What data backup method do you use?

By Squiggly1 ยท 16 replies
Apr 13, 2009
  1. What data backup / migration methods do you use for sure fire transfer success and transfer speed? Am I on the right track with my methods below?

    When I want to backup data (from a computer that won't boot) I use a USB to SATA adapter to physically connect the failing computer's HD to a secondary computer, saving the data to an external USB drive. I use Ubuntu so that the transfer doesn't get stopped or aborted due to permissions, etc. When backing up a LOT of data I instead connect the drive as a slave (rather than with the USB to SATA adapter).

    I recently re-migrated my backed up data (from my USB drive) into a new computer running Windows but the transfer kept getting aborted due the fact that some file names were too long (a Windows bug). I tried running Ubuntu on the new computer but it could not access the USB drive at all. Locked! My only recourse was to use the XCOPY command, which ignores long file names. In conclusion I'm thinking that the fastest, most sure fire way to transfer files back is to 1) do my back up to an INTERNAL drive rather than a USB drive, then 2 ) connect that internal drive as a slave to the new machine then use the XCOPY command to do the transfer.
  2. mscrx

    mscrx TS Rookie Posts: 310

    in windows you should try robust copy (robocopy) which has lots of options, plus logging.
    we use a batch file to backup data using robocopy and it is indeed one of our most reliable tools.
  3. Squiggly1

    Squiggly1 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 44

    Thanks for the tip. Looks like RIchCopy is an improved version of RoboCopy, and it can among other things preserve time and date stamps. Not sure if either of these work on WIndows XP. I hope. The article says it's a standard feature on Vista and Server 2008.

    It says on Wikipedia that "Robocopy doesn't reliably copy short filenames". What's that all about? How short before it fails to copy? One letter file names? Two letter file names?
  4. mscrx

    mscrx TS Rookie Posts: 310

    too lazy to look at wiki now but I can tell that robocopy works perferctly inside the "windows borders". never had a too short file or file name?! whatever that means...
    if a file name is very very long and the path to the file is also very long it can be diffcult but that is the same with every other tool because of the (file)path length - not sure but I think 250 chars.
    robocopy works for us in windows xp and we also had it running with windows 2000. there are different versions from a resource kit for xp up to vista and win7 version.
    they all can deal with time stamps and alot of other things. I will try to have a look at richcopy as well. never heared of it but who knows. thanks for the hint
  5. Squiggly1

    Squiggly1 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 44

    What do you mean by that? Do you mean a file that sits deep inside folder after folder after folder?

    Example: C:\Windows\User\Settings\preferences\Joe\MyStuff\MP3\Rock\Metal\convert.mp3

    And does RoboCopy at least tell you which files failed to copy so that you can manually try to copy them?
  6. mscrx

    mscrx TS Rookie Posts: 310

    yes, but even longer...
    sometimes users name folders and/or file with the full decription of the items or their specs inside the file... stupid but they say they can find the right file more easy then :)

    robocopy does a complete logging of everything it does even errors
  7. Squiggly1

    Squiggly1 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 44

    RoboCopy and RichCopy seem deep and complicated with all of the options on these tabs. Looks like I will have to dig into reading the manual to figure out what all of these settings are. I wonder if it's worth it though because I like the "ease" of my method. Ubuntu ignores folder permissions, encrypted files and "read only" attributes that would otherwise halt a copy and paste data rescue off of a failing HD. Then later, migrating from my backup drive to a new computer or newly formatted drive, the command prompt data transfer method was unaffected by long file names that would otherwise halt the transfer. What else is there that might halt either an Ubuntu transfer or a command prompt data transfer besides administrator folder permissions, read only attributes, long files names, and long paths? If you can think of anything let me know. I'd like to do some testing.
  8. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Usually I just copy the important files/directories manually to a nfs server, burn them to DVD+RW/BD-RE, or to external hdd.

    I have a backup application too (Acronis TrueImage) but I don't use it very often. I tested backing up the whole Windows partition to BD-RE disc, making a bootable disc with Acronis utilities to restore, but naturally it didn't work. It refused to detect my RAID setup, treating the drives as individual ones, so I couldn't restore the OS.
  9. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    So it ignores them - doesn't copy?
  10. Squiggly1

    Squiggly1 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 44

    Oh it copies the files alright. No problem! By "ignore" I meant that it ignores what would otherwise halt the copying process using basic Windows copy and paste. The error message might be something like "Unable to copy. You do not have permission to access this file". While Ubuntu copies encrypted files and files with administrator privileges and such, I believe Ubuntu also effectively "cleanses" attributes like administrator privileges and encryption. So these attributes are lost. Let your customers beware of this. Of course if you can't recover their system drive and have to reformat it, they will have to reconfigure all of their permissions anyway.
  11. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,128   +982

    for a single user system (ie: where only you have a login), copy w/o NTFS acls might be acceptable.

    If however, you administer a multi-user system (or a sever) and are performing
    backups for everyone,
    (say from the XP \Documents and Settings or the Vista \Users),​
    then you really ought to capture the ACLs.

    if you take your backups as-is and restore them to a multi-user environment,
    you've allowed Joe, Doe, and Mary to have access to anyone's data.

    btw: I've done this myself ... backup to an old FAT32 Win/98se system w/o NTFS. :rolleyes:
  12. Row1

    Row1 TS Guru Posts: 343   +13

    too-long file names: use a java file manager

    i went thru this headache, and eventually figured out the answer. i was helping my father back up data. he was saving web pages with their entire names, and was saving tem deep within a file structure with many levels of sub-folders.

    the character limit is around 256 - i have seen other numbers: 211, etc.

    i will tell you that i am not going to sit there and count the characters.

    you can google to find a java-based file backup or copy program.

    i had used "cancopy" but they have disappeared from the web.

    i just used AKGBackup. Worked fine.

    These can totally be run in windows environment - no need to go to ubuntu.
  13. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    I have not read all of this thread...

    My answer though, is do not back up everything, you don't need to. You DO need to back up what you think is important though, and for 95% of us that means documents we make in an Office app, our emails, contacts, and well thats about it.

    Back that up then!, really, its not hard, you don't need another program to help you, everything is right there in front of you. just make a 2nd copy of it somewhere else, like that usb stick!

    Seriously. There is no reason at all anyone anymore should lose any data! It is so easy and so in front of everyone to copy something.

    I get so frustrated seeing people complain about losing data on TS. There is no reason to lose data at all, there is every oppertunity possible in front of you to make a copy of it, just make a copy!
  14. Row1

    Row1 TS Guru Posts: 343   +13

    sng - good point

    i agree with sng.

    just copy and paste the files you want to save.

    set up your directories to do this.

    I have all data except "media" in one file, and "media" (for me, family pics, mp3s, and a couple videos) in another file.

    I have a second drive installed inside the computer. Makes it very easy. if the comp dies, you just pull out the 2nd drive and stick it in another computer.

    I am also using an external drive, in case the whole computer burned up.

    if i am in the middle of some big project, or when a hurricane is coming, I just email my few recent critical files (personal finance info, phone number list, etc.) to my web-based email.
  15. Squiggly1

    Squiggly1 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 44

    I just tested using an Ubuntu LIVE CD to copy folders off a HD and actually it only cuts through user permissions including administrator folders. It won't copy encrypted folders. It may not copy "read only" files. I'm not sure. I got an error message on a read only folder, but it also happened to be in an encrypted folder.
  16. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Try the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows to help backup your important data. The link also includes help installing Windows clean :)

    Security Permission issue http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/networking/security/permissions.mspx

    Right click the folder you want to open and choose Properties>Security. Make sure their is a group named "Everyone". If not click Add>Advanced>"Find Now" and choose everyone. Click OK and you should no longer get those nasty Access Denied messages. (refer to the above link to allow specifically your user account to access the old Hard Drive folders)

    Note: in Windows Xp Home, the "Security" menu will not show. Just start your computer in Safe Mode (continuously press F8 function key on computer Startup then select Safe Mode)
    Also confirm that you are running an Administrator privileged account. (Check Users in Control Panel)
  17. Squiggly1

    Squiggly1 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 44

    I am looking to see if there's a way to "rescue" data off of a drive that won't boot and must be reformatted.

    This article claims that there isn't a way to recover encrypted folders off a non-bootable drive. http://ask-leo.com/how_can_i_recover_files_encrypted_with_windows_filesystem_encryption.html

    Yet one poster claims that it CAN be done.
    "There is a method that you did not even suggest and it is so simple that you would freak. True security on any computer is very difficult too acheive (not imposible) You can talk to the security experts to find out how simple it is."
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