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Old 12-21-2014, 12:25 PM   #1
HarryT
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A lesson on the importance of backups...

I back up all my important files (Calibre library, iTunes library, personal documents, etc) once a week onto an external USB drive using the very good (and free) Microsoft "SyncToy" tool. Today, when I ran the backup, it got half way through the scan in which it decides which files have changed, and hence need copying, and then failed with an error. Investigation revealed a seemingly irrecoverably corrupt file system on the external drive: presumably the result of a hardware failure, given that I'm scrupulous in correctly dismounting drives.

I'm now in the process of doing a sync to a new external drive to create a new backup.

Just goes to prove the old maxim, that there are two types of hard disk: those that have failed, and those which are about to fail!

I haven't lost any data, but it shows the importance of doing regular backups, and that backup drives themselves can (and do) fail.
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Old 12-21-2014, 01:07 PM   #2
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I used to use Quicken. I kept four or five sets (I can't remember now) of rotating backups. One day I needed to restore. Every single one of those multi-disk (think floppies here) backups had a bad spot and wouldn't restore.The bad spots were all in different locations. It wasn't the files being backuped. I learned the hard way that all disks fail sometimes. Fortunatly, I was able to send the sets to Quicken and they were able to restore most of my data.

Nowadays, I backup to a dedicated computer. That computer is backed up to the cloud with Carbonite. I don't ever want to risk losing important data again.
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Old 12-21-2014, 01:31 PM   #3
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I back up to multiple external hard drives and use Western Digital Cloud Storage. I back up all of my personal data and business data this way. I use QuickBooks for my business in conjunction with Neat. I use Neat to make digital copies of all of my invoices so I can now dispose of all of my hardcopy.
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Old 12-21-2014, 01:41 PM   #4
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I do backups on a 32GB flash drive
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Old 12-21-2014, 02:04 PM   #5
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I also back up to a flash drive using Synchredible.
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Old 12-21-2014, 02:12 PM   #6
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It's not just enough to take a backup, you need to verify the backup after completion. I once worked at a company that was making scsi tape backups and the person who set it up didn't understand scsi terminators, and had never verified that the backups were good. When we needed to get something from backup, all of the tapes had issues.
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Old 12-21-2014, 02:45 PM   #7
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I have(?) a 1T external drive I was using for backup (I use good old xcopy) of my Library.
One day the copy crashed with a drive fault. I restarted (the PC locked up), and I can still read anything on the drive EXCEPT that Library folder (causes another lockup). Win or Linux can not fix the drive (and Linux even locks when accessing that disk area)


Flash drives also hard fail without notice

Multiple copies
One of them should be offsite (and high ground and not in a forest or near a volcano)
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Old 12-21-2014, 04:18 PM   #8
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I backup to two external 5TB drives. I use FreeFileSync and it works very well.
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Old 12-21-2014, 04:47 PM   #9
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I actually keep four copies of my data, one on my main computer, one on my laptop and one on two different drobo drives. Drobo is a raid storage device where if a drive goes bad, you can plug in a fresh drive and the data will be recovered. It may be a bit more expensive than using a plain old external drive, but it's a lot more reliable.
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Old 12-21-2014, 06:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgalbrecht View Post
It's not just enough to take a backup, you need to verify the backup after completion. I once worked at a company that was making scsi tape backups and the person who set it up didn't understand scsi terminators, and had never verified that the backups were good. When we needed to get something from backup, all of the tapes had issues.
- can't count the number of times I've found that the recovery procedures were never or rarely tested - or even unknown, because whoever set up the procedures has left the firm.

Doing a backup is easy because you do it every day/week, recovery is hard because you don't do it often, and you're probably stressed.

I do 2 incremental daily backups to local media at shutdown, and incremental weekly backups to a couple of FTP servers. I use the GoodSynch program.
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Old 12-21-2014, 08:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgalbrecht View Post
It's not just enough to take a backup, you need to verify the backup after completion. I once worked at a company that was making scsi tape backups and the person who set it up didn't understand scsi terminators, and had never verified that the backups were good. When we needed to get something from backup, all of the tapes had issues.
Absolutely crucial. I used to use Acronis to create backups of my computer on two drives that I alternated ("to be on the safe side") and found that both backups were corrupted when I needed them. There were quite a few irreplaceable files that could not be recovered from either drive. Now I use two different backup methods (with different drives) and backup to the cloud. I check all of my backups at least once a month. It made me virtually paranoid about backing up my data.
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Old 12-21-2014, 08:20 PM   #12
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I usually just manually backup files that I need. I save them to a 1.5tb drive. Automated backups make me worry that somewhere along the way the program will corrupt files... Judging by this thread, I am right to worry.

The thing is, the chance of any two drives failing at exactly the same time is almost impossible.

I do advise people to get a program called Crystal Disk Info, it's free. It tells you the health of your HDDs. Granted an HDD will not always report an upcoming failure, but a lot of the time it will show errors happening, like bad sectors.

Last edited by Shades; 12-21-2014 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 12-21-2014, 09:22 PM   #13
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The chances of two drives purchased at the same time same place failing at the same time are actually quite high.

In fact, they probably fail for the exact same reason too.
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Old 12-22-2014, 01:36 AM   #14
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+1 for the value of backups!

I use Dropbox Pro @ $10 per month for 1 TB cloud storage, plus $4/month for Packrat which provides unlimited "undelete and restore" previous versions of files. Dropbox recently added Remote wipe which will delete the Dropbox folder from a device registered to you - good for wiping your data from a stolen device as soon as it goes online.

Since Dropbox mirrors the content on any number of computers (stored locally on a computer's hard drive) as well as gives me access from mobile devices, I find it a perfect solution for my personal and business needs. All my files are mirrored in the Dropbox folder of three computers, and I set up this folder in a partition separate from the system/OS partition so I can wipe and reinstall Windows & programs and maintain my data separate and intact. The cost may seem high compared to NAS or external storage backup but the peace of mind for me is well worth it! I was happy paying that amount for 100GB, and Dropbox increased that a few months ago to 10 times the storage (1TB) at no additional cost. I thought Christmas had come early...!!
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Old 12-22-2014, 02:10 AM   #15
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I have around 100 GB of data on my computer HDD, plus around 2 TB of data on external hard drives. All of that gets backed up incrementally to an external 3 TB HDD once a fortnight. The files on my computer undergo changes more often, almost on a daily basis, hence that data is set to additional real-time sync with my OneDrive account. Every now and then I will mount the backed up images on the 3 TB HDD to test for possible corruption.

Wireless external drives are too expensive, and when they do become affordable for me, I will switch over to them so that I can set up continuous real time local backing up of all my data.
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