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  1. #1
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    Computer Backup Options - Ideas

    Hello There,

    I have a computer with some critical and important files, and some important photographs/pictures. And some music that is important.

    What options are there for backing this up? How does it work? Does something continuously back up for me like daily, weekly sort of thing? And if so won't this add up to a lot of memory? GB?

    I was thinking of getting a 320GB Seagate FreeAgent Pro.
    It has a rollback feature, is this any good? So what exactly it does? Does it save a snapshot of my system and I can go back to it?

    I was also looking at getting a secondary backup, 4GB flash drive/pen drive/USB key, and putting some of the ultra important files on there.

    Do I need Firewire or eSATA?

  2. #2
    The Rock Cycle eofelis's Avatar
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    I'm not a computer geek at all, but we just got a plug in external hard drive, it's like a giant flash drive, plugs into the USB port.

    Right now is a good time to get one, xmas sales, we got one for $50 off at Office Depot. It is 320GB for $80. I don't know if it has a rollback feature.

    Our old computer is cranky and we just put copies of all our files on the external HD so if the computer dies we will be ok. When we get a new computer it will be easy to move everything over to it.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member russiankdi's Avatar
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    You could do as said above, or plug the existing hard drive with the files you need as a secondary hard drive. I usually unplug my CD drive and use the IDE from it to plug my hard drive in. Just change the jumpers on the hard drive(should say on label which to switch) and the computer will recognize the hard drive and not boot up from it.
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  4. #4
    Footballus vita est iamlucky13's Avatar
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    The easiest option is to get an external hard drive like you mentioned. Most of them include software that can be set up to daily or even more frequently backup files in locations you specify, or even your entire harddrive, so if something goes wrong with the drive, you still have the data. I think some have options to create multiple rollback points, or to simple make sure the files are up to date. Another option, more for the technically literate, is to install a second hard drive and set it up for RAID 0.

    The shortcoming of these methods is they protect you against drive failure, but not against something fatal happening to the computer, such as a house fire. There are services available that will perform the same type of backup to a server using the internet for as little as a few bucks a month which are the best backup method, but most people don't need that much security.

    An intermediate option is to backup your data on a semi-regular basis, maybe once a week or month, onto a drive or DVD's and keep those at a safe second location, such as the office or a safe deposit box. One disadvantage here is say you back up every Saturday, and on Friday mutant zombies attack and destroy your computer. Any changes you made since the previous Saturday aren't in your backup.

    Firewire or USB 2.0 are fine. eSATA is a little faster but requires adding an eSATA connector to your computer. Pretty easy as long as you're comfortable opening the case.
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  5. #5
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    Network attatched storage is nice too, just have the computer on in time for it to do it's backup.
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    It's been a while since I have bought an external drive ready to go. I usually use my own IDE drives in various usb 2 or firewire cases. Do the vendors these days provide a full version of their easy or one touch backup software or is it a trial version and they double dip you?

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    I highly recommend an external drive, and Retrospect. I've used this program to restore toasted machines quite a number of times. With one restore CD and the external drive, you can have the machine be back up and running in the time it takes to install a temporary copy of Windows, boot into Retrospect, tell it to restore everything, have it copy all files, and reboot 2-3 times to restore all Registry changes.

  8. #8
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    Destroyer of Wheels Air's Avatar
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    I got two 500G Western Digitals over Thanksgiving. The drives are fine, the software is utter crap. It runs by continually monitoring everything you do so it eats up memory and it didn't even update things when I changed them. Crap.

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    For most "backup" software that comes with external drives, I just toss the CDs into the "original CD" bin I have and never install the software. The drives, I plug them into my Linux box, dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda (or whatever they are), then hook them up to whatever machine that needs them, and format them on that machine.

    I personally would recommend getting external SATA drives over USB (mainly for esoteric reasons, as most machines can easily find an eSATA drive without needing drivers (windows safe mode for example), while USB requires "normal" mode to function.

    Retrospect is nice. You set it, (including have it encrypt the backup sets and remember the password, so if someone steals the external HDD, they won't get your data,) and pretty much it does what it needs to. If you want to make sure data stays archived, you can always copy the backup set to DVD-Rs, CDs, a remote share, another drive, or tapes. It makes no noticable dent in the system when firing off a backup, and once it does its first full backup, the subsequent ones take about 3-5 minutes on an average PC.

    Other backup programs are pretty clunky from what I've seen. Some "password protect" data, storing the password somewhere easily found. Others kill your system performance when they fire off. Some others don't back up everything, so in case you need a full restore, its impossible.

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    Senior Citizen lyeinyoureye's Avatar
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    For pics/music I would use bzip2 and see how small they can be. If you can fir 'em on a couple DVDs go for it. For full backups I use dd just like mlts22 does.

  11. #11
    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grun View Post
    What options are there for backing this up? How does it work? Does something continuously back up for me like daily, weekly sort of thing? And if so won't this add up to a lot of memory? GB?

    I was thinking of getting a 320GB Seagate FreeAgent Pro.
    It has a rollback feature, is this any good? So what exactly it does? Does it save a snapshot of my system and I can go back to it?

    Do I need Firewire or eSATA?
    I just started using a Seagate FreeAgent Pro 500Gbyte. I have no experience with the "rollback"...don't know how it works or what if anything I have to do to get it to work. I need to do some reading...

    I've set up Auto Back-Up, and what it does is to copy files I've chosen (I told it to do all of MyDocuments, which includes MyPictures, MyMusic, and MyVideos) to the Seagate, and then every time I modify a file or create a new one, it also gets copied to the Seagate. You can choose how many old copies are retained (I've set mine to 8, for now). I'm running it using USB...seems slow, but it works.

    The set-up took a loooooooong time. I had about 50 Gbytes of files to transfer, and it took just about a whole day.
    Last edited by deraltekluge; 12-03-07 at 01:57 AM.

  12. #12
    Gorntastic! v1k1ng1001's Avatar
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    I just sync a folder of important files with my little 160G seagate that plugs into my laptop's usb port.

    You should also familiarize yourself with Linux Live cds that allow you to run a linux distro out of your cd drive should windows ever crash on you. You can use them to recover your files if nothing else.

  13. #13
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    Linux Live CDs (Knoppix mainly) are a lifesaver. I use them on new computers to find what exactly what hardware I need drivers for, and to test if everything is working on a hardware level, as Linux can work well with almost anything except sound cards and wireless network cards.

    Next to my Linux LiveCD, I have a customized BartPE CD that has a copy of Jetico's BestCrypt on it. This allows me to mount encrypted volumes and do repairs on them (chkdsk, regedit, antispyware, file checks, etc) without having to have the machine spend hours decrypting the partition. BartPE is a great tool for manually removing spyware off someone's machine.

  14. #14
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    I have a bluehost account. It costs only $7/mo for 300GB. That's good enough to back up a lot of data.

  15. #15
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    I'd recommend an external hard drive enclosure with at least USB 2.0. Firewire and eSATA are nice, but just for backing up files, the marginal speed upgrade usually isn't worth the price. The other option, which I would really recommend more, is getting an external server, like banerjek mentioned. You can access it from anywhere you are and it might be a very wise solution to have on top of a physical backup thats within hands reach. I have a GoDaddy account for $7 a month. A company like that usually has redundant backups of everything they host, so they're actually doing all the legwork for you. Another good server is Dreamhost. They give lots of space and have high bandwidth.

    Oh, and to answer you're question about FireWire and eSATA... even though they offer data transfer speeds much higher that that of USB 2.0, most hard drives can't actually write information as fast as the cables can send them. If you're not doing constant work off of the backup drive in question then the price you pay for having FireWire or eSATA isn't really worth it.

  16. #16
    Gorntastic! v1k1ng1001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlts22 View Post
    as Linux can work well with almost anything except sound cards and wireless network cards.
    I recently tested a pclinuxos livecd that allowed me to use my infamous broadcom wireless card by just selecting "wireless"!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grun View Post
    Hello There,

    I have a computer with some critical and important files, and some important photographs/pictures. And some music that is important.

    What options are there for backing this up? How does it work? Does something continuously back up for me like daily, weekly sort of thing? And if so won't this add up to a lot of memory? GB?

    I was thinking of getting a 320GB Seagate FreeAgent Pro.
    It has a rollback feature, is this any good? So what exactly it does? Does it save a snapshot of my system and I can go back to it?

    I was also looking at getting a secondary backup, 4GB flash drive/pen drive/USB key, and putting some of the ultra important files on there.

    Do I need Firewire or eSATA?

    You can also Raid-1 your system along with an external/offsite backup and possibly online storeage. You'll need an identical harddrive to the one already on your computer. The raid-1 is continuous as long as you (it's mirrored) are using your computer. Then you can have daily/nightly backups onto something like the external/offsite.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    Depending on how much data you have, you should probably burn it onto CDs or DVDs once in a while, too. A CD will hold about 700 Mbytes, and it's easy to copy files to one.

  19. #19
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    external HD.
    In the future, setup RAID.
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