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Back-ups

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Posted 21-11-09 at 02:05 PM by Patrick

Dennis's reply to my blog on Windows 7 has in my mind highlighted the need to regularly back-up your data. The importance of this cannot be understated.
I know many people that trust their computers so much they have no back-up regime in place, others back-up data but not their system, not realizing there is still much than can be lost within a system crash.
I can relate my own regime, you may prefer another way, but whatever you do back everything up.
All my machines a PC, Laptop and Net-book have two separate partitions or H/D, C; the OS & programs the D: drive in each case contains data only, in the case of the PC images, the laptop Business, as with the Net-book.
I use a home server with a Raid array of 4 500gig H/D giving me 1.5 gig of storage space. more information an Raid look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID in simplistic terms and that's as far as my knowledge goes, my back-up info is protected, in that if anyone one of the 4 H/D fails my data still remains safe and can continue to access everything, even with one broken drive until a replacement H/D is fitted.
This server contains a back-up of all my images stored on the computer. Every time I add new images to the computer a back-up is preformed. I use Goodsync www.goodsync.com for this back-up a Free application, if used all the time a small charge may be ask for. The advantage of this software and others of the same type, once a back-up is made it simply updates any changes made to individual or new loaded files, on subsequent back-ups.

The second back-up system I have is via a external H/D, my PC. Laptop and Net-book C: drives are backed-up here, in the case of the Laptop & Net-book also the data. For this I use a compressed method using Seagate DiskWizard www.seagate.com a free application, an upgrade is available at a charge for extra features, but I find it does all I want as it is.
These back-ups are done at regular intervals preferably once a week. Windows 7 & has built in backup facilities that can be set to back-up automatically at scheduled times.
With compressed back-ups it is worth noting the software that makes the back-up is the software needed to restore, they all have their own file formats.
My set up using a server is possibly too expensive for many, although there are NAS drives at around 100 out there which will do a good job for you. External H/D are cheap I just bought a Iomega Terabyte at PC world for 65.
If this is not convenient financially at the moment there is always DVD storage, much slower to do and restore but still very effective.

Some of you may think what a lot of trouble to go to, and think I have never had a H/D failure or lost data through corruption or by mistake, I can't be bothered. Well if it hasn't it will one day so be prepared. If its valued family photo's or important information you wont regret going to all the trouble.

Patrick
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Comments

  1. Old Comment

    Backups & Windows 7 Clean Install

    Patrick - Thanks for info on backups.
    So does Windows 7 give you the two options when installing 1) Upgrade or 2) Clean Install. ?
    Posted 21-11-09 at 03:46 PM by DennisP DennisP is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Stephen's Avatar
    Patrick, you seem to have your backup system pretty well sorted, and its much better than my own.

    The Mac OS has a built in backup system called Time Machine. It will backup automatically or manually to an external drive, and in my case a 500GB "Time Capsule" which doubles as a router. It is possible to either recover the whole contents of the HD or an individual file from any backup point. When the Time Capsule fills up it automatically deletes the oldest backup.

    I also have several external HDs, but what always worries me is what happens if there was a fire and everything was destroyed, or even if I was burgled etc. It seems the only rock solid solution if off site backups, and this may well be an internet based solution. At $55 a year Carbonite maybe an attractive proposition.
    Posted 21-11-09 at 05:33 PM by Stephen Stephen is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Patrick's Avatar
    First to Answer Dennis, if its EX you are upgrading, there is no option but a clean install, if Vista you can upgrade.
    On my PC I did a clean install mainly because I loaded 64 bit Windows 7 and if you are upgrading from 32 bit again you can only clean install unless you are already running Vista 64 bit. If your machine supports 64 bit it runs noticeably faster. Programs written for 32 bit can usually run under 64, many have 64 bit versions and your serial keys numbers should work with them. I noticed Photoshop installed both its 32 & 64 versions, I had to uninstall it and re-install again making sure I only selected 64 bit.
    The disk gives you the necessary info. Upgrading from Vista is done from within the OS. Clean installs you have to boot from the DVD disk and follow the instructions. It will be necessary at boot up to press F2 or F12 to boot your machine from CD/DVD.

    Now Stephen, I have looked at the site you indicate and it sounds excellent value for money and well worth considering for off site back-ups. I may very well invest, but would still keep my onsite back-ups for convenience.

    Patrick
    Posted 21-11-09 at 07:00 PM by Patrick Patrick is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Ian's Avatar
    The big problem with online backup is the speed of recovery. My laptop has a 250GB hard disk. It's 70% full. So that's about 200GB of data. Even with a transfer rate of 1MB/second, it's going to take three days to download your backup and you'll probably incur the wrath of your ISP. I notice that Carbonite's website says: "As a practical matter, however, the speed of today's DSL and cable internet services will make it very slow to back up more than, say, a few dozen GB of data." That's pretty much useless, to me. The strategy we depend on here is to have copies of the backups at two different physical locations (home and the office).
    Posted 21-11-09 at 08:08 PM by Ian Ian is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Stephen's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ian View Comment
    The big problem with online backup is the speed of recovery. My laptop has a 250GB hard disk. It's 70% full. So that's about 200GB of data. Even with a transfer rate of 1MB/second, it's going to take three days to download your backup and you'll probably incur the wrath of your ISP. I notice that Carbonite's website says: "As a practical matter, however, the speed of today's DSL and cable internet services will make it very slow to back up more than, say, a few dozen GB of data." That's pretty much useless, to me. The strategy we depend on here is to have copies of the backups at two different physical locations (home and the office).
    I'm glad you mentioned download speeds Ian, because its something that I have been thinking about myself. Upload speeds are much much slower than uploads, so that is going to take some time too especially when it only uploads when you are not working
    Posted 21-11-09 at 08:44 PM by Stephen Stephen is offline
  6. Old Comment
    Stephen's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ian View Comment
    The strategy we depend on here is to have copies of the backups at two different physical locations (home and the office).
    This of course is not something that most people can do. I work from home and it would be impractical to have off site backups. (I think) Though if you are going to insure against theft or fire, it seems the safest thing. Mechanical breakdown is more easily sorted and Patrick seems to have a great solution here.
    Posted 21-11-09 at 09:10 PM by Stephen Stephen is offline
 

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