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I was wondering what is the best backup solution?

By hellokitty[hk] · 42 replies
Apr 5, 2008
  1. I was wondering what is the best backup solution? I know about raid and i don't think i will want to do it.
    I was thinking about using external harddrives but they seem to be even more expensive than internal, so i don't really have a clue about how to back up a computer now :(.
  2. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,186   +3,484

    Well... You're Going to Call it Overkill But....

    Raid 1 with data duplicated on two computers, and all your data double burned onto archival gold DVDs, which you should then store in two different, separate places.

    If that's a bit much, you should at least separate your back up files from the machine you're using in case of a meltdown, virus or other plague which might befall you. You should absolutely burn all your precious photo, music, and financial info files to optical media. I always install a second HDD into any of my machines, then store all my data on it and only use the C:/ for the OS or duplicate files that I can afford to lose.

    I duplicate my stuff across 2 machines, one of which is always offline. (No RAID though)
  3. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Topic Starter Posts: 3,415   +145

    Yes that is a little bit more overkill. I dont have anything EXTEAMLY important that i need to protect so that is overkill for me.

    So you keep you backup machine off? Does using a computer with a backup drive on it shorten the lifetime of the backup drive even if you don't use it??
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,443   +1,415

    RAID is not a backup solution

    RAID is not a backup solution; it is a fault tolerance solution, primarily for Server systems, not home users.

    ALL Raid systems, even the mirrored raid-1 implementation STILL needs backups.

    1- raid tutorial here

    2- backup techniques

    and you can google for software backup products.
  5. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Topic Starter Posts: 3,415   +145

    Yeah a fault tolerance system for servers, but with two drives mirrored and one dies... it can be helpfull in data protection can't it? Yes i have backup software its just that they still eat up huge amouts of memory, almost the same amout that mirrored hdd's would take
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,443   +1,415

    it may be helpful, but a bad i/o to one (ie corrupted data in memory) and it's
    immediately copied to the mirror :(

    as to the volume of information:- that's the subject of differential backups
    and selectively protecting something less than the full disk (user data) :)
  7. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Topic Starter Posts: 3,415   +145

    Oh well can't you just occasionally RAID another harddrive?
    Like disable one hard drive and then every once in a while, RAID it again, sorta like an incremental backup?
    That should also ensure that at least one harddrive is used significantly less than the other.
  8. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,443   +1,415

    1- *IF* you implement RAID-1 ...

    2- AND you have the hotswap feature (meaning a SCSI controller, not the MOBO version for IDE), -- you could do this

    3- it's still not a backup strategy
  9. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Topic Starter Posts: 3,415   +145

    Those are pretty big ifs..........
    and thats sorta why i posted this thread.
  10. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,443   +1,415

    not really. those are the requirements to enable/disable part of a mirror and take it
    offline SUCCESSFULLY.

    the hotswap feature will (of necessity) also include bring the drive into sync with the
    other dirve of the mirror.

    w/o hotswap, guess what? you need a backup to restore the mirror.
  11. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Topic Starter Posts: 3,415   +145

    ok so raid is ALMOST useless for data protection or back up, i probably won't raid anyway.

    So... do you think i should use backup software?

    I think all i will be backing up is probably just my OS's because i don't exactly have anything else. I want to backup my OS just because i have alot of data and modifications on my OS's and it would be a MAJOR pain to get it back, especially since i have to record of exactly what i did.

    Thats sorta complicated. Just know that i have only select parts of my harddrive to backup, its easier this way lol.

    Were do you think i should put my backup files?
  12. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,443   +1,415

    frankly, I feel this is the only reasonable choice for home users :)
    that's a google search issue; I would re-read https://www.techspot.com/vb/topic54667.html#2 and then search for software that
    can perform differential backups :)
    If you're a developer -- I guess so. Normally, recovering from a crashed HD starts with an OS reinstall (not a backup-restore).
    there are some well known locations:
    \documents & settings\your-login-id\ has your user DATA
    \windows has the OS itself (but you also need the files in C:\ )
    the registry is inside \windows\system32\config

    CD/RW or DVD/RW
  13. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Topic Starter Posts: 3,415   +145

    ok well yes i do have backup software that supports windows OS and manual and stuff.

    Well...ok can't i just reinstall the original OS first then perform a complete backup?

    Are a couple DVD's enough?!?! anyway don't cds sorta stop working after a while?
  14. tweakboy

    tweakboy TS Guru Posts: 467

    LOL, Ive read soo much about RAID and how it works and what Leo Laporte the king of all gurus thinks about it, and the bottom line is. It does absolutely nothing. I don't want to get into detail but. Your better of with drives not chained and daisy linked. Im 30 now and @ 17 went to MT. Sierra College and got Novell certification and was tutor and built up resume in short period of time and worked for such companies and Country Wide , and Sun America , Gas Company ,, here in Los Angeles. Anyhow I wan't to help this guy as I know just about 98 percent of people are concerned with this, as soo am I being a musician composer.

    You use drive C as your OS and apps, and your other drive, external not recommend as they lose data over time and copy over your documents folder which contains everything if you were smart and put your music and docs and videos and stuff in there. Then you can copy over your bookmarks or file depending on what OS you use Firefox or Internet Explorer. Also you go deep into your folders you can find your OE address book or whatever client. Copy all that over in your other drive.

    Also make your net cache go into the other drive as you keep C clean for OS and apps. Something like this if Im making any sense. However back to the question @ hand.

    The best source for backup, after all u read above is a NON movable device.

    Meaning NOT hds and not external their the worst. You need it on a media, either a flash drive, Wait for the 64GB version and DVD , However you must not scratch that DVD and keep it in a case and take care of it. It is a non movable media and therefore will last your entire life time. BTW We also did HDDS business with my old man, hard drive data savers,, Soo I sorta know what Im saying LOLz ,,

    Burn it on DVD , and put it on a flash drive that you dont carry with you. If it drops your a dead man, soo once again as you took care of your DVD and put it in a case and left it alone, same thing with flash drive. Be gentle... GL, and youll never have problems no will anyone else here! thank you and God Bless !!!
  15. drjulian

    drjulian TS Rookie Posts: 39

    The CHEAPEST (but slowest) way to backup is burn cd/dvd's.,but easiest is another hard drive (internal or external) It depends on 1. What computer? 2.What OS? 3. How much are you backing up? Prices are falling tremendously! I bought 320gb external thru Best Buy in Dec. $95 tax incl. Check Tiger,Newegg. Good Luck! DJ
  16. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,443   +1,415

    Yes, first reinstall the OS and then restore the DATA portion from one of the backups. I'm a doubting
    Thomas that one can restore the OS portion correctly.
    First, you need to boot from alternative media (say a CD) and run the restore
    from there. Note the conflict ont CD; needed for boot and then needed for backup data.
    After that's solved, here's the kicker; those darn GUIDs for the components all over the
    registry. Personally, I fear the restore over \windows would just corrupt everything.
    I'll open another thread on the subject and post the ID back to you for review.

    CDs and DVDs are far better that flash drives and have a theoretical
    life time of forever. I backup to an external USB HD and it's been very faithful.
  17. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,186   +3,484

    Ad Nauseum....... (or) Forward into Oblivion.....

    First, flash drives fail frequently, personally I wouldn't even consider one for long term storage.

    Second, magnetic storage (such as HDDs, video & audio tape) can be affected by magnetic fields. I guess it's a little absurd, but make sure you don't run the vacuum cleaner next to your backup HDD. It was claimed that video tape was prone to "self erasure", but VHS looked so bad in the first place, how could you tell.

    Photographers tend to suffer from paranoid delusions of creating s*** that is worth preserving for a thousand years or more. To that end, these DVDs have been created: http://www.delkin.com/shop/home.php?cat=62

    So, should you want to view a photo of Granny in her coffin, those Gold DVD thingys would positively be the way to go.

    One caveat; put a DVD player in your time capsule since you might not be able to buy one in 50 years. Well, you almost certainly won't be able to buy one.

    New Years Resolution to self; Stop asking stupid questions about backup software that stores the "backup copy" on the same HDD. Any back-up solution needs to be stored out of, and away from the machine in question. Anything less is tantamount to throwing your money away, or allowing a software manufacturer to steal it from you.
  18. ravisunny2

    ravisunny2 TS Ambassador Posts: 1,022   +9

    Excellent resolution, Captain !
  19. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,443   +1,415

    yes, no, maybe. Recall "There's no such thing as a dumb question, just dumb answers"

    This is the jaundice view problem of the teacher / expert; it's far too easy to loose
    the appreciation for the naive user who as not the same level of experience.
    If the student can't ask questions openly without reprisals, then learning will soon

    (this happened in a calculus class of 30; by midterm there were only 20 of us left
    and fewer that a dozen got passing grades on the finals.)
  20. NetCablesPlus

    NetCablesPlus TS Maniac Posts: 207

    I use an external hard drive with Norton Ghost to back up my online business. I was told that this would allow me to quickly get back up and running should my main PC's drive ever fail and I needed to buy a new PC with nothing on it. Have not had to use it yet, but it seems like a good solution (unless the external hard drive also fails...)
  21. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,186   +3,484

    I Thought I Heard the Class Bell Ring...

    In this case, the original poster was serially asking vaguely related questions, about RAID, different RPM harddrives, software backup strategies, and on, seeming to be quite interested in perpetuating the discussion ad infinitum.
    The truth is here that this isn't a calculus class, and even if it were the student is responsible for class materials, and then there is the homework..

    That suggestion of self study, when offered as as hint, didn't seem to have much impact. If the point of opening a thread is "I want to know everything there is to know about harddrives and backup strategies without ever attempting to to undertake any individual effort for acquiring the necessary information other than generating a series of questions that would require the people on this forum to write what is essentially a textbook on the subject, then so be it! Let's write one, and link it everytime the subject comes up, the same as Tedster does with memory (RAM) questions, without further comment.

    I'll stick with my earlier assessment of what is actually plausible backup, and reiterate my earlier opinion that software that backs up files to the same mechanical device as the original is utter nonsense. Furthermore, any strategy that leaves the files anywhere the near the machine in question are foolhardy as well.
    And yes, that includes my own current method of storing all files on a separate, discreet, volume drive (instead of the system HDD) , but I do do it across 2 or more machines, which somewhat alleviates the apprehension.

    Now, flash drives can fail.
    Magnetic storage devices can be affected by exposure to magnetism
    Gold is one of the least chemically reactive elements that exist. (Hence the Gold DVD suggestion).
    If your house is burning down, (obviously that's a God forbid, (but sadly tragedies like that can and do happen)), would anybody actually rush back inside to save the external hard drive? If you can honestly say yes, then you're good to go. If not, that idea stinks too.
    Now I have seen fire, flood and Katrina victims, and they really seem to hurt over loosing their memories in the form of photos and such. The quote that is most often repeated goes somethine like this "We lost everything, the house can be replaced, but our photos and memories can't". This as the Emachine is floating down the gutter. Have a nice day.
  22. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Topic Starter Posts: 3,415   +145

    I still don't exactly get why everyone is so worried about restoring an OS.
    Taking a perfect snapshot of something, then putting it back on you HDD should work fine shouldn't it?

    you a musician composer?! you should compose halo music!!!! halo music is the best LOL

    yes norton ghost or one of the nortons take a snapshot image or whatever... why wouldn't it restor an OS??

    i don't think i will be putting a backup on the same hdd...
    Still i gues i know how to backup, im still worried about were to back it up.
    Gold DVDs??!! LOL nope they're too expensive lol.

    Would storing the backup on another internal drive, then removing the internal drive and storing it safely work?

    I've seen 50 people leave a class in on the first term LOL!! (that teacher sucked really bad.)

    Emachine LOL
    anyway, so you want me to use Gold DVD's??
    I would never store it on a flash drive.
    ok... magnets can be harmfull to your storage, but in a "safe place" they shouldn't lose any data just sitting there right?
    If my house is burning down?!?!! well........ that would suck... but their isn't much i can do about it, other than online storage (unfeasible i think) or giving my friends all copies of my hdd lol.
  23. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,186   +3,484

  24. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Topic Starter Posts: 3,415   +145

    I don't like external harddrives, i still think that internal hdds are reliable enough for me to simply back everything up on one and put it away somewere. Besides, i might be too lazy to back everything up AND split it up into smaller chunks AND burn them all on DVD's.
  25. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,443   +1,415

    Well for one, I passed the course.

    For two, there's a lot of people that make massive assumptions, especially where big hype exists (oh boy I gota show I know this stuff too), and

    third, I have yet to see any valid reason for any post on this site to be fussing with
    raid, when the systems are home users and not servers. Then they try using the
    onboard chip and expect real raid benefits.

    Btw; I'll not bore you with my resume but just say I've been down this road for 37years.

    >>But, anything mechanical with little teensy tiny, little bits of magnetism holding all that you are, should not be taken all that seriously

    Hum; I guess those folks at IBM have been wrong for over six decades now.
    Backups have been on 2400 ft tapes and secondary HDs.

    Let's agree to flame each other using Private Messages .. that way the original thread will still have some meaningful content.
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