Computer Backup

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I have talked many times in the past about how critical it is to regularly back up your computer data. Here are some excellent tips sent in by a community member, to help you decide what to back up, when to back up, and HOW to back up.

  • Do not backup to only one specific drive. Many people often backup their information to one specific drive and think they are safe. Chances are that drive that they have backed up their data on, will fail at some point. The best way to backup your information is to backup on multiple drives. Therefore, if one drive fails you can easily locate another one where the data is located. There are many websites that will allow you to use a certain amount of space to backup your information for a low fee. Using these types of websites are a great way to backup your data when your other drives may fail on you. Remember, the more places you have the data stored, the more likely you will be able to recover it.
  • Protect your backup drives. Sometimes, hard drives will fail and you will loose your data. There are some ways you can avoid this from happening to you. To prevent a hard drive from failure, check to make sure it is in a healthy condition. To do this, you need to check to see if it’s stable. Some software will tell you if the drive is in an good condition or if it may fail some time in the near future. A free method to make sure the hard drive is in good shape is to defrag the files on the hard drive. In some cases, your files will separate and become fragmented. In Windows, there is a free program called “Disk Defragmenter”. This program will let you select the drives you want to defrag. You can also you Disk Keeper, a software program which does the same thing as Disk Defragmenter, but does a better job.
  • Organize your data. You may have heard many times, that you should organize your data to make sure you never loose your important information. However, when a day comes and you decide to backup some data that you do not place in folders, you could cause a habit of doing it over and over again. Sooner or later, you will see that all of your data is unorganized and hard to find. Always make sure you backup your things in either folders or a method you prefer to find your data easier. I recommend using sub folders as well. This will let you find things more specific to what you are trying to search for. To do this, create a regular empty folder on the drive, and then open the folder. Create another folder inside that folder, and place the files inside of it. Then, create another folder inside the same folder you have just made and place files into that. This way, you can locate each folder and see which files are inside of them.
  • Know which drives to use. Drives such as, Flash Drives are great way to backup small things such as documents or even programs, depending on the size on the flash drive. Flash Drives can range from 16mb all the way up to 32Gigs. If you are thinking about backing up things such as movie files or music, I highly recommend to purchase a external hard drive. These can range from 120gigs to 500gigs. Remember though, the speed of the data transfer may be slow, because it is USB 2.0. This also holds true for fire wire (IEEE1394) ports. In order to transfer data across one drive to another at a fast speed, you must use Internal Hard Drives. These drives can easily transfer data no matter what kind of data it is. SATA cables are much more faster than the old ATA cables, so if you are planning to look for the best speed, try to buy hard drives that support SATA cables. Just make sure your motherboard can support SATA.
  • BONUS TIP!! Backup as many times as you can. When disaster strikes, and you have lost all your data, you will blame yourself for not backing up your things. I recommend backing up important data every once a week. This way, it ensures you of not loosing your data and you are well aware that you are safe if disaster did strike.

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41 thoughts on “Computer Backup”

  1. johnaiton i went into it and SIS Serial ATA mode was on RAID so i switched it over to IDE which fixed it but i havent been able to enable the hard drive S.M.A.R.T function

  2. I never really have to back anything up. I also use flickr for photos, and youtube for the videos i make. I don’t have to back up documents because I use Google docs and spreadsheets. I never back things up!

  3. hes not self pro-claimed but he does have fanboy tendencies…lol

    And Im not baggin on him. I love him and his show so dont make this about flaming cuz its not. =D

  4. my sata drive broke a week ago as the people that i brought my pc from was putting in both sata power and 4 pin power into the hard drive and i think its basically over powered or overheated as i had been using my pc a lot in the last few weeks but it come with a 3 year warranty but i still lost every thing πŸ™

  5. Same here Idiontonuni, i never back up my stuff. I am thinking about starting to back up when i get a new iMac. Use time machine.

  6. I use Carbonite. It does live offsite backups all the time. There’s a lot of features it doesn’t have, but it’s cheap. It’s a great supplement to ordinary backups, but probably not a good replacement for regular backups.

  7. HI,
    I want to image or clone a complete C: IDE 80GB HD and place the clone or image in a safe or off the computer. Then every month do the same over the image or cloned drive. I would like to use a Portable USB drive like Simple TECH 250 GB, rather than installing a D: internal drive and jumpering it and finally removing it to the safe place and having to do this incrementally every month.
    What type of external USB or Media do you suggest and what software would you use for the clone or image. I want the least hassle should my original C: drive crash and have to use my exact backup to boot after being restored, or if cloned, just running like nothing changed on its first boot up,

    This assumes that I can boot USB from my mother board. What about using a Usb to ide external transfer device? I saw one that could be an 80 GB exact drive as my C: drive and connect it through a USB2 cable to an Ide connector and plug the external HD’s PS into the wall. Then making a copy or image of the C: drive to the External IDe drive.

    I could then save this IDe drive as a spare backup that would boot if the C: drive crashed. And incrementally, at monthly intervals update the clone or image.of C: on to it? Will this work? What software do you recommend? Acronis true Image or Ghost, etc.?

    Thanks Chris,

    Miles

  8. If you looking for a free location to store up to 1GB of data, check out http://skydrive.live.com. It is a Microsoft Windows Live program that is based on the Internet. It is currently in beta but I haven’t noticed a lot of bugs. I do have two suggestions:

    1. Use Internet Explorer to upload files (there is an ActiveX plugin that allows you to upload in a drag-and-drop interface)
    2. Use any other browser to download, files (as of yesterday, I have still not be able to use Internet Explorer to download files)

  9. Well I’ve ben a big fan of backup redundancy!! myself
    the few seconds or minutes to dump files of a flash drive
    to backup folders on a hard disc them burning them to either @12 cent CD/DVD disc is well worth the time it takes.
    I also have some favorite CD/DVD database search programs so that i can catalog and search my backup discs on both Windows and Linux

  10. Having worked with computers for 25 years I strongly agree that frequent backups are needed. In the early year we lost lots of data (and work) due to drive failures.

    However, you left out one thing, off-site storage. If your house/appartment burms down or gets tornado-ed all is gone. I make several backup copies to DVD-RWs and keep a set in a locked drawer at my work office. The online storage works but, I am concerned about privacy.

  11. I love being a Gnomie. I don’t know how long I have been but Lockergnome is my favorite e-news with the fantastic combination of technology and real life. Heck, I even went out and bought a MacBook after Chris began to get all worked up about it and I love it (using now).

    This is the one topic that really blows me away because I do not understand why Chris keeps pushing on-site back-up! The bottom line is that most people will never, ever, ever take the time to back-up their computers manually and, even if they do, how in the world is on-site back-up the best route?? What happens if you have a catastrophe on-site? Lightning strike, theft, fire, water damage? The link is just as weak as the frailties of a crash.

    It happened to me (more than once)….screeeetch….CRASH! Oh I got some data back, lost some and spend a ton of time through the process. And, believe it or not, I hear the same story all of the time. Even after crashes, people still will not take the time to back-up. Since I tried online back-up, life has not been the same. No longer to I get the “have I or will I ever back up my life..ah, er data pit in my stomach. Carbonite offers the option to show the little green button next to each and every icon on my computer so I know it has been backed up. I do occasionally add the redundancy of a back-up to my Lacie 500g drive (time machine) but it is only for the slight paranoia that my online system may fail.

    Too long already but I ad to get that off my chest!

  12. Part 2

    It happened to me (more than once)….screeeetch….CRASH! Oh, I got some data back, lost some and spend a ton of time through the process. And, believe it or not, I hear the same story all of the time. Even after crashes, people still will not take the time to back-up. Since I tried online back-up, life has not been the same. No longer to I get the “have I or will I ever back up my life..ah, er data pit in my stomach. Carbonite offers the option to show the little green button next to each and every icon on my computer so I know it has been backed up. I do occasionally add the redundancy of a back-up to my Lacie 500g drive (time machine) but it is only for the slight paranoia that my online system may fail.

    Too long already but I ad to get that off my chest!

  13. thats your porb and after you install xp again you can get the drivers by windows updates alot of times anyways so about the other stuff your shit out of luck lol

  14. I prefer to make an exact clone of my drive to another drive (internal in my case) and just have a perfect/complete backup “system” that I can go to by changing the boot order in the bios and booting to the backup drive. Replace the bad drive and clone it from the backup and your done in short order.
    Backing up to the same drive is much akin to ‘re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titianic…’

  15. Internal hard drives are a good initial place to backup, BUT… and I have personally seen this on 2 different occasions, computer power supplies can short out and literally fry the internals of a computer.

    During my days as tech support, a person pushed the computer’s on button, there was a flash, a loud spark, and then smoke came pouring out of the power supply. When I tried to fix the computer, the video/sound/network cards were toast, both hard drives were toast, but the processor and the memory were fine. I thought for sure that the memory would be toast, but it worked just fine. And this computer was plugged into a very nice UPS battery backup.

    An external hard drive is absolutely necessary if you value your files. Sure, backup to an internal drive first, but then you need to backup to an external drive. And I would recommend that the external drive is turned off except for making the backups and when recovery is necessary.

    And I would get firewire. USB2 is ok, but firewire400 is as fast as USB2, and firewire800 is twice as fast as either of them. Once you have used firewire800, USB2 just seems so slow for backing up large amounts of data. IEEE1394a -> firewire400 and IEEE1394b -> firewire800

  16. I know the importance of making backups for short term use of files. But for long term use of backups I no longer use. Because the backed up files change and new versions come out.

    When I worked in Computer Operations at the Univ. of Houston we backed up the main frames every night, and also performed weekly, and monthly backups of the Univ. data. These backups were kept in an offsite storage area.

    Backups are good and can save time after a system crash.

    Today I will explore backups on my new operating system Ubuntu Linux.
    2 days ago Microsuck notified me that my legally owned Windows XP pro disk could not be activated because I have activated it too many times. I have owned the XP pro disk since 2001 and over the years because of Windows crashes and hardware failures have reinstalled many times.

    I completely changed over to Ubuntu linux 2 days ago.

    I will never use a Microsoft product again. Microsoft should not and will not tell me anymore that I cannot use a product that I bought and paid for
    and is in my own home.

  17. I don’t want to spend money on buying a new hard drive. I would rather partition or if i format my whole hard drive then store all my files on my old computer.

  18. I think that the most important aspects of backup are that it should happen automatically, and that it should be kept off-site.

    If it isn’t automatic, then the chances are that it won’t be done at all. And if it isn’t offsite, then there is a good chance that the backup will be destroyed by the same event that destroyed the original data. This could be something major like a hurricane or wildfire, or just something mundane like a power surge or a computer virus. In any case, an offsite backup should survive.

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