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death of a hard drive

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stewart

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Hi all
Have just suffered the death of our hard drive on our home computer...now why didn't we have backups????:oops:
I hope to be able to salvage some of the data from the hard drive when I've installed windows on a new hard drive - hopefully more reliable.
As my wife is now using the computer for her new business we need some back up system that is easy to use - how do any of you back up your work? i'm thinking of getting a dvd writer and backing up onto dvd-rw. any comments or alternatives??

thanks all
stewart
 

Chris Knight

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Stewart,
Tough - we all know it will happen one day but when it does, how many of us are really prepared? I am - partially only though, mainly because it it harder to do than it needs to be and I view it as a PITA.

As it is, I use a couple of USB HardBoxes with big drives in them (160-200GB) and when I remember I make an image of my disks using Acronis or Norton Ghost (I use both alternately because I don't fully trust either!). I also back up by simply copying over stuff I use a lot like the My Documents folder.

For critical stuff that I couldn't bear to lose I encrypt it, compress it and ftp a few files over to my third party web servers.

I like the USB hardboxes better than DVDs which are far too small and again a PITA to check. There is no guarantee they will last very long either judging by all I read. However, if you do go the DVD road I recommend a very fast writer, I use a LITEON that I am very pleased with - writes DVDs at 16x
 

wizer

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My method is:

I have a ghost image of the operating system with all the applications i use installed. This image resides on DVD, Backup PC and USB Storage Drive.

For docs, settings, mp3's, etc, etc I use a 3 way system. I have a seperate 80gb HDD on my PC where everything is kept, if the OS goes down I can restore the ghost with minimum (if any) loss. In addition to this I also have a backup PC which sits on my network and runs as a server. This has another 80gb drive which has a mirror image of the first 80gb drive. Finally I have a USB storage drive which I have as a portable store between home and work. This contains the most important stuff.

Actually, thinking about it, I also have a 40gb iRiver MP3 player which holds a bit of data for when i am away from home or office without the usb storage AND a lot of stuff on my work PC.

I have been stung by faulty hdd's and virus's enough to know that having a backup, or five, is handy.

My best recomendation is to buy yourself another hdd and use it purely for saving files. Move the My Documents folder over to it and use it soley for saving important stuff. If you want to be more cautios then the cheapest option is to do a bi-monthly backup to CD. But, as said above, I find this to be a bit of a pain and would prefer not to do it.
 

sxlalan

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Hi Stewart

I use Retrospect to back up my PC (http://www.dantz.com). It will back up to disk, DVD/CD tape etc. The backups are bootable which means that if my system crashes I can just pop in a new drive, boot to the DVD and retrospect will dump the operating system, applications and data back onto the new drive. I have tested this bare metal recovery several times and it is very easy and quick.

I would also consider mirroring your drive. This is very easy to set up and basically you have 2 similar drives in your PC and software or hardware keeps an identical copy of everything on each. If one hard drive dies the other keeps working so you don't loose anything, a warning will just let you know that one of the drives has failed and should be replaced. This system provides great protection against hardware failure, but unlike a traditional backup won't protect you against file deletion/viruses etc (as both drives will contain the same data) so should be used with normal backup software NOT instead of it.

Finally, if you just want to protect data (rather than your OS and applications) and you have a broadband connection you could look at an online backup provider (eg http://www.ibackup.com). With these solutions your valuable data is backed up to a secure datacentre and can generally be accessed from anywhere in the world. These provide the added security of an offsite backup so you are protected from disasters such as fire/flood etc.

Hard drives are notoriously flaky. In our company of approximately 1000 PCs we have about 2 fail each week. These are predominantly in laptops which get a lot more bashing and banging than desktop PCs but the desktops are by no means immune. A good backup system is a must have.

Cheers

Alan
 

GCR

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Stewart

I now use a USB external drive for regular backups of important files - its very easy to make an additional copy or just drag a folder to the drive. I store it well away from the computer, just in case... Periodically I back up to DVD and again store well away from the computer.

Bob
 

Les Mahon

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Steward,

suffice it to say that you are in good company! I was told years ago that there are 2 tyoes of computer users, those who have lost data and those who will - never a truer word spoken.

I have a startup batch that makes a copy of my data directory when th machine is booted - this caters for user stupidity data loss, and I back up my data directory to CD on a weekly basis - I have never found that I need to retain more actual data than will fit on a single CD.

Whatever solution you choose make sure you have a good idea of what is required to bring the PC back to ful working condition - I have been caught a couple of times losing the original instaation files for applications that were downloaded, and then backup just data files. It is remarkably difficult to restore the OS and applications form any form of backup - best to re-install.

Lastly, make sure that you check your backup media regularly to ensure that you have actually got what you think on there - A very large multi-national company I did some work for backed up all of their systems daily and sent the tapes away with a security company to a secure location - all was well untill they needed to restore when they discovered that they were paying for secure storage of hundreds of blank tapes!

Les
 

stewart

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Thanks for the all the replies.
When I ahve the machine up and running again I'll have to sort out thebest method for all of us at home to use - though I suspect I'll be the only one making the back ups!

stewart
 

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