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What is the best way to backup data?

By DonNagual · 7 replies
Mar 3, 2006
  1. I have one 250Gb hard drive, with extremely valuable data.

    Up until now, my means of backing up has been to use Nero backup and crunch my data onto a DVD once every..... few weeks? Whenever I remember.

    What would you all recommend for me to do. Should I get another 250Gb and back it up onto there? Should I set up a raid? If so, what is the best raid to use for my needs? Should I forget a second hard drive, and get some type of backup tape drive or something?

    I just want some type of system where my data is getting backed up everyday automatically so I don't have to be worried about it.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    What do you want to back up? The whole disk contents or some critical data? What do you want to safeguard against? Hardware failure or user error or both?

    The best method with a hard drive would be a daily automatic backup to some media in another computer. E.g. you make an FTP connection, send your data and disconnect every night.

    Since the backup media is never visible as a filesystem, you are protected from a user error (someone selecting the wrong folder and deleting it) and malware (a virus would never get a chance to delete anything). And since the media is physically located in another computer, no hardware or OS failure can wipe out your data.

    Write-once media like DVD-R is a pretty good choice too - unless your computer catches fire, the backed up data cannot be destroyed. The usability of this depends on the amount of data you want to back up of course. If you have to change the disc after every session, then it can hardly be called automatic. And you'd need some specialised software that could do the backup all by itself..
  3. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 2,406

    Thanks Nodsu!

    I am interested in the FTP backup you mention. Do you have any more info on this? I.e., how to set it up, how to use it etc.

    I don't need to back up my entire hard drive, just about 4-6Gb of critical data that would really hurt if I lost for ANY reason.

    I like your idea of having it on a completely separate computer.

    What I will probably want to do then is get a second HDD, and do auto backups to there daily, plus some type of FTP (I assume this is manual) backup that I'll do as often as I remember.

    Much appreciated!
  4. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 2,406

    I have done a bit more "looking into" the FTP idea and I think it'll work for me. I have 10Gb free on my server so I'll start FTPing some data every once and a while.

    It looks like I do a normal backup as I usually do, then use some FTP software to create a backup folder on my server and upload the backup file there. Sound about right? I am assuming that there is no way to automate this process, and it must be done manually.

    Which means I just need to set up the auto-backups (as I don't trust myself enough to rely on manual backups). I am leaning towards using Nero and getting a second HDD strictly for backups.
  5. lukeyu

    lukeyu TS Rookie

    This article learns to keep your computer and personal data more secure.

    There are many ways you can unintentionally lose information on a computer. A child playing the keyboard like a piano, a power surge, lightning, floods. And sometimes equipment just fails.

    If you regularly make backup copies of your files and keep them in a separate place, you can get some, if not all, of your information back in the event something happens to the originals on your computer.

    Deciding what to back up is highly personal. Anything you cannot replace easily should be at the top of your list. Before you get started, make a checklist of files to back up. This will help you determine what to back up, and also give you a reference list in the event you need to retrieve a backed-up file. Here are some file suggestions to get you started:

    Bank records and other financial information
    Digital photographs
    Software you purchased and downloaded from the Internet
    Music you purchased and downloaded from the Internet
    Personal projects
    Your e-mail address book
    Your Microsoft Outlook calendar
    Your Internet Explorer bookmarks

    If you haven't already decided where you want to store your backup copies external hard disk drive, CDs, DVDs, or some other storage format and you want to know more about your options, you can read about the types of external storage available.

    There are many ways to minimize loss of data:
    Periodically backup your data onto some other media such as hard disk drive, CD/DVD disc, ZIP disk, streamer tape, floppy disk and so on; (Occasionally check backups to see if they can be restored.)
    Backup your system partition using a partition backup program (Such as: Partition Table Doctor, Super Fdisk);
    Don't save your data on the same partition where your operating system and programs are installed - it will be much easier to restore/reinstall operating system without touching your data;
    Use NTFS/NTFS5 file system instead of FAT16/32 if your operating system is windows NT4/XP/.NET;
    Use a reliable RAID;
    Use an antiviral protection;
    Use a firewall to protect your data from unwanted access from the Internet or network;
    Use quality hardware: motherboard, memory, hard disk controller, hard disk cable, hard disk drive, power supply. Do not over-clock the hardware;
    Never switch off your computer with the operating system loaded by using the power button or reset button;
    Don't forget, you will not be able to read your data after you change your password or reinstall/upgrade operating system.

    Data Backup:
    The primary rule is to backup your data. The more often you backup your data, the smaller the chances you will lose your valuable data.
    The following are examples of data backup techniques:
    Copy your data to another partition of the same hard drive (less secure, because you can lose both copies due to a of a hard drive crash);
    Copy your data to another hard drive in the same computer (more secure, but you still can lose both copies due to a of the computer crash);
    Copy your data to another computer (secure enough, but there is still a possibility to lose your data when both computers are in the same room);
    Copy your data to removable media, such as removable hard drive, CD/DVD disc, ZIP disk (s), streamer tape, floppy disk and so on. This media, once removed from your computer, will give you the most security. (Check backups to ensure they can be restored)

    see more:
  6. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    I always recommend having 2 hard disk drives. If you have crucial information, backup to a separate hard disk. In the event of a total failure, you can remove that hard disk, plug in an IDE/usb adapter and treat that hard disk as an external drive. (assuming it's an IDE drive.)

    even better is also sending crucial info to another computer.
  7. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 2,406

    Agreed. I just ordered a seagate 80Gb that I'll use strictly for backups. I'll tell Nero to do it everyday automatically for me so I don't have to worry about it.

    I am also going to take Nodsu's advice and do an FTP backup to my server once a week or so just for that extra backup.
  8. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    The Windows builtin command line ftp client supports scripting. Just run "ftp -s:scriptfile" where scriptfile contains the commands that you want to perform.
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