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linw
03-07-2009, 05:46 PM
What do you reckon is a good solution for the typical (basic) home user to ensure they don't lose their images, docs and email etc? In my view, these are important characteristics:-
- must be reliable
- automated
- cheap!
- be able to produce multiple file versions (grandfather, father, son)
- be portable so copies can be stored off-site

It sounds easy till you really start to think about it. Like, if it was easy, why isn't it being done more often?

What media? CD? USB drive? Flash or HDD? Will the USB port keep the same drive letter?

Software may not be the main problem. Sync s'ware or something like Karen's Replicator.

But a really big problem is that a backup that is not being monitored and checked very regularly is very likely to be useless when it is needed!

And, if you don't think this is important, talk to a local here who has just had his computer stolen, complete with four years of text and images for a book he is (was?) writing. Of course, our irreplaceable images are on the HDD, too.

So, resident experts, is this still just too hard? Anyone had success with a good solution?

(Now I have read this, perhaps it is still too hard!! And too long!).

Sounds like there could be a commercial opening for someone?

What say you?

Speedy Gonzales
03-07-2009, 06:02 PM
The USB flash drive here uses Jetflash elite 2.0. Havent tried it yet, but it looks like it'll backup anything in OL / Mail / whatever email client, whatever under documents, favourites from whatever browser. What else do you need? It'll also lock a pc, and you can also password protect it. I suppose just in case you lose it. I wouldnt bother with either cdrw or dvdrw. Or waste money using cdr's or dvdr's. The files on these PC's wouldnt be big enough to fill a cd or dvd.

Other than that I just put what I need either on a spare hdd or partition, or copy of whatever on another hdd on another pc.

Shouldnt matter if the letter for a USB flash drive changes, it'll still work. It depends if you reformat / or add something extra like a card reader. Which may use the letter (that a flash USB drive used). I can burn MP3's / songs to cd or DVD. Likewise for photos.

sroby
03-07-2009, 06:04 PM
USB Hardive.
XXcopy batch file : use scheduler to run it (or syncback/karens)
"Manage Computer" (right click my computor) & force USB drive to be U: ==very important.

depending on personal paranoia (or valueable data)
-offsite backups; have 2 usb dives, keep one offsite in case of total disaster
If pc's get stolen, burnt up, so will a backup HD.
Total PC failure could also fry a USB HD if connected at the time

**DO NOT USE NORMAL XCOPY, it has a known bug where the copy can sometimes stop without any warning or error message.

A rare XP bug may stop the USB drive being assigned a letter in some circumstances (eg. network share using that letter, ie F:)
Always force a drive letter that would never otherwise be used.

Dont trust USB flash drives for data critical backups. Ive seen too many die (or have an occasional write fail-often from operator error)

Blam
03-07-2009, 06:09 PM
Usually what I do is give the customer an 8gb flash drive for $40 then stick portable toucan on it. I've set toucan to run as soon as its plugged in and also weekly.

Incremental updates take 20-30 seconds at most.

I've only had one customer want backups before, so thats what I've set them up with

What I could also set up is to auto emailing the copy logfiles to me, that way I could ring up the customer if the backup was failing etc. But there would be a confedentiality issue I guess.

Blam

gary67
03-07-2009, 06:35 PM
See my thread (http://pressf1.pcworld.co.nz/showthread.php?t=101125) from yesterday I have just set up my spare pc running XP home with it's third HDD and am in the process of setting up weekly full backups using true image to it and also daily incremental backups daily, unfortunately offsite backups are not really possible for us as I work in the building trade and SWMBO doesn't work

Poppa John
03-07-2009, 10:27 PM
Usually what I do is give the customer an 8gb flash drive for $40 then stick portable toucan on it. I've set toucan to run as soon as its plugged in and also weekly.

Incremental updates take 20-30 seconds at most.

I've only had one customer want backups before, so thats what I've set them up with

What I could also set up is to auto emailing the copy logfiles to me, that way I could ring up the customer if the backup was failing etc. But there would be a confedentiality issue I guess.

Blam

An 8GB wouldn't take everything on a drive! So one would have to be very selective & highly compressed, Yes? PJ

Blam
03-07-2009, 10:32 PM
This is data only.

For any more than 8gb I give them a set of DVD+RW

Poppa John
03-07-2009, 10:39 PM
This is data only.

For any more than 8gb I give them a set of DVD+RW



Blam

There is a strong opinion on this forum that DVD+RW are not to be used. PJ

Blam
03-07-2009, 10:43 PM
Blam

There is a strong opinion on this forum that DVD+RW are not to be used. PJ

Better than nothing!

I could give them a 16gb flash drive instead. OR a big external HD

Poppa John
03-07-2009, 10:53 PM
Better than nothing!

I could give them a 16gb flash drive instead. OR a big external HD

I thought they were a good idea as well. Backup a set , & next month backup another. Wipe the first set & all ready for next month.

However on my last attempt it all turned to custard & I had no end of trouble which has still not been fully resolved.

I am well overdue to backup again as this computer is behaving strangely. But I hav no confidence in my ability to do one.

What is your opinion of the inbuilt XP Home one?. PJ

Sweep
03-07-2009, 11:14 PM
You can use Windows backup with caveats.

I remember upgrading my O/S at one time and had a full backup from the previous O/S.

So did the format and clean install only to discover that I could not restore the data as Microsoft had changed the format. So re-install the previous O/S and restore data. Then use a different application to backup data and clean install the new O/S again then install the application I used for backup and restore the backup. All OK but just took extra time.

Then you can also have problems with third party solutions like Nero that worked under one O/S but was not compatible with the next O/S.

Oh. Blam6 will give you a drive so you do not need to pay for it anyway. Or maybe he sells the storage for backup. I do not know.

wainuitech
03-07-2009, 11:50 PM
I've lost count of the number of These external Drives (http://www.ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=372130) I have sold as backup devices, they come in an array of various sizes, have their own backup software, or you can use third party software, such as sysnctoy, handy Backup (http://www.handybackup.com/) or Numerous other backup software.


I often advise to use handy Back up as a daily option, simply because unlike many other backup software programs, it DOESN'T back the data up in its own format, meaning it does have the options to compress in a zipped file with different compression ratios, AND if you only want to extract 1 file you can, as well as the files can be read on any other PC. Handy Backup also has plugins to do email as well.

One Company/office I service here in Wainui - they have 7 PC's doing daily document backups over the LAN to one of the above drives connected to the reception PC. Handy backup is on the reception PC, and grabs the data from the other 6 PC's at 4.00PM. Its set to auto remove after a week, 1 day at a time.

At the end of the day the receptionist simply unplugs the drive and takes it home (off site) plugs it back in the following day.

linw
04-07-2009, 10:57 AM
Thanks, all, for your thoughtful replies. The consensus seems to be that ext HDD is the way to go over CD/DVD/flash drive and I am inclined that way myself but still have an open mind on this.

WT, the 2.5" drives certainly win from a portability point of view. Ideal in the office situation you describe. I also have a site with about 11 PCs in two rooms that could well look at your solution. I will download a trial of Handy Backup and have a good look at it.

blam, will also look up that toucan sware you mentioned. Only one client asked for backup - that's the problem, isn't it! This is the problem/solution I am trying to address.

There is clearly more than one way of skinning this cat so I will keep working on it!

Cheers and thanks again for input.

Tuneznz
04-07-2009, 06:36 PM
Recently at my college the server's hdd had a meltdown, the main teacher file database (10 HDD's in raid 0) had 2 HDD collapse on them, the first back up system then kicked in and 3 HDD died, the second system hopped in and it too died with 4 HDD's giving way. A lot of work was lost, some upto 15 years of work, All where told don't worry about loosing your data, its safe we have 2 backups.

The problem, over each array they had mixed batch's of hdd's and on the 1st and 2nd backup they to held 3 different batch's of hdd's, so the issue was because of the mix of batch's of hdd's, so all of the batch 0's (assumed name) hdd dropped out at the same time (systematic/over use error) and instead of keeping individual batch's to each array and having a second and third batch of hdd's for the 2 backup array's like they should have.

Issue could have been solved by having a daily backup to a external data server with GOOD backup raid 1 set up.

berryb
04-07-2009, 11:55 PM
Never Never rely on all eggs in one basket!

It's not a backup when the data doesn't leave the server hardware.

wainuitech
05-07-2009, 12:20 AM
Thats one VERY important rule about backups - no good if they dont work. ALWAYS have them on another source.

What you really need to do is regularly test them to make sure they do.

Heres a Question:

Every one here that does backups --- When was the last time they were tested ?

I'll be the first -- Tested 3 days ago.

Tuneznz
05-07-2009, 02:27 AM
I personally run a very tight ship with my computer, I have currently 50 or so gb of free space all the data I hold is incumbent and I would be angry if i was to loose it, but i hold most if not all of my installs on a second drive in my computer, and the music is backed up.

gary67
05-07-2009, 10:11 AM
2 months ago when I had trouble removing win 7 from this machine, I know that backup worked just fine

linw
05-07-2009, 10:55 AM
But we don't want to REALLY test our backups in case they put trash over our currently working systems!!

It needs a degree of sophistication to test backups that can't threaten current data. How do you do your test WT?

cubanomx
15-07-2009, 06:13 AM
See my thread (http://pressf1.pcworld.co.nz/showthread.php?t=101125) from yesterday I have just set up my spare pc running XP home with it's third HDD and am in the process of setting up weekly full backups using true image to it and also daily incremental backups daily, unfortunately offsite backups are not really possible for us as I work in the building trade and SWMBO doesn't work

Incremental backups must be avoided at all costs. I believe is better to use a Full (Normal) and differentials.

gary67
15-07-2009, 07:56 AM
I have no problems with incremental backups. I have been playing around with an old PC backing it up then re installing from the backups and the incremental backups I make using True image work just fine. Care to share your thoughts on why they should be avoided?