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Old 04-07-2012, 10:52 AM   #1
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Exclamation My PSA of the day

Back up your computer!!! Computers are great until they crash and you lose years of important documents, photos, videos, and memories. I had a catastrophic failure last week and had to reformat my computer with erases EVERYTHING. Thankfully I had multiple backups (redundand backups using different back up programs. It is a good thing too, because neither backup worked perfectly, but between the two I was able to save everything that I wanted.

Because of this I started to research online backup plans. I never wanted to pay a monthly fee, but this crash had me rethinking that. I found a number of great plans from free to very inexpensive. The one I settled on is called CrashPlan Online Data Backup & Storage – CrashPlan – Backup Software, Disaster Recovery. They have a free option and paid options with a free 30 day trial for the paid version.

I am getting the paid version. For about $50 a year I get unlimited back up including external drives. That is an amazing value if you ask me (No I do not work for them :)

The drawback is that the initial backup can take a while. At first I was backing up everything I had (about 3 terabytes). That was going to take about 3 years to complete. So now I am just starting with what is on my computer and also my photos. That will take about 60 days. The good thing is that as it backs up the files that have backed up are available right away so just because it is going to take so long that is OK because each second I have more and more saved online. Another cool feature is that they have an iPhone and iPad app. You can download any of your data right to your phone or ipad. That is great for music and movies so you can be on a trip and basically have all your movies and music with you.

There are tons of other similar sites out there and from what I have read they are all basically just as good as the next with just small configuration and option differences. I like Crashplan because the price is right and I like how I can set it up. It will let you decided how much of your CPU it uses and you can even allow it to use more at certain times (like when you are not on the computer) and less or even none at other times (when you are heavily using the comp for example).

Please everyone, remember to backup. Don't find yourself in a situation you could have prevented easily. These online backup services are set and forget and then you are safe. Do it right after you close this message. It is well worth it.

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Old 04-07-2012, 12:28 PM   #2
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3 terrabytes? holy moly?

do you have a lot of hd video, or is that all data and pictures?

i was thinking about getting an esata card and a 4 shelf raid array to as a near line storage backup, but if i go for full redundancy with something like raid 10, i'll pay for four 1 terrabyte drives and end up with less than 2 terrabytes useable space after headroom. currently somewhere around $500. and it doesn't upgrade itself.

$50 a year sounds like an awesome deal for that kind of storeage.

thanks for the heads up!
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Old 04-07-2012, 12:43 PM   #3
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Yeah a lot of it is videos, but about 1 tb is music. About 100gb is photos.

I did a quick search for best mac online backup and kept coming up with the same 5 or 6 services. None of them are mac specific. They all (I think) handle PC, Mac, Linux, and others.

$50 is for one computer, but Crashplan also has a family plan that will backup 10 personal computers for not much more money (about $100 a year I think give or take).
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Old 04-07-2012, 01:26 PM   #4
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I have all my word processor files on flash drives and online. My pics are all on flash drives. That is all I am worried about losing in a crash. Of course, I do not use my computer for work...
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Old 04-07-2012, 01:31 PM   #5
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Flash drives are a great idea for backup. Consider storing them off site (friends house, safe deposit box, etc.) in case of fire or flood or other things that could happen.
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Old 04-07-2012, 01:40 PM   #6
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My collection of "i can haz cheezburgr" pics...in a bank vault!

The main thing is our health information and it's all on my laptop. Also saved to Medical ID bracelets and flashdrives. Our MD's also have all the info and I am able to update them online as needed. Our DPOAHC is also updated.

My writing and recipes are what I am afraid to lose...
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Old 04-07-2012, 01:56 PM   #7
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i'm mostly worried about chip degradation over time causing data loss. lose a few critical bits and entire pictures or videos become unreadable.

i figure you have to use as many backup types as possible.
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Old 04-07-2012, 02:05 PM   #8
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I agree Bucky. Use as many different backup types as you can. I currently have 3 different types of full backups going on and I will be adding a fourth. You can never have too many.
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Old 04-07-2012, 02:12 PM   #9
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For those of us with modest needs, are the free storage options enough?
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Old 04-07-2012, 02:52 PM   #10
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Yes, in most cases they are. Many of the services let you back up a few gigs or more for free.
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Old 04-07-2012, 02:53 PM   #11
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Thanks, GB!
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Old 04-07-2012, 02:54 PM   #12
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My pleasure!
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Old 04-07-2012, 02:57 PM   #13
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I suppose my Master's Thesis, such as it is, if I ever get to finish it...should be backed up smarter.
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Old 04-07-2012, 03:08 PM   #14
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It would be a shame to lose that!
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Old 04-10-2012, 03:10 AM   #15
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I use several LOCAL methods for a 3 level backup......

I will *never* trust MY stuff to a remote "cloud" where my data could be stolen or otherwise compromised...if my data is NOT in my hands it's NOT in my control...

A few years ago I had the boot drive on my primary computer do a fatal crash...the heads touched the HDD platters like a bulldozer and the hard drive was rendered a brand name doorstop...beyond the capabilities of a data recovery service...

So since then I back up onto CD-rom disks, and now I use DVD disks as ROM (data) disks...this is my first level backup...

Second level backup for email, photo's, database files, etc go onto Western Digital "Book" external drives...

My newest and third level of backups is also onto external HDD's...in this case I have a HDD "docking system"...the dock is made by www.startech.com and I have the 2 slot version...you simply plug in a *internal* style HDD into a slot, and plug into the computer via USB or eSATA...I have several 1.5tb Western Digital Caviar "Green" drives for audio and video files...

It's not a matter of IF a hard rive will fail, but WHEN...
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Old 04-10-2012, 03:19 AM   #16
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That said...How to I organise my data...???

On my computers (I have 5 in active service) I separate the data files from the program files...and I create sub directories (folders) specifically for certain type of data, such as photo's, music, video, data files, email, letters and documents, downloads, graphics, etc

By having the DATA files kept apart frpom the program files, it's easier to make *incremental* backups of ONLY the data files...not everything (after I've done it once)...
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Old 04-10-2012, 05:59 AM   #17
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Every picture that I take gets edited and sent to the "cloud" immediately. I use google docs to backup documents (not sensitive ones). I do taxes online with turbotax so they have a backup copy that I can print any time. I print copies of the taxes and file them.

I don't have sensitive data on my laptop.

I like the cloud because I can access my stuff pretty much anywhere that there is internet, so I always have my best recipes at the ready, in my pocket, via smartphone.

I don't have an extensive music collection or movies in digital form.

One warning to people considering online backups. If your internet provider has a "cap" to the amount of data you can use, if you are doing massive backups, you can eat up all of your data allowance for the month and then some. I know Comcast has a cap, and I know that a lot of Canadian IPs have caps on theirs as well. Those that use 3g-4g hotspots will have caps as well, usually MUCH smaller than traditional land line based IPs. From what I understand, it doesn't matter whether you are uploading or downloading.
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Old 04-10-2012, 07:36 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Back Rhodes View Post
I use several LOCAL methods for a 3 level backup......

I will *never* trust MY stuff to a remote "cloud" where my data could be stolen or otherwise compromised...if my data is NOT in my hands it's NOT in my control...

A few years ago I had the boot drive on my primary computer do a fatal crash...the heads touched the HDD platters like a bulldozer and the hard drive was rendered a brand name doorstop...beyond the capabilities of a data recovery service...

So since then I back up onto CD-rom disks, and now I use DVD disks as ROM (data) disks...this is my first level backup...

Second level backup for email, photo's, database files, etc go onto Western Digital "Book" external drives...

My newest and third level of backups is also onto external HDD's...in this case I have a HDD "docking system"...the dock is made by www.startech.com and I have the 2 slot version...you simply plug in a *internal* style HDD into a slot, and plug into the computer via USB or eSATA...I have several 1.5tb Western Digital Caviar "Green" drives for audio and video files...

It's not a matter of IF a hard rive will fail, but WHEN...
There are two things to keep in mind with your backup methods. First is that CD's and DVD's are not meant for long term storage. The media has a very short stable lifespan that you can count on. The other thing to consider is that you have all your backups in one physical location so if something happens to that location (like a fire or natural disaster) then the on site backups will not do you much good.
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Old 04-10-2012, 02:18 PM   #19
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If anyone comes across a decent online backup located in Canada, please let me know. I have client data that I would encrypt and then put online, but our privacy regulations make it very iffy to do that on servers that could be subpoenaed by foreign governments.
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