Recommend backup scheme for photos, music?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by rgombine, Feb 4, 2007.

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  1. rgombine

    rgombine Registered Member

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    I am a new ATI home 10.0 user. I was looking for input in desiging a backup scheme.

    After doing some reading on this forum, I have come away with the impression that there is little to be gained (from a disk space standpoint) by using ATI to image music and photos as these files can't be compressed much. Given that, I was thinking of using the following strategy. :


    1. Install a second HD (250GB).
    2. Move all my data to the 2nd drive by changing location of "my documents"
    3. Use ATI to create a weekly full image backup of my C drive on a 500GB USB drive (OS,programs)
    4. Use the backup utility that comes w/ my Western Digital USB HD to back up music and photos to folders on external HD.

    I figured this would give me a bootable copy of the Os and progrms in the event of HD failure, as well as a backup of my photos and music.

    As I mentioned, I'm pretty new to this Any critiques, criticism, and comments would be greatly appreciated.

    RG
     
  2. Ralphie

    Ralphie Registered Member

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    You're right in that photos and music cannot be compressed much to be worth it using TI as a backup solution. So I would go with all your points except #4 if that utility uses a proprietary format to backup your photos and music.
    If it does, I would simply use windows explorer to copy those photos and music over to the external.
     
  3. CatFan432

    CatFan432 Registered Member

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    I agree with Ralphie, with the addition that rather than copy, you might use a sync program, as the program will free you from keeping track of which new new files to copy. Microsoft has a free one, SyncToy, http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/digitalphotography/prophoto/synctoy.mspx which is worth looking at to see if syncing the files is for you. If you want more features, there are quite a few excellent sync programs available for purchase with very useful features.
     
  4. zippo2007

    zippo2007 Registered Member

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    whenever I want to backup data, and that means simply copying it, and moving it,

    I just use WinRAR to archive the folder, and then I copy it to a DVD-R or DVD+R disc, I then run WinRAR on the archive file ( *.rar ) and then make sure it is valid and work, then I go ahead and delete the folder's contents on my computer.

    I find this the most simple way to do it for only 1 or 2 or 3 folders, and I know I will never have a problem restoring it.

    I don't really know if I would want to trust a backup/restore program to do a simple task like this.
     
  5. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    Are you saying you write a .rar archive of your files to DVD, validate it and then delete the folder's contents on your HD thus leaving your only copy of files on DVD? If so, you are making a big mistake.
     
  6. zippo2007

    zippo2007 Registered Member

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    Hi seekforever,

    Yes, this is what I have been doing for years now, I used to do it this way with winzip when that was the only program out.

    I do however make 2 copies if it is family photos. I take a lot of digital images, so I make 2 copies ( 2 physically separate discs ) just in case one dvd ever gets scratched, dropped, etc.

    Please give me more info, why my method is not good. If one is running out of hard drive space, then there is no other way to do it, as I see it.

    It doesn't matter in reality, how you get the files onto your dvd-r disc, as long as you know they are working, and you make a second one for insurance.

    I don't see how TrueImage would do anything different however, it's not really the backup method, but rather the integrity of the actual storage media that would be in question a few years from now, wouldn't it ?

    I've appreciate you to elaborate on what you are saying, as I'd like to learn if
    there is a major flaw in my way of trying to save my family photos that I take.

    thanks for any more info.
     
  7. beckygb

    beckygb Registered Member

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    Even though music and photos wont compress much using ATI why complicate things? Other files in your ‘My Documents’ will compress. By splitting the data and just copying those files you wont gain any add’l backup space. That is unless you want to routinely backup the data files without backing up system and program files. Personally I prefer to backup everything as there are constantly subtle changes to the system and program files going on all the time.

    I have one drive; C: that has all my files (system, program, and data), and an external usb HDD. I do a full backup with ATI once a week and increments every day or so to the external drive. I only delete backups when the external drive starts to fill up; deleting the oldest backup set first.
    Becky
     
  8. zippo2007

    zippo2007 Registered Member

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    Just an addition to my other post for seekforever, and anyone else.

    One of the reasons I use WinRAR to backup photos etc, is not for compression
    sake, ( many things don't compress well anyway )

    however, for me, by creating a winRar file(s) I can then test the integrity
    of those files once they are on the DVD-r or DVD+R disc.

    If I copy over 10,000 images to a blank dvd disc, I could have potential problems with some of them, so I just want to make every assurance that the files are ok.

    The other thing is this, if you use a NAS disc, to transfer files, we have found at work, that from time to time, files trasferred in this manner sometimes get errors, and window never picks up on that error ! , so you can transfer files from one comptuter to your NAS drive, then somebody takes those files, puts them on their drive, and maybe later burns a disc from them, and doesn't realize that some of the files failed a CRC test.

    By creating a rar file(s) out of files transferred over your NAS, you can be 1000% sure that the files are 100% valid on the other end.

    Anyway, I thought I should add that in....

    BeckyGB, yes, I completely agree with you, - why complicate things, there's really no advantage to using TrueImage to back up a few files or folders here and there, so I agree with you 100% , I just re-read what you wrote, and I see you are using incremental backups with TI, I should try
    this out and see how this works ( because we can test the integrity of the files, so thanks for posting that info ))

    Seething, please elaborate on your comments though, I look forward to learning something, I just hope I haven't been doing the wrong thing, - I've never had a problem with my method though. Many times you don't have the choice to leave files on your computer, so you must back them up and delete them, so I guess I'm not really understanding what you meant, anyway I look forward to hearing from you :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2007
  9. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    Hi zippo2007,

    My concern is that you have all your eggs in the optical media basket which I consider to be the least reliable media. Making 2 verified copies is better. I don't have confidence that a DVD I made a year ago will always be readable even though the odds are in its favor for that timeframe. (I have much less faith in RW DVDs.) The data people will say you are lacking diversity of media.

    Winrar is a good program from what I understand but you are also putting your files into a container. This may possibly cause the entire archive to become unuseable because of the loss of a few bits in a critical sector due to media failure. I am speaking in general container-file terms - Winrar experts may be able to say that is impossible. If your files are separate entities then you only lose 1 file.

    I saw a TV program the other night on computer data security particularly as it impacted the professional photographers. Preferred method of backing up files was to write them to HD and put the HD on the shelf for long-term storage. I can see where this method isn't perfect but that is what these people were doing.

    Anyway this is my view on the situation (apart from the TV program note). I obviously don't know your budget but if I could I'd get another HD and do your Winrar trick but leave the originals on the HD for diversity.
     
  10. CatFan432

    CatFan432 Registered Member

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    I have approximately 60GB of digital photos that I keep on a hard drive. I use a sync program to keep these duplicated, whether it involves additions, deletions, or changes, to an external HD. Once the initial sync is done, a typical time to bring the sync up to date is under two minutes, often less. I use the same process for all my other data files, all of which are on partitions other than the O/S partition. I use TI to run a daily full image on my O\S drive, approximately 7GB, which takes about 3 minutes.

    This split method allows me to bring everything up to date in 10 minutes at the most. Added benefits are no incremental of differential files to be concerned with, and, more important, no irreplaceable files in a large backup file of proprietary format.

    CatFan
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2007
  11. zippo2007

    zippo2007 Registered Member

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    Hi again seekforever,

    Thanks a bunch for elaborating. It's funny you should mention that
    show on TV. You must be from Canada, as that was a CTV broadcast ,
    the funny thing is this........ I also watched that SAME segment :D

    Gee, it's a small world :)

    I am now of course a bit worried. Yes, I have many things on DVD that were rarred.

    And you give some good advice.... I taped my mom's 70th Birthday celebration 2 years ago, and had it all in rars on some very el-cheapo no-name CDR discs.

    I put the rars all on 2 discs, and guess what......... one stinking .rar file is corrupt, and so I cannot extract even 1 bit of the movie :'(

    This will teach me to make more than one copy of something, I do so now, but I hadn't back then. So yes, you gave the perfect example, as that is what happened to me.

    I guess with the price of hard drives now, it's the best thing to do.. just buy another one.

    Thanks for getting back to me, you gave some great info there.
    thanks again.

     
  12. zippo2007

    zippo2007 Registered Member

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    Hi CatFan432,

    A very interesting post.

    Can you explain why making a backup of your system drive ( your OS drive ) is important on a daily basis ? I'm not up to speed on why this is something I should be doing. Does the OS drive change on a daily basis ?

    I like the way you do this, a very good idea.


     
  13. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    Hi again,
    Yes, in Ontario and it was CTV alright!

    Unlike Catfan432 I don't image my OS drive everyday - only when I feel I have made some significant change or just because maybe I should make a backup since it has been a while. I do believe in having a string of backups so if the latest is no good for any reason there is the previous one to try. BTW, your writing to DVDs and keeping them does have this advantage. I do copy some backups to DVD and put them in an old spindle pack and just let them accummulate.

    I also keep my data separate from the OS. I want to be able to blow away C for any reason at anytime and not worry about any datafiles and like he says it only takes 3 minutes to backup the OS disk.
     
  14. CatFan432

    CatFan432 Registered Member

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    It's not so much that it's critical as it's just very convenient, quick and easy to do with a scheduled task, as the image files are small and I can keep several days worth without a strain on space, so I just decided why not?

    The other advantage to keeping the system image small is that I can run a quick image before installing an upgrade or trying a new program, then if I'm not happy with what I see, a restore gets me back to where I started. This came in very handy just last week when my firewall, after an upgrade, got into an unsolvable conflict with another program.

    CF
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2007
  15. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    Being able to do things like this quickly is worth its weight in gold. If it is slow, you won't do it!
     
  16. rgombine

    rgombine Registered Member

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    Thanks for all the responses.

    CatFan -- I find your recommendation the most appealing, esp. given my setup of two internal drives and and external USB drive. Thanks for the synctoy suggestion. You hint there are others w/ better feature sets. What are you currently using? Are there programs which do verification of the copied data as well as sync/copy?

    Ralphie -- I will need to see if the backup software puts it in a proprietary format or just copies it. Unfortunately, I just got the drive today, and Western Digital supplied the wrong power cable so I can't use it!

    Zippo -- My concern with WinRar (about which I know nothing), is that it sounds as though it's s another proprietary format that could potentially fail. Is it then any better than just backing up an image w/ ATI and verifying the copy?

    Beckygb -- I agree that a separate data backup PLUS an ATI image does complicate things somewhat. However, I'm worried that if I can't restore an image, I'll be completely out of luck! While I will be testing my original image of my C drive (by imaging it first to a spare drive, then back to the original C) I won't be able to verify to a backup drive every time I make an image. Also, I should have pointed out that almost ALL my data is photo and music. I have a couple of word files and power point presentations, but not enough to get excited about ATI compressing it.

    Again, thanks for all the input.
     
  17. zippo2007

    zippo2007 Registered Member

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    rgombine,

    No, WinRAR is not better than TI in any way I supposed, however.... if
    we take the arguement into question about a single file being bad in a backup sequence, then in reality, TrueImage is also prone to the exact same potential problems that WinRAR is prone to.

    Let's say for example we create a TrueImage backup of a hard drive, and tell IT to break up the pieces into 700 meg pieces. Let's say we have 5 of them.

    If one of those pieces fails verification, then NONE of the backup will be able to be restored ( please correct me if I am wrong here ) , so with this being said, there really is no difference between the two pieces of software.

    I must have mention, WinRAR is NOT a backup software, - it doesn't backup hard drives and restore them ( it's not meant for that )

    It's a good question though.



     
  18. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    Right now I am trying the freeware version of Syncback from:

    http://www.2brightsparks.com/

    Under the Downloads menu there is a Freeware entry.

    This program has been around a while and some really like it. I tried the lastest Synctoy v1.4 and it was OK but it choked on 1 file for no obvious reason when first making the copies. You also need the MS .net framework installed. I scheduled the task and it copied the new file as intended but it gave the "Sorry we have encountered an error..." Window whenit was done. I Googled Synctoy and the scheduler error has happened to others.

    Anyway I am trying Syncback but have no comment on it yet.
     
  19. CatFan432

    CatFan432 Registered Member

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    I'm using ViceVersa Pro. You can get a trial download here: http://www.tgrmn.com/. It's not inexpensive, but I wanted some of the automated features.

    I didn't know about the SyncToy problems seekforever mentioned. Another one is GoodSync, that is free unless you reach certain thresholds, then it starts prompting you to buy: http://www.goodsync.com/land/land.php?affid=googs&frm=frame4

    Also, if you like, you could post a question about sync programs on this Wilders forum: https://www.wilderssecurity.com/forumdisplay.php?f=48. You'll probably get quite a bit of input.

    Good luck,
    CF
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2007
  20. valnar

    valnar Registered Member

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    I currently use "Second Copy". It works great to my USB hard drive and automates the sync process for me. When I upgrade to a NAS, it'll handle that too. It has just enough options to be full featured without being overly complex.

    http://www.centered.com/

    Robert
     
  21. zippo2007

    zippo2007 Registered Member

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    Yup, great software, and *very easy * to use, yet very very powerful.
    I've been using it since the day it started.

    Talk about an easy program. It's so easy, and staightforward, that somebody new to computers can figure it out. Don't let the simple interfeace fool you though, it's very powerful, and has lots of very advanced features.

    I've tried many, and I still love SecondCopy.


     
  22. alegator

    alegator Registered Member

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    Interesting thread. I think that the best backup option is to copy/paste with regular Windows Explorer all data (My Documents, Music, programs preferences, IE Favorites, OE folders, etc etc etc) to a hard drive (either internal or external), and to do a full backup image of the OS+Programs with a backup software (TI, Ghost, etc) to a 2nd internal hard drive. In case the restore operation fails because of corruption or whatever other eason, you can always fresh reinstall your OS+programs (assumming of course you keep the corresponding installation CD's/DVD's) and then copy back your data.
    One question though, no one mentioned the alternate option of cloning the main disc to a 2nd internal one instead of just doing a full imaging. When you clone you can always test if it will boot and if the cloning was successful right away (and you save time not having to restore the image). Any feedback on this?
     
  23. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    I find tht winzip is more likely to generate corrupted files in it's archive than is ATI, So I jsut ust ATI to backup pics and music.

    sh

     
  24. jgl51

    jgl51 Registered Member

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    When you say "back-up" do oyu mention doing an incremental true image or copying new files ot the external USB rive?
    If you do a true image, how can you delete the "old backups"?

    On an toher part of this thread I am also a bit confused whether to do a cloning or a true image (my second drive is external to my notebook)?
     
  25. phil.brady

    phil.brady Registered Member

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    Apart from the merits of media (DVD vs hard disk), and of software to write it (TI, synchtoy, Windows explorer etc) I think you need to look beyond disk corruption, because that's not your only hazard.

    If the media holding the copy/copies is in the same PC box as your original disk, or on a shelf alongside then you lose it anyway when a burglar or fire strikes.

    So, perhaps important uninsurable stuff should have more copies and be held in a firesafe, or in a second location (eg friend's house).

    Phil
     
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