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Backup System Needed - Please Educate Me

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware' started by James Burke, Mar 21, 2016.

  1. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    I'm a one-man show with just a desktop computer (no laptop), and the time has come to seriously consider a better option for backing up my files. Currently, I use a Thermaltake BlacX dual SATA docking station for backing up my files. Only my files are being backed up, no system data (which I know is not the best practice).

    I have two SATA drives that I alternate between, but I've noticed that one drive has corrupted and now I'm a bit leery about continuing on with that setup. I don't see myself needing or using a network in the near future, but I'm wondering if that might be useful for backup purposes.

    I've read all the stories around here about lost data, and I want to get something nailed down yet this week if at all possible. This subject has been on the first page of my disaster planning manual, but I could sure use some refinement.


    Thanks,

    JB
     
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  2. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

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    Morning Sir. I have the exact same setup as you. I back up to 3 sata drives and I also have two satas in the computer Im working on AND I had another computer set up Just like the one Im on right now. If my computer goes boom, I just go to the closet, get the other one out and Im back in business. All my programs are already loaded onto the other computer.

    Hard drives are going to fail, its just a matter of "when" Ive stuck hard drives in my BlackX and nothing! But as I said Ive got 4-6 more backups. I know there is a difference between SSD and HDD hard drives but Im not paying double or triple for a damn hard drive that will crash or die. and YES SSD harddrives do not live forever.

    I think your method of backing up as well as mine is a great way of backing up. Our storage for these HDs doesnt take much space, easily accessible and since I fix quite a few computers I have obtained most of my blank HDs from people whose computers had major major issues such as processor failure. Ill rip their HDs out, format them in the BlackX and start copying stuff over.

    The only suggestion I would make to you is to obtain a few more hardrives online and just back up a few more and possibly have another computer, already set up ready to go in case something major happens to one
     
  3. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    I have a couple copies of backups through Time Machine on my Mac. Recently I made a bootable drive with Carbon Copy Cloner. At some point I may consider adding a cloud backup as well. While this is for a Mac you can do the same thing with a PC.
     
  4. player

    player Major Contributor

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    You definitely need a clone copy (or two) of your C drive so if it dies you put in a clone and all programs and Windows are ready to go. There may be some programs you need to re-authorize, but that's nothing. I use Acronis for cloning drives.
     
  5. chester215

    chester215 Just call me Chester.

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    I second the mirror/clone backup with something like Acronis.
    I have a 1TB (or whatever size your HD is) USB drive dedicated to a backup of my computer.
    If something happens I can just load the backup onto a new hard drive.
     
  6. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    Thanks for the helpful input. If there ever was an area where an individual should be be severely anal/OCD, it's definitely this area.

    I appreciate the info.


    JB
     
  7. DerbyCitySignGuy

    DerbyCitySignGuy Very Active Member

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    You could also consider cloud based storage. If you're not interested in investing in a server, you can pay a nominal fee to use someone else's servers. I use Google Drive for my personal stuff and really like it, haven't even gotten closing to using all the free storage. I think it's $10 a month for unlimited storage, but you might want to check on that, I'm not 100% certain.
     
  8. Tizz

    Tizz Member

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    I too have a second pc like visual800 with just about all the software I use ready just in case my main pc dies. Just a matter of transfering licenses.

    My main pc runs off an ssd drive solely for the operating system and programs only. This boots up fast.
    I have another ssd drive where I save all my working files. Saving is pretty fast too.
    And a hdd drive where I back up all of these files to on a weekly basis. These drives can all fail at anytime. The ssd drives are great but have a limited life span. Don't know exactly but did read it in the paperwork that come with the packaging. Had a brand new hdd drive jam within a few weeks and lost everything.
    I know have an external drive slot where I keep another copy of all files. I've experienced a few pc crashes before and luckily my files were backed up.
     
  9. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

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    Back in the day, when I thought pcs were rock solid i didnt back anything up! Got up one morning and turned the old gateway on and boom! it was dead. we had a storm that night and obviously it took it out. i had to jump on craigslist and buy some POS hp comp and it took 2 damn days to get my life back in order. stressful and uncalled for BUT as I said it learned a lesson

    that lesson taught me much more than backing up but also if a storm comes i pull all power to my pcs and my plotter. when i say pull power i mean pull the plug out of the wall! i do not rely on a power backup or a power strip. i also disconnect all ethernet from pc. I do the same if i got out of town and on weekends unless im using it. It may seem paranoid but its a peice of mind

    fast forward one the dells I got would not boot up. instead of wasting my day trying to figure it out i got the other pc out and was up and running in bout 2 hours. also had to take HD out of messed up PC and plac eit in drive and pull emails and stuff off of it, documents and such.

    went back later and found out it was a damn fan in the dell that was dead lol. really! all that for a fan. got it fixed and shoved him back in closet for the next adventure.

    i do not like the "cloud" maybe its my age i dont know. i like having my stuff not uploading it to where i have no idea who can access it, like they already dont access my stuff anyway, but still Im kinda weird like that.
     
  10. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    I would only use the SSDs for when you are using that drive to run the OS and programs. So only get those when you plan on moving a copy over to a new hard drive for when the last one craps out on you. Don't use it for storage. Also, you don't want to use it for storage due to how SSDs life span is measured. As in number of writes. Why you don't want to defrag a SSD. Wasted writes to that disk (plus unnecessary).

    However, for storage (and for storage on the several NAS devices that we have (both local and off site), I use WD Red Drives for storage.


    As far as cloud or not, they all have their pros and cons, it depends on which one has more value to you for each option. I would suggest more then one backup though. A local and an offsite. You can still do it to all your own servers (Qnap I know allows for this as well as to selected cloud services).

    Technically speaking, Macs are also PCs, at least in the environment that most on here would use them for. Software might be different, methodology might be different, but they are all PCs.




    I would not suggest using external hard drives. Especially since most do not have internal fans and they are fully enclosed. Some do, but I would say most of the ones that I have seen don't. So if they get heavy usage, long times plugged in, that can be a problem. I would only use those as more of a means of mobile temp. solution. I have seen far more failures with external drives that just plug into a USB then I have with my network drives.

    Now, network drives do have their cons. The RAID controller fails, it's all gone, even if the drives are good. So it always pays to have a second copy elsewhere. Like I said, if you have another server at the house away from the shop that has internet, you could send it from server 1 to server 2 and there is your offsite.

    Rather you do that method or use a cloud method, latency is going to be your biggest concern, both sending and receiving.
     
  11. DerbyCitySignGuy

    DerbyCitySignGuy Very Active Member

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    100% with you on equipment getting fried. I don't usually go as far as to unplug everything, but I definitely turn off all essential equipment at night. We had a power surge during business hours the other day and a NIC card on a PC got fried even though everything was on APCs (Ethernet wasn't run through the APC, admittedly).

    The cloud is awesome. Don't fight it, embrace the change! Off site data storage is a good practice. If something happens and you have a fire or flood or some other disaster where your physical data is stored, that's it. You're not getting it back.

    We have two servers which we backup with a local company every night, then we also have physical drives on hand with backed up data.
     
  12. bomaboat

    bomaboat New Member

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    I worked as a network admin before changing careers. My suggestion for ease of use, price and reliability: Crashplan.
     
  13. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    Well...

    One of my backup drives was officially pronounced DOA at the computer shop this afternoon. It sounded pretty sick and it locked up their computer instantly. It didn't have any "expensive" data on it, only a gazillion photos of the grandkids that weren't stored anywhere else so that's a bummer.

    I'm not going to $pend big buck$ to have it sent in so I tried out that famous urban myth of sticking the hard drive in the freezer. After one hour's "freeze time", it whirled back to life long enough for me to get about 6 gigs of data copied off. I put it back in the freezer and will wait to see what happens in another couple of hours or so.


    JB
     
  14. player

    player Major Contributor

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    What is your upload speed? I get only .6, which is about dial-up speed. Seems that's the way it is in my area (Ontario Canada).

    It would take a very long time to upload a 2 terabyte hard disk.
     
  15. DerbyCitySignGuy

    DerbyCitySignGuy Very Active Member

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    We have 50 Mb service right now, but we're supposed to be getting Google Fiber and 1 Gb service within the next couple of years. Woohoo!

    When you're backing up data to the cloud, it generally takes a LONG time for the initial upload, but after that it's much faster. Anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour and a half, usually.
     
  16. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    I was only able to snag the first six gigs of data using the freezer method, so I'll have to chalk this one up as a good lesson learned fairly inexpensively. My computer guy always prefaces his statements as to "when" a hard drive will fail, never "if"...since that will always be a given.

    I'm still going to stick with the docking system and rotate between hard drives since cloud-based services would be impractical with my DSL service. I'm a total newbie when it comes to cloning/mirroring software, but I'm definitely up to the challenge.

    Looking back, the drive that failed was always plugged in and under power even when it slept. It was an enclosed unit that didn't have a cooling fan, so I'm thinking it just burnt itself out after a couple of years.
     
  17. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    Mirroring is technically not a backup method as when you do make changes on the original, it affects the mirror as well, so if something gets deleted, it's gone on the mirror as well. Which is counter to a backup.

    It gets a virus etc, it also affects the mirror.

    You still need a backup regiment.
     
  18. Pixels Are Bad Mmmkay?

    Pixels Are Bad Mmmkay? Very Active Member

    We have a back up hard drive and Carbonite and I sleep easy at night. :smile:
     
  19. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    Noted...thanks for the helpful input.


    JB
     
  20. B Snyder

    B Snyder Very Active Member

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    I used to use Crashplan for online backup but it seemed to use a lot of resources. I used to have a RAID setup and the card failed. Now I just backup my graphics files to a thumb drive daily and run Reflect to clone my entire hard drive weekly. Reflect is similar to Acronis. I like the interface better.
    http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx
     
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