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What is the best solution to back up my 80GB hard drive?

Nov 29, 2007 2:10PM PST

I use my laptop as my main computer (I need the portability at times, although it's mainly stationed at my desk). I have critical files on it. I just scanned in ALL my old photos (from as far back as the 1930's. I have all my current photos from my digital camera. I just spent some cash to get these old reel to reel tapes of my grandparents put on DVD, which I ripped to my computer. I have all my videos, music, etc. too. I need the best backup solution possible to make sure these last forever. I have about 80gb of stuff.

So far I have thought of...

-Backing everything up to an external hard drive
-Making DVDs every few months and storing them offsite

I also am not sure if I should pay $4.95 a month for unlimited storage with Mozly and back everything up there as well.

Also is there a better solution then DVDs for offsite backup? It would take about 17 DVDs and I would want to burn a new copy every month since DVDs don't last forever and I am really paranoid.

Any suggestions?, it just bugs me right now that I don't have a real backup plan.

Discussion is locked

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Think about it. What needs to be backed up?
Nov 29, 2007 9:59PM PST

All 80GB? Or just what you can't replace?

For me it's my photos. I have quite a few all digital photos that don't exist on paper so that is all of one DVD. A few home videos that I want to pass along are on DVD copies already.

For me it works down to less than 10 DVDs.

Why would I back up the other files?


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Nov 29, 2007 11:36PM PST

OK ya sorry...I forgot to account for some files I wouldn't need to backup. All together I have 30GB worth of stuff that needs to be backed up. So I should go with an external hard drive and a new set of DVDs every month? I'm just worried DVDs won't last very long. And I was thinking of using the online backup service Mozy too...because I need offsite storage as I live in a place prone to earthquakes. And my friends house burnt down and they lost everything last year. So now I just want to make sure everything is backed up.

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This is why people write about "rotating sets".
Nov 29, 2007 11:56PM PST

Let's say I use DVDRW. I'll use 3 sets. When I backup I grab the oldest set, erase them and backup. If a DVDRW media fails I toss that disk and put in a new one. Since I have at any one time 2 to 3 copies of the file it's quite hard to lose a file.


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(NT) You also store one set of the DVDs in safe deposit box
Nov 30, 2007 11:13AM PST
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Get Blu-ray or HD-DVD RW when it's price fits you
Nov 30, 2007 3:29PM PST

If you're that paranoid, consider backing up in one of the HD formats (Blu-ray or HD-DVD), 30GB fits nicely in one disc. Currently, the price of the writer and media (and the possible potential loss if the media you choose lose the format war) is quite high, but you should consider buying them when the format war is over or when you think the price would be low enough you can lose them if your chosen format lost the war. These medias would then be stored offsite, the further from you the better.

Another alternative, is use Internet backup service. Every now and then, you'll upload data to the service. You'll need a good Internet service for this to work.

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backup 80 gig
Nov 30, 2007 4:32PM PST

If you are serious then your best option is Norton Ghost and an external hard drive.

A complete backup of your hard drive will take about an hour

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And let's not forget the freebies.
Nov 30, 2007 9:07PM PST

I use SYNCBACK to sync what files I want with USB hard disks and a OpenSSH server.

I use G4U's copydisk to clone drives, save drive images as well.


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Best option for backup ..Ghost and an external HDD ?
Dec 1, 2007 12:58AM PST

I guess that depends on your definition of 'best option'.

That said, I love GHOST and have used it extensively for years. It's not the only backup or imaging products I have or use.

I also have a number of external HDDs which I use and have never had any problems with. I use them for data transfer between work and home and to store a 2nd copy of my primary system (partition) images. I have the data on the original HDDs, images of those partitions on a second internal HDD and the 2nd copy of the images (3rd instance of the data) on an external HDD. Once the images or data are saved to the external ...they're disconnected and turned off.

But never would I place my only backup on an external HDD. Looking at the STORAGE FORUM posts here on CNET confirms that external HDDs are perhaps the worst, least reliable platform for the only copy of user data ... and I logically conclude only slightly better if used for backup. If you can't access the drive when you need it which occurs reasonably frequently as evidenced here, what good is it ? External HDDs can be great but too often folks add external HDDs because they've run out of disk space and are too (you fill in the reasons ... too busy, too tired, too intimidated, etc.,) to add an internal HDD. I call it the 'EASY BUTTON' method for increasing disk space. Unfortunately ... many don't realize the additional risks inherent with sensitive peripherals mounted in poorly ventilated enclosures connected externally. Just read the posts...some times they just stop working without warning or apparent reason. Sometimes they become corrupt and will only function with the host system if they're reformatted (wiping out the user's data) notice. Sometimes they're dropped or knocked over or even pulled off the desk or table when someone trips on one of the cables.

Too fragile, too sensitive, too unreliable, too prone to loss or damage for me to use as my only backup.

That's it for now.


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Dec 1, 2007 3:16AM PST

Then where do you back up to? And it's probably unlikely that both my laptop drive and external drive top working at the same time.

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unlikely that both my laptop drive and external drive stop
Dec 1, 2007 4:10AM PST

Sadly this is exactly the scenarios we find in these forums. The machine crashes, they reload the OS, replace the machine and find the files on the external missing...

"Only you can prevent file fires..."


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Unfortunately this comes down to risk management...
Dec 1, 2007 5:15AM PST

How much risk are you willing to take ?

With the laptop and the external HDD running ... a virus or a lightening strike could take out both before you could blink. While chances of killing or damaging both drives simultaneously ... it could happen. So for laptop owners and must have data ... the only solution I see is CDs or DVDs created in such a way as they can be read universally on most any PC.

Using the PC as much as I do, I don't want to lose data or have the PC out of commission .... ergo the reason I use GHOST and image disk 0 partitions C: and D: to a second internal HDD ... plus copy the partition images to an external HDD. I keep 2 or 3 copies of each partition on the internal and the external just in case the most recent image is corrupt or unusable.


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I back up initially to a second internal HDD using GHOST...
Dec 4, 2007 11:46AM PST

then I copy the image(s) to an external HDD. Usually maintain several versions of each partition on the 2nd internal HDD and on the external HDD.


PS...I've never owned a laptop but have recently seen some that have separate bays for two HDDs.

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Online Back-up
Dec 2, 2007 2:07PM PST

I was starting to feel a little nervous about my 8 years of dig photos (36 gigs)that I had on my hard drive. Knew it would take many DVDs to back it all up and I would have to do it routily for it to make any sense. So I did a search online for some ideas and find a company -Carbonite- that backs up my hard drive in the background automatily whenever there is a change. So far, it's working pretty good. Costs about $5/month or less if you choose a 2 year contract.

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go with mozy and a local backup (plus other options)
Dec 2, 2007 2:19PM PST

go with mozy and a local backup

Mozy for daily backups (NOTE: IT WILL TAKE A FEW WEEKS TO UPLOAD depending on your net speed) Once its all there only changes will be updated.
Only bad factor is if you delete a file in error it will delete after 30 days on mozy.

Go with a local 80+ gig drive that you use on a daily basis and backup daily.

use another one to backup weekly/monthly. Would be a good idea to put in a lock box in a bank or fireproof safe @ home

Then DVD's to archive yearly (they will keep for a good while if kept out of light and out of moisture) these should be stored in a bank lockbox

this gives you several recover points where you have the oldest stuff backed up on the most items and the newest (hopefully easiest to replace) on a few...