Backing up to USB Flash Drive

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Osaban, Sep 12, 2009.

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  1. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

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    To have a very light and extra storage for my images I've backed up an image of my Vista and XP OSs into a Cruzer of 16GB.

    10 GB for Vista and 5 for XP normally compressed by ShadowProtect. I have some questions regarding this operation: It is very time consuming compared to USB Drives (10 minutes for USB Drives versus 50 minutes for the USB Flash Drive) and ShadowProtect automatically split the backup in 3.99 GB chunks, is it normal? Is it because the Flash Drive's file system is FAT32?

    Does anyone know if it is reliable to restore from a Flash Drive? I know that the proof of the pudding is in the eating, but before I might go ahead is there anything I should be aware of?
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2009
  2. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

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    Remember that most always the read rates of USB memory sticks are much higher than write rates. It really does depend on the quality of memory. I have some memory sticks that write very slowly compared to reads, and some higher end sticks that write pretty fast, but even then the read speed is very noticably faster yet.

    So if you are archiving your images, then using them to restore with periodically, it should be fine. If you are writing often, external hdd is fastest or research and find very good usb stick. I use a corsair voyager, and have been glad many times that I spend the money for it, because it really is much faster than most other usb sticks I have bought.

    Also I remember there is a limit to how many write cycles a flash memory has. It is very high, but you will reach it one day with a lot of use. There is a program I believe that will lock a memory stick once you fill it with something, so that write cycles will no longer happen. I can't remember all the details, but I definately remember this was a concern with people putting things like bartPE on USB because of how much reading/writing goes on. Or something along those lines, has been a few years now lol.

    Sul.
     
  3. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

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    You are perfectly right, I've just mounted an image as a test and moving from folder to folder is indeed very fast. As a matter of fact, carrying around a laptop I'm beginning to see some advantages in having a flash drive for file replacement rather than recovering a whole system.

    I certainly was not aware of the write cycles having a limit. I suppose that no matter what one uses, nothing lasts for ever, and in many ways I 'm going through this phase of wanting a redundancy strategy in any possible situation.
    Nowadays I'm more wary of system failure than potential infections.
     
  4. HAN

    HAN Registered Member

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    I also use USB flash drives as an alternative backup medium (I also use DVD and regular USB hard drives.) And they are slower than a USB hard drive. But they are also much easier to store off site. :)

    I collect USB flash drives like crazy. I've owned dozens. The 2 I currently use for images are 32GB models from Patriot and Kingston. Both run about half as fast as a good USB hard drive.

    I can't remember the exact numbers but seems like I read that decent quality flash drives have 7 figure read/write life cycles... which should mean a long time for me.

    As for size, I think it's under 4 GB for the reason you cite, FAT32. It also is a good size to use for regular DVDs. It allows you to copy files from FAT32 drives, DVD and NTFS. Lots of options without changing settings. :D
     
  5. 1boss1

    1boss1 Registered Member

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    You can format it as NTFS which will overcome the size limit and improve performance. Doing that does cause more writes, which decreases the life cycle.. But having said that, i've got a 4GB one here that's about 4 years old that's had a "lot" of writes done to it and it's still going fine.

    If you switch it to NTFS just be aware to always use the "Safety Remove Hardware" option and don't just yank it out.
     
  6. HAN

    HAN Registered Member

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    Great advice for any USB drive, NTFS or not. :)
     
  7. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

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    I always use the safety remove option, can you tell me how to format it as NTFS? Thank you for all the replies.
    I've just noticed that by clicking properties and format it gives you a choice between FAT32 and NTFS....
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2009
  8. 1boss1

    1boss1 Registered Member

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    In "My Computer" right click it and go "Properties" then the Hardware tab will show all your drives. Just pick your drive and go "Properties" again then you need to optimize it for performance.

    usb-drive.png

    Once you done that, right click the drive again and select "Format" from the context menu and you will have the NTFS option available.

    Obviously do it on an empty stick.

    Edit: You got it, mostly they aren't enabled like that and you only have "FAT" available to format them and you have to switch them via the method above.
     
  9. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

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    Thanks a lot.
     
  10. HAN

    HAN Registered Member

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    Just for fun, if you want to speed benchmark your USB drive against what other users have experienced, USBDeview can easily do that. http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/usb_devices_view.html
    Results Site http://usbspeed.nirsoft.net/

    Of course, I also use USBDeview (for it's original purpose) to manage my USB drives/devices. I have even cured iPod problems with it. FWIW, it is the best program of it's type.
     
  11. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

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    I use ATTO to test hdds and USB drives, whether USB hdd or USB flash memory.

    Sul.
     
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