How good is your backup strategy?

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Mrkvonic, Sep 27, 2009.

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  1. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

    May 9, 2005

    I have just finished reading the excellent Securing your PC and Data thread for the second time, when I thought about the emphasis on backups raised in the thread:

    Which kind of sparked this thread ... How good is your backup routine.

    I'll start ...

    Two facets - OS images, data.

    Basically, we have two desktops and one laptop for primary work, with data mainly kept on desktops and sometimes used on the laptop. Data on the laptop is kept in encrypted containers.

    Test machines (some desktops, laptops, ESXi) contain no important data and are not backed up at all.

    1) OS images

    Windows: Once a month and always before major installs, like periodic Windows updates. Restore proven and tested to work.

    Linux: Created at periodic intervals of about 1-2 months, nothing grand, as restoration and recovery is a simple deal. Restore proven and tested to work.

    Images kept on:

    2nd hard disk on each imaged machine and on the 2nd hard disk on another machine and backed up to 4 external hard disks, 2 in the same room, 1 in the bedroom and 1 always with me, within encrypted containers, plus 2 copies on DVD, 1 in the computer room, 1 in the bedroom.

    2) Data

    Copied daily to 2nd hard disk on the same machine and 2nd hard disk on another machine and 2 external disks. Copied monthly to two more hard disks, the one in bed room and one with me, plus 2 copies on DVD, 1 in the computer room, 1 in the bedroom.

    Additionally, THE most important bits of data kept online in encrypted files and several encrypted USB sticks.


    This leaves me with 6 hard copies for each instance of os image / data, with at least 2 DVD copies (full) every month. Data kept in 4 locations, all removable media is encrypted ... I think it's reasonable and paranoid in every fashion. :)

    Your turn fellas.

  2. Cudni

    Cudni Global Moderator

    May 24, 2009
    half baked strategy with 2 1Tb drives used to store via TrueImage and Windows own backup, full images and twice a week "mission" critical documents only data
  3. Stuff that doesn't change frequently goes on CDs; stuff that does gets synced to a USB stick on every update. I don't bother with encryption because I currently keep nothing compromising on my computer, and my USB stick basically stays with me at all times.

    Being entirely on Linux now, I don't bother with OS backups, seeing as reinstalling takes all of five minutes and updating maybe another fifteen. :cool:
  4. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

    Sep 20, 2003
    I also have a multipronged approach.

    I have 3 main machines, 2 desktops and a Sager laptop, all configured identically and all have the same software configuration. Both Desktops have 2nd internal drives and an external drive

    1) All 3 machines are imaged frequently with Shadow Protect. I run the continous Incrementals on the desktops, so the images are always current to the half hour.

    2. On the machine actively running my business, I frequently use Outback Plus 6 to make a back up of all important data.

    3. At the end of the day I run AJCsofts Directory Sync, and sync the data to both the external hard drive on the active machine, and the external drive on the other machine. The data is then sync'd to the other machine. This way I can shut down at night on one machine, and start up in the morning on either one with no loss in continuity

    4. I also run AJCsofts Activebackup which archives files when they are either saved or closed. This gives me a go back in time look.

    Sounds complicated, but I've trained the gals who work for me how to do it, and it's proved itself. Last vacation I was on first day out, they came in, and turned power on to have the power supply smoke. The just went to the other machine and carried on.

  5. BlueZannetti

    BlueZannetti Registered Member

    Oct 19, 2003
    HP MediaSmart Home Server/2.5 TB net storage with staged pruning of automated nightly backups of 7 home machines. Periodic external backup of server.

    Both sons at college are Mac based. One has a 500 GB Time Capsule, the other runs the 1TB version, running Time Machine. Each also has a bootable external drive clone to handle physical failure. One is currently dealing with that, second time in 4 years, running off the clone until the warranty replacement HDD arrives.

  6. LockBox

    LockBox Registered Member

    Nov 20, 2004
    Here, There and Everywhere
    I keep a good current image (once a month or so) with all the patches, etc. I then run with Returnil and keep a txt file of permanent changes to make for the next image.

    I use two 1TB drives. I backup my data to a 1TB external hard drive. I have a 4GB Truecrypt container that contains all critical data and I backup this file once or twice a week to the external drive. About once a month I swap out 1TB drives at the bank's safe deposit box (cheap protection against fire, theft, etc.).

    I have managed to put my absolute most-critical data inside an encrypted container of about 85MB and I keep a copy of it online at making it available from anywhere in the world.

    I also have an 8GB hardware-encrypted USB stick that's with me at all times with crucial data, passwords, USB apps, virtual PC, etc.

    I am pretty good about doing the necessary backing up and swapping at the bank and feel safe about my routine.
  7. acr1965

    acr1965 Registered Member

    Oct 12, 2006
    Important images/documents/emails are copied to an external hard drive via Karen's Replicator twice a week. Some are burnt to cd and/or saved online. Images/documents/emails and a few videos are about all I would care to be saved.

    My big worry is how to protect the external hard drive from malware since it is always connected to my computer. I have found a few scanners I have used have an issue scanning FAT32 drives which is what my external hard drive has.

    Is there some way to allow Karen's Replicator access to my external hard drive but nothing else?
  8. Rmus

    Rmus Exploit Analyst

    Mar 16, 2005
    I have one desktop and one laptop. A second hard drive in the desktop system is for real-time backup while working. I use ZipBackup a couple of times a week to make full backups of data on 2 1Tb USB hard drives (mirror copies).

  9. I no more

    I no more Registered Member

    Sep 18, 2009
    Okay, I have a question about the OS backup. The way I do it is I take an image of my system partition the same day I first set it up, and that's the only image I ever take. I set up every program I can foresee using, then I stick with this image for around 3 years. I keep all of my commonly used program on another partition, so that I can find them quickly (and set them up quickly). I save virtually everything important (including bookmarks, etc.) to another partition, so that I know I won't have any losses when I restore the image.

    The reason I do this is that I know for a fact that initial image is clean. In fact, I pull the plug on my cable modem when I set up that initial image, and I don't plug it back in until I've taken the image. It's a little more time consuming when the image is restored, but I know every program I have to re-install, and they're all in the same folder on another partition.

    Too complicated? I find that it generally goes much faster than a fresh install and only a little slower than when doing routine backups. One thing I've noticed is that about 80% of the programs I install, I don't miss at all when I restore the image. It really cleans things up. And the rest, I can usually re-install at my leisure (over a period of weeks).
  10. 1boss1

    1boss1 Registered Member

    Jun 26, 2009
    About 90% of my programs are portables (if they don't exist i make them) located in C:\Program Files\Portables

    I have an Opus button that will archive it and copy it to 2 external USB drives, plus i have a .reg file with all important settings, optimizations, custom icons etc i can double click to import in a new OS install.

    With just those 2 i can "almost" turn a vanilla XP install in to my own fully customized environment and all programs installed with a Double Click and an Unzip.. So about 4 clicks.

    Also i take a full baseline image, then one about every month and keep the last 2 or 3 and discard the older ones.
  11. steve161

    steve161 Registered Member

    Nov 22, 2006
    New York
    Have a linux dual boot and a primitive strategy. Work documents, music and pictures are kept in both home directories in case of OS failure. All docs and some music is copied to disk, and pics uploaded to a storage site, in case of computer failure. Like Gullible Jones, I find a reinstall easier than a rescue, and I end up with a new, shiny OS.
  12. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    3 laptops + 3 USB Drives where I keep 2 images of each machine in each USB drive. My backup frequency is usually once a fortnight. In 9 years I only had 1 HD failure without a backup!
  13. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

    Dec 23, 2005
    I use a fileserver with Raid1 for my data. All that is left is the OS and some small installs. I have images in multiple places including optical. I have bartPE boot option in boot.ini, which loads bartPE into ramdisk. Image restoration of OS drive is about 5 minutes, and I do this pretty reguarly especially when testing new things out.

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