb Drive. I have only my OS to worry about if I need to do a system recovery, because all my data is stored on a separate partition. With this system I have little to no need in specialized application's to do my backup needs.
  5. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,278   +152

    My own backup philosophy I use for myself and others
    Hardware
    • Use an external hard drive that has its own AC adapter. Don't use a portable drive. (Externals that sit on your desk, not moved and bumped around, are more reliable)
    • Remember even backup drives can fail. So a true backup important data means you need two copies of your data on physically different media. (I happen to use a RAID drive)
    • Personally, I DON'T like WD external drives. I see too many problems with them
    Backup Philosophy
    • I'll image the entire disk every 3-4 months
    • I'll backup my data more often (whether every couple days or once a week, depends)
    On catastrophic failure (like hard drive crash) is easy to recover by
    1) Restore last disk image, then
    2) Copy latest data onto restored disk image
    3) Finally, you now only need apply program updates since last image to be back and up running full speed. (And note this last step can often be done at your own leisure. Usually system is back up and running after step 2)

    /* EDIT */
    Oh. One last thing. I also create a partition on my disk for things I don't need backed up. (Saves backup time and space). This is usually for my media files like songs, movies, etc. Things I know I don't need waste the time or space to include on my disk or file backups)
    Vilandra likes this.
  6. JC713

    JC713 TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 6,094   +724

    Oh so you run the RAID with redundancy? Interesting. Seagates are garbage if that is what you like :D. I like WD personally, I have used them for years and have had no issues.
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,003   +710

    I actually buy CDs, and rip them into my machines using WMA lossless. I still have those files duped across a couple of machines. Ripping, creating folders, editing out garbage "extras" takes time. I don't understand why you wouldn't want to back those files up. I've bought my entire CD collection about 3 times due to theft, and I sure wish I had the means at the time, to copy them off a drive, back to CDs.

    I agree that movie files need to come off your HDDs.

    I think PC World proposed this simple, yet elegant solution. When a HDD gets full, pull it out, put it back in its anti-static bag, box it up and archive it. All things considered, with today's high capacity and low cost per GB HDDs, that's probably as cheap as burning it to optical media.
  8. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 3,197   +555

    Only works for secondary mass-storage drives only, with no links to media libraries like iTunes. :p

    My backups are lacking highly, I need to fix that. :(
  9. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,278   +152

    I like Buffalo external drives (including their RAIDs) . I only buy Buffalos' for myself, family and friends for several years without any problems yet <fingers crossed>.

    Coincidentally, just witnessed quirks another brand-new WD external. It worked on all computers but one, even when I booted from an Acronis recovery CD just to test the drive. My Buffalo was recognized without any problem. I have no proof (but only guess) that WD's barely meet or exceed USB connection/voltage spec so it doesn't tolerate much variance from USB port specs.
    Hmmm, I haven't had that problem. Maybe it's time to start hanging out with a better class of geeks. :D
  10. JC713

    JC713 TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 6,094   +724

    Ah, I have heard of Buffalo, just for networking though.
  11. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,278   +152

    I've probably bought about 6 Buffalo USB and another 6 of their network drives over the last 4 years and give them thumbs up for both price and reliability to date
  12. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,278   +152

    Wow. I'm making claims while also admitting I have no proof to back it up. I'm suddenly feeling very Republican. LOL
    jobeard and JC713 like this.
  13. JC713

    JC713 TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 6,094   +724

    LOL.
     
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,003   +710

    Oddly, the lowly Windows Media Player can find music libraries on a secondary HDD. Are you saying that iTunes can't?
  15. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,066   +1,179

    iTunes can but as far as I know it copies anything it finds, into its own library structure.
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,003   +710

    Well, here's the thing. A wise man once told me, (believe it or not a "guest"), that as soon as you install iTunes in a Windows computer, it trashes it up with a number of processes, that simply don't get installed on an Apple product.

    Amazon "Instant video", likewise feels the need to run on startup also. And don't get me started on the way Amazon has f***** up their method of selling music MP3s. According to them they're doing you this gigantic favor with "music cloud" or whatever it is that they're calling it..It came to pass with these mutts, you now have to jump through a bunch of hoops to buy a stinking song. (Install an Amazon download manager, etc. Whereas any old browser's download strategy would, (and did), work fine and dandy). And I don't need Amazon to store anything for me. And so Dear Amazon, don't do me any big favors I didn't ask for...!:mad:

    WMP deals with MP3s where it finds them, and you just have to make it aware of where they are and then, "Include in music library" (in Win 7).

    Personally, I won't deal with an "I" anything on general principles. But, I'm an acknowledged hater.

    Feel free to check any of this info out for yourself...:)
  17. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,066   +1,179

    I'm not in denial either. :)
  18. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,003   +710

    I'm a bitter old man, and all I have left in this world is my, "iHate".....:oops:
    JC713 likes this.
  19. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 3,197   +555

    iTunes will work like WMP: it uses a library database to keep track of where files are. By default, no files are copied into an 'iTunes directory'. So, like WMP, if you move the location of some files you'll either have to: rescan whole library location; point iTunes to the new location of each file; or add the file location again while delete old library entries.

    Basically, as soon as you involve libraries, don't move or delete your files. D:


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