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  1. #1
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    Default Backing up for the unwashed

    I continually strive to find a backup that would work reliably for the "ordinary" user but I get more and more pessimistic about finding a solution.

    The fundamental problem is that backups just don't keep on working perfectly and they constantly need checking. This checking just doesn't get done - the knowledge about what to look for just isn't there and the "it won't happen to me" syndrome is very much alive and well.

    Couple of examples, windows file backup scheduled and owner thought it was doing its thing but when I looked at the backup screen it said the last successful backup was in April last year. Another one, imaging scheduled and owner told how to check for disk full and how to delete older files. Nothing done and no response to constant errors being reported. Yet another trap is the destination drive with a low drive letter assigned. Gee, later on that letter gets assigned differently and the backup doesn't work any more.

    Is the world doomed to this sorry and risky state?? Can't see any solution, myself.

    If we can't devise a backup regime that would continue to work unattended, is there a business opportunity for someone to earn a monthly service fee to check backups? Oh, just realised, I answered this question above. "It won't happen to me!".

    Input, anyone?

  2. #2
    Computer Technician wainuitech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backing up for the unwashed

    Couple of Questions WARNING geek stuff

    1.Are these for Home users or Business users as well ?
    1a. How many computers need to be backed up ?
    1b. What sort of cost $$$ wise would be considered ?

    2.Do you want the backups to go to a network location or USB ? (USB - bad idea for automated backups as drive needs to be connected at the time, removed later).

    3.Do you want a dedicated machine as a Backup location, or even a Server / NAS. ?

    4. The computers being backed up, are they on 24/7 or only at a time when being used ?


    That'll do for the mean time My backups- are set and forget, run daily as long as the computer is on it will backup. Really important "stuff" is auto backed up at every change /save.
    Last edited by wainuitech; 17-03-2015 at 10:47 AM.

  3. #3
    amateur expert dugimodo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backing up for the unwashed

    If an average user backs up anything they are ahead of the game, most people just don't. Myself I rarely bother with regular backups. If something is important to me I will make sure I have at least 2 copies in 2 different places initially but after that tend to forget about it. I will often make a system image after building and configuring a new machine then file it away somewhere never to be used again, by the time I need it it's likely outdated and I'm better off starting over.

    what does work for smaller amounts of data is cloud backup services, there are a lot of them and they work very well. For example any photo I load onto my android phone or tablet automatically finds it's way onto google+ and any file on my windows 8 PC I put in a folder I have set up to sync with onedrive automatically gets copied there. It uses bandwidth and is much better with a decent upstream speed but is a great way to store files. I don't think it's very workable for system images and the like though. Of course some people will never trust any online service with their files.

    Windows can always be re-installed, as can software. Backing these up is more of a time saver and a convenience than a necessity. It's only important and irreplaceable files that truly need backing up and cloud services can be the answer in my opinion. That said I might go save some software keys I have to onedrive
    Ryzen 2700X, 16Gb DDR4RAM, 512GB M.2 NVME SSD, MSI GTX1070

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Backing up for the unwashed

    I've found the simplest to set up was crashplan. Coupled with their online backup (and to an external drive, or computer) then I've mostly managed to get 2 copies of important stuff in two locations.

    It has a bunch of free options as well for backing up to external drives and to friends over the internet. But It's pretty simple out of the box. The other problem is people want stuff for free, and free and protecting stuff, generally do not go hand in hand.
    Interests: PVRs, HTPCs, Apple IOS, Apple TV, Media Players, C#, Printing

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Backing up for the unwashed

    Sorry, WT, but the title did say "unwashed"!

    I am talking about those who just buy and use. So, you guys and gals are probably excluded. At least you know that bad can happen. But I have also seen small businesses that fly without parachutes! One had their database several folder levels down inside a Temp folder! In cleaning out nasties I deleted that folder - so glad I took an image beforehand!!

    My main point is not how you do it but how to recognise when it goes wrong, as it often does. Even cloud storage can go wrong if you don't know the ins and outs.

    @dugi - your first sentence is right!

    @psycik - yep, free will most often win! But, to be fair, many users will make an outlay if told what to do. It's just the ongoing maintenance that I believe is necessary that concerns me. I just can't see the answer to that.

    Anyway, meeting the commercial photographer later today to check what is on her backup drive. Interested if the last backup was, indeed, Apr 2014, as the backup screen says.

    Cheers, guys.

  6. #6
    Senior Member 1101's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backing up for the unwashed

    Quote Originally Posted by linw View Post

    Is the world doomed to this sorry and risky state?? Can't see any solution, myself.
    Id agree. This should have been no.1 priority for MS, and MS's backup solution should have been the same for all recent versions of Win.
    I guess its more sorted with Win8

    It is possible to have daily backup reports automatically emailed out (a bit trickier on PC's than servers), that makes it easier to keep an eye on things .
    Last edited by 1101; 17-03-2015 at 12:18 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member pctek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backing up for the unwashed

    Quote Originally Posted by linw View Post
    I continually strive to find a backup that would work reliably for the "ordinary" user but I get more and more pessimistic about finding a solution.
    Taught all my customers to use an external drive and copy/paste.

    Or Syncback if they want more automation.
    wipe your paws.

  8. #8
    Computer Technician wainuitech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backing up for the unwashed

    Sorry, WT, but the title did say "unwashed"!

    I am talking about those who just buy and use.
    You're doomed to fail then.

    As long as you have the human element in place, its not going to work 100% of the time. Seen it happen MANY times, you set up a backup option, BUT it's only going to work as long as the person plugs in a backup drive. Done the same thing as PCtek mentioned
    Taught all my customers to use an external drive and copy/paste.

    Or Syncback if they want more automation.
    Works Ok for a short while, then all of a sudden they get distracted or something and its "oh I'll do it tomorrow" tomorrow it usually doesn't happen and so on.

    With backups failing -- again unless they are checked how do you know they are actually working ? Had one person a couple of years ago, they were doing regular images / backups with Acronis -- Everything looked like it was working, BUT when it was required due to a HDD total failure the backups were useless, each and every one corrupted. She contacted Acronis complaining that their software had failed, all they said was more or less --- tough- should have checked the backups before they were needed.

    Backups are ONLY any good if they work.

  9. #9
    Senior Member pctek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backing up for the unwashed

    Quote Originally Posted by wainuitech View Post
    Done the same thing as PCtek mentioned Works Ok for a short while, then all of a sudden they get distracted or something and its "oh I'll do it tomorrow" tomorrow it usually doesn't happen and so on.
    Hehe.......ah but when they have stood about in your workshop sobbing, having lost the last years accounts or whatever...they NEVER forget again.

    Had that happen 3 times, and no they weren't all women with the actual tears either.
    They learn quite fast then.

    And I must mention CATHY MUNRO of Canterbury.
    This lady was completely computer illiterate when I built her first ever PC (we were both in Southland then).

    She has learned a lot over the years, and she is the most amazing user I have come across - she's like us Wainui - does her backups, has the most clutter free, pristine PC I have ever seen (short of mine), doesn't download random things, doesn't random click, rings to check if anything strikes her as maybe dodgy, and listened and remembered everything I ever told her. Keeps the icons tidy, arranges her files neatly, BACKS UP!

    Obviously she is totally unnatural for a home user. LOL.
    Recently she had the PC upgraded, and O/S upgraded.
    I went to pull off her stuff first, checked the drive - still awesome and tidy, no need to retrieve anything, it was in clearly marked folders neatly arranged on her second partition.

    And of course, backed up at home on her external drive.

    This lady is almost 60 BTW....
    If only they were all like that!
    Points to Cathy!
    Last edited by pctek; 17-03-2015 at 04:28 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Backing up for the unwashed

    Send Cathy to Wellington and WT and I can fight for her!!!

    Leo Notenboom (Ask Leo newsletter) has a campaign going now to get people to backup and he has produced books and vids etc to help but I can't help thinking he is doomed. Still, at least he is trying to get it going for more people.

    Oh, well, I will crawl away and dream of the rare people like Cathy!!!!

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