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Network Backup


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#1 k_woodhouse

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 10:03 AM

Hi,

First, a little bit about my network. In my house there are three computers - a main desktop PC (running Windows 7) that connects directly to a wireless router (ethernet). There are also two laptops (both running Windows Vista) that connect wirelessly to the router and the router connects to the modem.

We recently invested in a 1.5TB external hard drive. The exact model (Seagate FreeAgent Desk 1.5TB) is found here. The aim is to set up an automatic backup routine that will backup all three computers. The hard drives in each computer are 300GB for each laptop and 500GB for the desktop (although actual used disk space is approximately 500-600GB in total for all three computers).

So far, I have managed to set up the external hard drive as a shared drive from the desktop using Vista's folder sharing options, and the two laptops can see and connect to it.

Now, I need help setting up a backup routine. What backup or imaging program(s) would you recommend? The hard drive came with some backup software, do you know if this is any good? What settings should I use to create an automatic backup routine?

Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated, and there may be things I haven't even considered.

Thanks in advance :thumbsup:

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#2 HighDesertBum

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 05:35 PM

Hi,

First, a little bit about my network. In my house there are three computers - a main desktop PC (running Windows 7) that connects directly to a wireless router (ethernet). There are also two laptops (both running Windows Vista) that connect wirelessly to the router and the router connects to the modem.

We recently invested in a 1.5TB external hard drive. The exact model (Seagate FreeAgent Desk 1.5TB) is found <a href="http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/products/external/freeagent/freeagent_desk/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">here</a>. The aim is to set up an automatic backup routine that will backup all three computers. The hard drives in each computer are 300GB for each laptop and 500GB for the desktop (although actual used disk space is approximately 500-600GB in total for all three computers).

So far, I have managed to set up the external hard drive as a shared drive from the desktop using Vista's folder sharing options, and the two laptops can see and connect to it.

Now, I need help setting up a backup routine. What backup or imaging program(s) would you recommend? The hard drive came with some backup software, do you know if this is any good? What settings should I use to create an automatic backup routine?

Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated, and there may be things I haven't even considered.

Thanks in advance <img src="http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":thumbsup:" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />



This was taken directly from this website:
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic34773.html

1-Backup your data!

Regardless of whether or not you have a malware infection, routinely backing up your data should be an important part of every computer users life. Whether it be a hard drive that has failed or malware that has caused your computer to become inoperable, not having your files, pictures, email, and music can be a disaster. We therefore suggest that before we move forward with this cleaning process, you first backup your data to a secure location. That secure location could be a burnable DVD, an external backup drive, or another computer. I have listed free backup software that you can use below:

* Cobian Backup
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/backup-and-restore-data-with-cobian-backup/
* DriveImage XML
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/backup-your-computer-with-driveimage-xml/
* Microsoft Backup for XP
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/setup/learnmore/bott_03july14.mspx
* Vista Complete PC Backup
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/how-to-use-vista-complete-pc-backup/

I've used Cobian and DriveImage XML which are both free products. From your post, it sounds like Cobian would be more up your alley. You could start off with a full backup and then incremental backups following that into specific folders for each computer. I've used DriveImage XML for more system recovery applications when I need to transport an entire drive worth of content to another for upgrade or system failure purposes. Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with Seagate's application and won't be any help there, but, you have many avenues to select from.

#3 k_woodhouse

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 09:07 AM

Thanks for replying :trumpet:

I'm going to go with Cobian, since it backs up files, instead of imaging the drive, so I've got the latest release of Cobian (10) installed on all three computers.

I think I'll go with a weekly full backup, plus a daily differential. From what I've read, that should be a good trade off between ease of restoring and size of backups. The 1.5TB gives quite a bit of lenience for file size at the moment, since only about 500GB needs to be backed up.

Do you have any recommendations for settings? Encryption, compression? I know compression would be useful to save disk space, but it takes time, and I'm not pushed for disk space right now. Similarly, encryption takes quite a while, but the drive is shared on the network, so any potential hackers would have fairly easy access to every file on all three systems :thumbsup:

Something specific to Cobian. If I set up a full backup on a particular day as one task, and the daily differential as another task, will the differential compare current files to the weekly full backup and only copy changes, or do I need to setup a daily task with a regular full backup using the 'Make one full every...' feature. I hope that made sense. Here's some pictures to show you what I mean. :flowers: (I linked them in case you don't need to see them)

Using multiple tasks for full and differential backups.
Using the Make One Full Every... feature with differential backups.


Finally, is there a way to limit the number of each type of backup? Limiting full backups is fairly simple, but I can't find an option for limiting differential backups. Maybe this is why I should use incremental?

Sorry for all the questions... I'm just a bit new to this whole backing up thing. :inlove:

#4 joebanana

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 02:06 PM

I would highly suggest CrashPlan.

It's free (for what you want to do with it), highly customizable, and it saved my ass a couple of times.

http://www.crashplan.com

#5 k_woodhouse

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 04:39 PM

I'm yet to try your suggestion, but it looks like it will do everything I need. I'll give it a try and let you know how it goes.

#6 HighDesertBum

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 08:41 PM

Do you have any recommendations for settings? Encryption, compression? I know compression would be useful to save disk space, but it takes time, and I'm not pushed for disk space right now. Similarly, encryption takes quite a while, but the drive is shared on the network, so any potential hackers would have fairly easy access to every file on all three systems

Something specific to Cobian. If I set up a full backup on a particular day as one task, and the daily differential as another task, will the differential compare current files to the weekly full backup and only copy changes, or do I need to setup a daily task with a regular full backup using the 'Make one full every...' feature. I hope that made sense. Here's some pictures to show you what I mean. :thumbsup: (I linked them in case you don't need to see them)

Finally, is there a way to limit the number of each type of backup? Limiting full backups is fairly simple, but I can't find an option for limiting differential backups. Maybe this is why I should use incremental?


I wouldn't really worry about compression at this state nor encryption unless you have something to hide. Most of the times hackers have more important systems to attack than trying to break into your My Pictures folder. ;) But if you're using WEP with your wireless, you can never be too concerned.

That does seem a bit confusing... I've done some searching and have thoroughly confused myself. Your best bet would to ask your question with the Cobian folks: (http://www.cobiansoft.com/forum/) as they're more proficient with the software or already have a FAQ that answers this. Also, if you could oblige us all, report back with your findings--that is is you stick with Cobian.

#7 k_woodhouse

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 06:39 AM

Ok, thanks for all the help to everyone that replied. I'm sticking with Cobian, since I've already got it installed.

I've decided to simplify the routine a bit, and just use a daily differential backup, with every 7 backups being full. This was easily achieved in Cobian using the 'Make one full every...' option. Now, each of the backups are in one task on each machine.

I decided compression and encryption weren't worth the hassle, since no sensitive data is being backed up and the drive is easily big enough to accommodate all the backups. After removing compression and encryption settings, the backups are a lot quicker, so there's no need to specifically schedule a particular night to backup. Starting at about 4:00pm, it will do a differential backup every day, and every 7 days will attempt a full backup.

At the moment, I'm running the first full backups for each machine. I'll let you know how things are running a little later in the week with regards to the differential backups, etc. It still remains to be seen if the differential backups will automatically delete themselves on each full backup so only the relevant ones remain, but time will eventually tell.

Thanks again to anyone that replied. Feel free to comment on your experiences with back ups and Cobian in particular, since any tips or advice are still welcome. :thumbsup:

#8 k_woodhouse

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 09:46 AM

Hello again, just want to update you on how things are going with the current settings. All the computers are backing up every night, with every seventh backup being full, and the others are differential.

The backups are running fine, and the external hard drive now contains every file from each computer. Unfortunately, Cobian decided not to keep only one full backup, so there are unlimited full and differential backups, meaning the files are being copied repeatedly, but it's not a huge problem (after two full backs and seven differentials, there is still over 1TB of space left on the disk). I'll just have to clear off some of the older backups every now and then.

The only other problem that stops the backups is somebody turning off the main computer, during a backup, or switching off the router, since the backup drive is only shared over the network when they are both on, causing some backups to be stopped prematurely, but any missed files are subsequently picked up by the next differential backup, so again, it's not a huge problem. I might look into some simple solutions to these minor irritations, but everything's running fine at the moment.

I hope someone may find this information useful. :)




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