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Best back-up hardrive system/methods??

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by Glock13, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. Glock13


    Jul 9, 2003
    Boston, MA
    The wife just bought a new DSLR 18MP camera. So, we are going to need some new hard drives for storage and backup. I do not want to store them on my main HD in order not to clog things up. What are my best options if I want to have to 2 back-ups? I was thinking one portable USB hard drive and one regular hard drive in an external case? Any thoughts?
  2. keep them on your hard drive, purchase carbonite and backup all of your important files to them. Keeping the only copy on an external hard drive is just asking for the drive to get dropped and you loose everything.

  3. cgwahl

    cgwahl Sheriffs a near

    Feb 15, 2002
    My suggestion is to backup to an external drive (or drives) and possibly use something like Carbonize/Mozy/Amazon S3/whatever else is out there to store them online. The latter will help give you an offsite backup.

    Is up to you if you want to take them off your laptop drive as well though.

    Another possibility is to have multiple drives and have one that gets copied daily and another that is done weekly (or whatever schedule works for you; me, my photos are backed up weekly) which is then kept in your trunk or something...but I've found making backups more of an automatic thing makes them more likely to get done since while you might be gung-ho about doing them for a month or two, over time you'll be lucky to do them monthly. The online backups are nice in that regard since they usually do them in the background.

    However, backing up locally/online/ sure to make sure your backups are working and doing what you think they should be doing. Nothing worse than finding out at the worse possible moment that your backups were not actually successful.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
  4. shotgunred

    shotgunred local trouble maker

    Mar 1, 2008
    Washington (the state)
    If you Only keep your pictures in one place you will lose them. I never want to lose any pictures so I store one set on my hard drive. A second set on a portable hard drive and a third set on a remote computer. If you are going to edit your pictures it is important to keep a set of originals off the computer you edit on. Trust me on this I learned this the hard way.
  5. Ogreon

    Ogreon unlisted

    Oct 3, 2006
    If I were taking a lot of pictures, I would invest in a blu-ray burner.
  6. Pierre!

    Pierre! NRA Life Member

    Jun 20, 2003
    Lovin Sparks Nv!
    There are several reasonable methods to backup that don't have to break you.

    It does really depend on how much data you have.

    Personally, I use Mozy Home for my critical business data. The initial seed to their servers took a week, possibly more.

    The GREAT part about Mozy is that it will also backup to any local drive - USB or eSATA. So I added one of those to the mix, and it works like a charm.

    When I need a file, or a virtual machine backup, it's right here! I don't have to wait for a 10Gb VM drive to download from the internet. Files recover FAST but...

    If the house burns down, the Monsoons flood my office (almost happened) or the swamp cooler on the roof malfunctions and floods my office... all my critical business files are somewhere else encryped in the 'Cloud'.

    Here is another reason I went with this added protection:
    Surviving The Perfect Storm… The Data Protection Strategy Paid Off!

    Here is an article on the type of Hard Drive Caddy or Dock Station I have been using:
    Backup Storage – Inexpensive, Expandable, Portable, and Flexible!

    If you are using Windows 7, you are in the sweet spot!

    Any questions, give me a holler!

    Happy Backup!
  7. IndyGunFreak


    Jan 26, 2001
    I'd go w/ a NAS, w/ 2, 2TB drives (assuming you have a router).

    A Good Nas Enclosure, will run about 150 bucks.

    2tb drives, you can probably find 5400rpm drives, for around 69-89 each, and 7200rpm drives for 95-115 each.

    Set it up in Raid 1 (mirror). Anything added/removed on Drive A, will be added/removed on Drive B, with no work from you. This will give you redundancy, which is the key to backing up.

    2 of these...

    and you're in business.

    If you have an old computer laying around, and you're a little handy with PC hardware, you could build you a NAS, just be careful about how you go about it.. It's not hard. Read my " What I done the last few days"... thread.. :rofl:

  8. Mister_Beefy

    Mister_Beefy Legal & Proper

    Apr 19, 2011

    please provide more info on this.....
  9. Pierre!

    Pierre! NRA Life Member

    Jun 20, 2003
    Lovin Sparks Nv!
    Windows 7 includes drive imaging, and it works. The tutorial I created is after I ran 5 or 6 image recoveries using Windows 7 x32 and x64 based systems.

    The backup seems to be just as useful.

    The 2 links I provided are articles I wrote on using the imaging process, and accessories that are quite useful for backups that will allow you to establish a library of hard drives for recovery purposes.

    My whole house is now Windows 7, and it's pretty easy to manage - 7 systems are fully backed up.

  10. shotgunred

    shotgunred local trouble maker

    Mar 1, 2008
    Washington (the state)
    My off site back up is a friend's computer. I have a drive partition on one of his computers and he has the same on mine. No real cost involved but having the off site backup will save everything if the house burns down.
  11. GAFinch


    Feb 23, 2009
    Keep your primary backup hard drive physically unplugged when you're not using it so it doesn't get hit by lightning. Store the 2nd hard drive at work or at your friend's/dad's house. Keep in mind, though, that if your region gets hit by a hurricane, both locations could get destroyed at the same time. Large online backup plans are getting very cheap, though use one only in addition to a physical hard drive backup.
  12. the monk

    the monk

    Jul 26, 2011
    Northern VA
    Cheap and easy – The cheap way is to get a Pro Flickr account and upload all the pics and forget about it.

    Setting yourself up for future growth -For onsite storage I would recommend you look at Drobo (

    Get this one if you have another computer you can hook it up to to use as a network share -

    Get this one if you just want a stand along NAS (network attached storage) -

    From there I would get Carbonite and back it all up into the cloud, then even if your house burns down you will still have your pictures.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2011

  13. You need a NAS, for sure.

    Assuming you pick the proper device & configuration (I'm a proponent of Netgear's ReadyNAS line) your photos will be mirrored over at least two drives, so when one of the drives dies, you lose no data; you simply swap out the failed drive with a new one, and the data gets mirrored again.

    But since you still only have ONE copy of your data on the NAS, you then need to backup the NAS to an external USB drive, or to an offsite service, preferably both if you really care about keeping your memories safe.

    Also, you have to have a battery backup attached to the NAS, as a power failure while you are transferring data WILL be catastrophic....I learned this the hard way.:faint:

    EDIT TO ADD: Netgear's NAS have automatic backup scheduling, so you can schedule the device to back itself up to a USB drive on a schedule, whenever you like.

    Netgear also offers their own off-site backup called ReadyNAS Vault. Not sure of the pricing, but I think it's pretty reasonable and seems to work fairly well from what I've read.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2011

  14. Dude, reading your thread sealed the deal AGAINST me trying to build my own NAS, as I was considering....and yet you're still recommending to people that they build their own??? :faint:

    Obviously there are lots of people out there who have successfully built their own NAS, but your experience shows that there certainly still is a big margin for lots of error when going that route....I think moreso than when using an off-the-shelf solution.

    BTW, someone above recommended DROBO.....from what I've read they are nice devices, but more expensive and with less features than many other NAS devices.

    Again, I'm a big fan of the Netgear ReadyNAS.
  15. IndyGunFreak


    Jan 26, 2001
    Building your own NAS is fine, using FreeNas was my huge problem.

    Open Filer ( a free program similar to FreeNAS) worked fine, I just didn't care for it. My NAS is running fine now on Ubuntu Server Edition.

    One of the reasons I don't care for the ReadyNAS, etc.. is they are limited. Only 2 drives on most of the "home" models (yeah I know they have some uber expensive ones that have way more).

    If something "goes bad" you're pretty much stuck buying a new one if its out of warranty. On a custom built NAS.. If the motherboard goes out, buy the cheapest motherboard you can find that fits your processor/memory. If the processor goes out, buy a new one. Memory? Get on Ebay, buy a few new ones.

    If I was recommending something for someone not willing to use Linux (although it's very easy to use for just this), I would look at some of the options at NASLite. For the "basic" version that 99% of us would use, it's only $30 bucks.

    Did some Google searching on the above, and it got some pretty good reviews. I figured however, if I'm gonna build my own NAS, I might as well use free software to.. :)

    Don't let my thread scare you, my thread was a result of sheer frustration with FreeNas. Had I started w/ Ubuntu Server, even needing to learn a bit about using the Server OS, I'd have been done in 3-4hrs tops.

    Last edited: Aug 7, 2011
  16. ColCol


    Apr 15, 2010
    I have Vista Home Premium as my OS. I also have a separate "F" drive, as I call it, within the casing of the processor for the sole purpose of storing and editing photos. I copied all these to another computer for a problem.''

    The other computer (older) has XP on it and the extra HDD for the back up photos. Use to I'd use Kanguru(Easy IDE) to back up my XP OS along with TruImage 9.0 but it won't work with Vista. TruImage 9.0 had a "Clone" feature I'd use to clone the entire drive about once a month and it did great with no problems and was entirely bootable.

    What is a simplistic way of backing up Vista the way I did XP.? I'm no computer guru and am looking for a simple way to do this without all the incremental or differential backup options.
  17. Kith


    Jan 18, 2010
    I just want to add that when it comes to backups, redundancy is king.

    Having a portable hard drive in a bank safety deposit box in addition to anything else you might want to do is sound advice. Whatever you do, an off-site backup of some sort gets you past the larger issue of flood/fire/tornado or some kind of natural catastrophe.

    I'll also add that the most stable medium is optical media (cd/dvd/blu-ray). As long as the physical disc itself is undamaged, the data is fine. Won't be erased by a magnet like a portable (non-SSD) hard drive can be, and doesn't have the potential of burning out like solid state devices do. Solid state memory (flash memory) has a finite number of read/write operations before it burns out - and while it's a lot, when it comes to backups it's something to consider.

    Storing DSLR raw images on optical media is a daunting task, though, because each file is so large it takes a huge amount of media to back everything up.

    Using an online service or any third party to store your backups takes control of the backup out of your hands and puts you at the mercy of someone else. I don't say this to recommend not doing it, but it should only be one part of your backup package and not the whole solution.

    Just some thoughts to chew on as you make your decisions, added to some of the excellent advice given above.
  18. Yes, very true. I'll also add that it doesn't matter how many off-site backups you have if they are outdated. Yes, it's a little bit of work to protect your stuff, but ya gotta do it!

    I am not so sure that is correct. My understanding is that optical media can and do degrade rather quickly over time, especially when they are stored in average conditions; i.e.; simply sitting on your shelf.

    I understand that if they are not stored flat - and are instead stored vertically like 99% of us store discs - that the layer where the data is actually stored can shift & distort over the years, rendering the data totally unreadable.

    My understanding is that optical discs are quite sensitive to environmental factors and degrade rather easily.

    I believe that hard drives are the best long-term storage format, and anyone who uses a flash drive as their only backup, frankly, deserves to lose their stuff. Flash drives are meant for easily moving around files, not for storing anything important.

    And if you store your stuff where it stands any chance of getting passed over with a magnet, you seriously need to re-evaluate your situation. ;)
  19. Kith


    Jan 18, 2010
    Yes, this is all true.

    I probably should have explained the qualifier of "as long as the disc itself is undamaged..." a little better.

    UV light (sunlight) is the other disc killer, past what I quoted you mentioning. The sunlight will break down the material the disc is made of and corrupt the data.

    Keep your optical media in cd-binders that use acid free pages. Store the binders laying flat, in a cool, dry place.

    Never mark them with a sharpie, as the chemicals in the marker can break down the disc as well. (this has happened to me, it takes years usually) Use markers specifically designed for marking cd's, or do what I do and use a lightscribe drive to label the discs.

    The foil side of the disc is where the information is. Protect this side at all costs. You can use a Skip Dr. or something to fix the scratches in the clear plastic, but if the foil gets damaged or scratched, whatever information was on that spot is lost.

    The laser makes pits in the foil that equate to dashes and dots, which is in turn binary computer code. This is how the information is stored and retrieved from the disc.

    I still have cd's from a decade ago that work fine, and do see use. Optical storage can last a long time, but not if it's abused or not stored properly.

    I absolutely agree that backups are a lot of work to keep current and valid, but even an older backup is better then no backup.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2011