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  1. #1
    Junior Member Chikara's Avatar
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    Default Advice on backup options

    Hi all

    Well after my recent Win 10 reinstall, I'm taking the opportunity to review how I do my backups.
    I have 3 physical drives on my PC
    C is SSD, for Operating System and most program installations
    D is mechanical HDD, usually just for some apps or games that take up lots of space that I don't want to waste limited SSD space for
    F is for data

    I have a Synology NAS and I used to use Free File Sync with versioning, with a nightly one way sync job from PC to NAS. With the versioning, it meant I could still go back to older versions of a file in case there was a corrupt file or virus that got synced to the NAS.
    It mostly worked well and I never had to do a restore, but I don't really like the Free File Sync interface or having to much around with a batch file in Windows to get it to run.

    So I am thinking of changing how I do my backups, and I'm after some advice or suggestions if my thoughts below sound like a better way or not

    - I did a one-off Windows image straight after the reinstall, which I can always revert back to in the future
    - For daily backups, I'm going to use the Synology Drive backup option just for my data drive (F), with the option for continuous backups turned on, and versioning turned on to keep the last 4 versions of any file
    - For C and D drive, I am thinking to do a seperate disc image backup to the NAS using Macrium Reflect (its free for personal use), but not sure it this is overkill or not..maybe a monthly image for both C and D, so worst case scenario I could restore either drive to it's state no longer than a month ago, and that would only affect programs I have installed or changed since then. (Since my data is backup up continuously using Synology Drive.

    Does this sound like a reasonable way of doing it?

    And yes I am aware a backup on NAS is not a 'true' backup as it's on the same physical site as my PC...that's a risk I'm prepared to accept..I dare say this is already more than 90% of the population do for backups! But I do have my most important docs on Google Drive or Dropbox too.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Advice on backup options

    Interesting thread, I'll give this a follow.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Default Re: Advice on backup options

    Quote Originally Posted by Chikara View Post
    Hi all

    Well after my recent Win 10 reinstall, I'm taking the opportunity to review how I do my backups.
    I have 3 physical drives on my PC
    C is SSD, for Operating System and most program installations
    D is mechanical HDD, usually just for some apps or games that take up lots of space that I don't want to waste limited SSD space for
    F is for data

    I have a Synology NAS and I used to use Free File Sync with versioning, with a nightly one way sync job from PC to NAS. With the versioning, it meant I could still go back to older versions of a file in case there was a corrupt file or virus that got synced to the NAS.
    It mostly worked well and I never had to do a restore, but I don't really like the Free File Sync interface or having to much around with a batch file in Windows to get it to run.

    So I am thinking of changing how I do my backups, and I'm after some advice or suggestions if my thoughts below sound like a better way or not

    - I did a one-off Windows image straight after the reinstall, which I can always revert back to in the future
    - For daily backups, I'm going to use the Synology Drive backup option just for my data drive (F), with the option for continuous backups turned on, and versioning turned on to keep the last 4 versions of any file
    - For C and D drive, I am thinking to do a seperate disc image backup to the NAS using Macrium Reflect (its free for personal use), but not sure it this is overkill or not..maybe a monthly image for both C and D, so worst case scenario I could restore either drive to it's state no longer than a month ago, and that would only affect programs I have installed or changed since then. (Since my data is backup up continuously using Synology Drive.

    Does this sound like a reasonable way of doing it?

    And yes I am aware a backup on NAS is not a 'true' backup as it's on the same physical site as my PC...that's a risk I'm prepared to accept..I dare say this is already more than 90% of the population do for backups! But I do have my most important docs on Google Drive or Dropbox too.

    Windows 10 includes a couple of backup options. Under the start menu search backup. I think that needs a dedicated drive. But in the same screen is a old windows 7 style backups that allow for saving to a nas/share.

    I just used it for backing up a work machine before I rebuilt it, it seemed ok.

    It wont cover you for fire theft etc as its not cloud based, so Id add it the rest of a backup scheme that includes cloud storage
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  4. #4
    Senior Member piroska's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on backup options

    Quote Originally Posted by Chikara View Post
    I have 3 physical drives on my PC
    C is SSD, for Operating System and most program installations
    D is mechanical HDD, usually just for some apps or games that take up lots of space that I don't want to waste limited SSD space for
    F is for data


    - I did a one-off Windows image straight after the reinstall, which I can always revert back to in the future
    - For daily backups, I'm going to use the Synology Drive backup option just for my data drive (F), with the option for continuous backups turned on, and versioning turned on to keep the last 4 versions of any file
    - For C and D drive, I am thinking to do a seperate disc image backup ..maybe a monthly image for both C and D.
    1)HAving all 3 attached is a risk. Power issues - lightning or power surges and such can trash the lot.
    Backups are OK on an internal IF you also have them on another not attached drive as well.

    2)My opinion of an image is a clean install. Doing them all the time means you are just imaging all the clutter, bloat and possible malware.
    I only ever do another after reverting to the original and updating any new stuff.
    Ex-pctek

  5. #5
    Computer Technician wainuitech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on backup options

    My own backups these days are quite simple, but effective.

    There's basically two types.

    Backup important items that cant be lost, or would be a real huge PITA if they were damaged and general backups.

    1. I have Important files backed up automatically (live - as in when ever changes are made its backed up automatically) to Cloud storage with EaseUS EverySync as well as a Server in the Workshop. ( two locations)

    2. Then Daily backups with Macrium Reflect to another Server in the workshop. Every Friday at 6pm it does a Full Backup, with Differential backups daily at 8pm. Set to keep two weeks worth, then dump off the oldest.

    Then when I remember Every two weeks manually Copy certain backed up images on The Server to an External Drive that's in another location as a secondary backup. I say certain folders as there's several computer backups on there that change all the time (4).

    In the event of needing any files that may have been deleted simply go to to the Image that they were on, mount the image ( with Macrium) and copy back the file. Had that the other day, deleted a Joke I had then someone wanted it a few days later.

    In the event of having split drives for OS and Programs both would be backed up as one, then any data depending on how often it changes done separately.

    In the event of a drive Failure (as it happens) you can pull back a Image in minimal time. Did Similar on a workshop PC a while back, the drive decided to die, threw in a new drive, went to the latest image that was on the server, pulled it back over the LAN, 20 minutes later all back up and running as if nothing had happened. All OS, Programs, data the lot

    While everyone wont have the options of Servers, backing up to a NAS locally is OK ,I recommend just need to make sure its got protection, meaning a UPS so in the event of a power Problem it shouldn't get damaged. THEN separate non connected storage as well. All my servers have AV protection so any type of infection risk is minimal. Some NAS's do have a inbuilt AV, but not to sure how good they actually are.
    Last edited by wainuitech; 20-01-2021 at 09:35 AM.

  6. #6
    Enterprise IT Consultant chiefnz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on backup options

    +1 for Wainui's comments....

    I have 2 NAS units, all initial backups of my system go to the primary unit. I have also recently migrated all my data from my M.2's and SSDs to that NAS as well, (Music, software, etc.).

    My "backups" consist of the following;

    1) Weekly System state backup (this includes the primary OS drive + my secondary which houses my games - well game really as I only play Division 2)
    2) Weekly backup of my music (the primary copy is stored on an SSD in my computer)
    3) I use Hybrid Backup Sync 3 on my primary NAS to sync a copy of my music and apps to the secondary NAS - I'm not too concerned about syncing the system state backup as I also prefer to run a clean install of Windows rather than restoring from a previous image and also because most of the files I used are stored on the NAS any way which is setup in RAID5 - not a backup per say but gives me a decent "fallback" if I lose a disk in the NAS.

    I also used to have an iDrive cloud storage account (5TB) which I used to backup my documents and apps to but after putting the 2nd NAS unit in, I canned it as I didn't feel it was worth the "extra level of protection" and I had about 154GB of data, which has now grown to 200GB.

    iDrive isn't a bad option if you don't have too much data to backup and if you do they have an Express product option (free once a year then a charge for every other occurrence) where you order a disk which they ship to you, you copy your data to the disk and ship it back to them and they upload it to your account at their data centre. They have a free 5GB plan so if that suits your data needs its not a bad option for personal files.

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  7. #7
    Junior Member Chikara's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on backup options

    Hi, thanks for sharing your setups and suggestions, some good ideas there and some things to think about.

    Sounds like I am mostly on the right track, and from what you've mentioned I think I'll stick with the real time backup (with versioning) from PC to NAS for data.
    For my OS drive, and separate apps drive, I think I'll do semi-regular image backups of both, also to the NAS. In the case of one of those drives failing, it's not such a big deal to to clean install and then reinstall all the programs manually, but the images would save time, and good have just in case - even if I decide not to use them and do a fresh install.

    The UPS for the NAS is not a bad idea either, I should look at that too. I have a surge protector, but not a UPS. Until now I've always thought if there was a power loss, it's unlikely it would cause more than one drive to fail at the same time on the NAS (it's in RAID mode so it's only a problem if more than one drive fails at the same time), and the likelihood it would take out both NAS and PC at the same time is remote. But I think UPS are quite reasonably priced nowadays.
    As mentioned I am prepared to take the risk of all my backups being physically on the same site. With the exception of some critical documents which I backup separately to OneDrive or Dropbox. Problem is have a lot of data, many high res photos and high quality videos, and a huge music collection, so it's not really cost effective to back all that up online.

  8. #8
    Computer Technician wainuitech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on backup options

    Until now I've always thought if there was a power loss, it's unlikely it would cause more than one drive to fail at the same time on the NAS (it's in RAID mode so it's only a problem if more than one drive fails at the same time), and the likelihood it would take out both NAS and PC at the same time is remote
    Actually its not remote.

    Got a Customer who that happened too late last year.

    His Son had set up two separate NAS's both with mirrored drives, thinking they would be fine - They weren't.

    They had a power cut and when it came back on again both NAS 's had corrupted both drives. When mirroring drive 2 copies drive 1 - So when Drive 1 went south big time guess what drive 2 did = Mirror it. X 2 = 4 corrupted drivers. They didn't fail, they corrupted.

    Now to have 1 NAS destroy its self was bad enough, but having two do the same thing at the same time

    The ONLY common cause at the same time was the power Cut.

  9. #9
    Junior Member Chikara's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on backup options

    So all their data was lost and irrecoverable?
    Think I am going to have to seriously look at a UPS for the NAS based on that!

  10. #10
    Computer Technician wainuitech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on backup options

    Quote Originally Posted by Chikara View Post
    So all their data was lost and irrecoverable?
    Think I am going to have to seriously look at a UPS for the NAS based on that!
    No the data was recoverable (took over a week).The NAS software was Linux based and it was VERY badly damaged.

    Tried all sorts of Linux software to recover it, and nothing worked, standard Data recovery software turned its nose up or couldn't find any worth recovering (there was over 4TB)

    Even asked a person who knows linux a lot better than myself said he couldn't recover it mainly because of the RAID configuration. Finally found two programs and between them got most of it all back including many files that had been deleted over the years, BUT they needed to be sorted as to what he wanted to keep (owners job not mine) The File structure was completely Destroyed.

    That's the Problem with Mirroring - what one drive does the other copies. So while its OK incase of a Drive failure, any sort of Infection, corruption = no good.

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