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To understand the principles of data backup


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#1 seraphin

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 07:52 PM

Hi,

I am a newbie to the computer world and to bleepingcomputer.com so I am not sure if my question is posted in the right forum. I have recently backed up my Windows 7 laptop using the Backup and Repair program under Maintenance folder in Win7 (which by the way took like 10 hrs).

Two questions on backing up files -

(a) Since my last backup, some new files were created and some old files were deleted (CCleaned).

Is there a simple way to "back up" the new files ONLY - say, if I re-run the backup & repair program, would it know which files are new and need to be backed up or would it re-back up the whole system (another 10 hrs)?

(B) Is it normal that a backup would take this long (I have ~ 220 GB files in my 300 GB hard drive)? Are there programs that can speed up the backup ?

 

Any information will be appreciated. And if this is NOT the right place to post this question, please let me know where I could post it or find the answer. Great many thanks

 



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#2 wpgwpg

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 08:08 PM

I suggest you get away from the Windows backup program and get yourself a good commercial backup program. I've seen forums fraught with problem reports for the Windows one. I know I was very unimpressed when I tried it. Two I'm familiar with and like are Easeus Todo Backup Free, and Memeo which has a 30 day free trial and you can buy it for $29.99.  Both of these will do incremental backups.
  The March 2012 issue of PC World was very high on the FREE program from Easeus and so is CNET.  In my experience with a variety of configurations I have to say I'm very impressed.  Like Ghost (which unfortunately is no longer on the market) it will back up to a networked drive, and it will create a boot CD for when your PC won't boot.  See CNET's review of it at
I backup 90 GB to an external hard drive attached to a USB port in under 15 minutes.
-
 CNET has a lot of backup program reviews at 
 
Some of these are free (last time I checked there were over 300), some have free trials (over 1000), and some are purchase only (over 200).
-
External hard drives are best for backup. You can get a 500 GB one for around $50 and a 1 TB one for around $60. You can also buy a 32 GB flash drive for under $20.  It's the best insurance you can ever buy!
 
-
I hope this helps.  Good luck

Everyone with a computer should back his system up to an external hard drive regularly.  :thumbsup:

#3 seraphin

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 08:53 PM

Thanks a lot for the information. I will check them out.

 

A side question - last time I downloaded something from CNET, I ended up having also downloaded the "we-care adware".

Not sure if I could still trust CNET. Any suggestions ?



#4 wpgwpg

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 09:02 PM

 No, I definitely wouldn't download anything from CNET, but you can browse their articles without worrying.  These days I don't think I'd download anything from anywhere except the owning company.  CNET used to be totally safe for downloads, but the execs at CBS (who owns CNET and ZDNET) have taken the position that they're making money from the malware downloads, and they're not going to stop.  Seems like very foolish decision making to me, but then they didn't ask the opinion of people like us and don't seem to care about what they've done to their reputation.  It's a real shame, but what can you do?  :lmao:


Everyone with a computer should back his system up to an external hard drive regularly.  :thumbsup:

#5 Animal

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 09:07 PM

I personally have an aversion to the bundled junk with cnet downloads as well.

You can find the easus application from the vendor's site itself.

http://www.todo-backup.com/products/home/free-backup-software.htm

The only downside is you have to give up an email address. Make sure you uncheck, Keep informed of latest product updates and special offers.

I concur that hat you're looking for is the ability to make 'incremental' backups after the initial full backup. That way it only makes minor changes and keeps the latest image of your last backup.

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#6 Kilroy

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 08:58 AM

Since you're asking about backups.

 

It is recommended that you follow the 3-2-1 Backup Rule

 

3 - Three copies of the data

2 - Two different types of media

1 - One copy off site

 

I'm not a fan of incremental backups, especially for the long term.  The reason is that if you need to restore your data you first restore the full backup and then each and every incremental backup.

 

You may want to consider an online backup service in addition to your own backup.



#7 Wolverine 7

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 04:14 PM

Backups are important if your data is important to you,all  hard drives will fail at some point (hopefully not for ages,lol).

 

As per Kilroy i dont really like incremental backups,for the reasons he outlined,so my method at the moment is too take a system

image(you can use something like Macrium Reflect,not too complicated and the website has full instructions and tutorials),

and then i just have a folder in "my documents" named" backup" and manually copy the data to a couple of external drives once a week.

 

Havnt had any data loss in three years doing it that way,and ive come across a couple of computer techs latelly that do the same thing,which was cool cos i wondered if i should keep trying more sophisticated methods that were really a hasle.Anyway thats an easy way as long as your disiplined to do it every week and you keep your system stable.

 

In the end you have to see what works best for you and your system.



#8 badr0b0t

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 08:06 PM

I save all my data on separate hard drive (OS in SSD, data on HDD) backed up on NAS in RAID 1 mode. My backup style is conventional. Direct file copy from one hd to another as auto backups often result in too much redundancy.

Edited by badr0b0t, 06 June 2014 - 08:07 PM.

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#9 seraphin

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 09:07 PM

Thanks a lot for all the input !!

I am sure my issue is NOT unique, although most of the responders don't seem to encounter the same problem that I have (or perhaps I did not get 100% what the responders have said)

 

My issue is, every day I create a few new WORD docs, saved in different folders based on the nature of the docs; a few new EXCEL spreadsheets, again saved in different folders; some downloaded data (NOT software, data from public resources, I am a bio-related scientist), saved in relevant folders ... etc. Thus, at the end of each week, I easily add a few dozen new files in my laptop. Thus in my mind it will NOT be very easy (perhaps needs a higher level of discipline) to manually find the new data/files and do the copy manually.

 

Ideally I am hoping to find some programs that could compare what I already backed up (since I've already spent 10+ hr in backup and creating the "imagery" of my system) and know what needs to be backed up and do the work for me. Will definitely spend some time reading the links that were provided and look into some of the recommended programs.

 

Thanks again for all the input.



#10 Scoop8

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 11:08 AM

seraphin

 

You've received very good advice from the members here.

 

I posted in another thread in a reply to another member that was asking about backups.  The thread link is here  .

 

After reading your post regarding frequently-edited items, Word, Excel files, it's familiar with how I backup a few of my "must-have" items.  Your item locations are more complex, multiple locations, etc, but as mentioned by other members here, there are some good programs available that can backup user-specific items daily or multiple times daily. 

 

I'm using "Acronis" (2011 version) to do this but I also have a "copy" script that I wrote which will copy my specific items in a "semi-auto" mode.  The script will copy the files without manually dragging/dropping or copy/paste methods. 

 

My advice regarding backups in general:

 

- Redundancy.   Kilroy's 3-2-1 post is a great way to do that.  For me, I focus on full-HDD backup tools since that provides a fast way to recover from virtually all situations.  To insure that I have more than 1 HDD backup path, I use cloning and imaging on my PC's.

 

- Backup to an external device (USB portable HDD, etc) that remains disconnected from your PC except during the actual backup process.  That way, you'll have copies of your "can't-lose" items isolated from your PC in the event of an incident of malware-encryption ("Cryptolocker" or its variants).

 

- Run unattended backups of your specific items.  That requires a continuously-connected external HDD which is vulnerable to encryption ransomware but you'll have redundant copies available that's isolated from the infected PC is that occurs.

 

- Verify any HDD backup methods.  I do that by occasionally testing my cloned (or full-HDD image recovery) HDD by installing it and booting up on it.  That way, I know I have a complete working bootable recovery method.

 

I used to test my cloned (or image-recovered) HDD's each time but the processes are very reliable so now I usually verify 1 in 4 HDD's. 

 

Since I began cloning periodically about 3 years ago, I've never encountered any cloned HDD that didn't boot up and run without problems.

 

- Have a 2nd HDD backup tool available, one that you've tested, just in case your primary HDD backup tool develops an unforeseen problem.

 

I have 3 tools:  Acronis, Macrium Reflect, and Clonezilla.  I rarely use Clonezilla and only made the CD to see how it compares with my 2 main tools.  It worked ok but I'd not recommend Clonezilla for most PC users as it's geared primarily toward more advanced users.  I'm not one of those :) but I wanted to test it out.  I've run a couple of clone processes with it but its slower than Acronis.

 

Regarding full-HDD incrementals, I also agree with Kilroy and Wolverine 7 .  There are many that prefer the incremental or differential methods and there are good reasons for it but I'd rather use other methods. 

 

One reason that I don't use incremental chains for full-HDD backups is that, if one backup in the chain is corrupt, the entire chain is rendered unrecoverable.  Those odds are probably negligible but I prefer cloning every couple of weeks.

 

wpgwpg mentioned his backup time.  That's fast :).  I'm cloning with my Desktop Tower SATA III speeds so that allows for a fast HDD cloning time.  It takes 10 minutes to clone my C HDD with Acronis and about 25 minutes with Macrium.

 

Wolverine 7's "backup" folder idea is a good one :).  I might switch to that method soon.



#11 wpgwpg

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 12:41 PM

Thanks a lot for all the input !!

I am sure my issue is NOT unique, although most of the responders don't seem to encounter the same problem that I have (or perhaps I did not get 100% what the responders have said)

 

My issue is, every day I create a few new WORD docs, saved in different folders based on the nature of the docs; a few new EXCEL spreadsheets, again saved in different folders; some downloaded data (NOT software, data from public resources, I am a bio-related scientist), saved in relevant folders ... etc. Thus, at the end of each week, I easily add a few dozen new files in my laptop. Thus in my mind it will NOT be very easy (perhaps needs a higher level of discipline) to manually find the new data/files and do the copy manually.

 

Ideally I am hoping to find some programs that could compare what I already backed up (since I've already spent 10+ hr in backup and creating the "imagery" of my system) and know what needs to be backed up and do the work for me. Will definitely spend some time reading the links that were provided and look into some of the recommended programs.

 

Thanks again for all the input.

 If you put all your new info in folders which are inside of a containing folder, then all you'd need to back up would be the containing folder.  E.g.  create a folder called My Data, then inside the My Data folder, you can put new folders periodically (perhaps weekly) to save the data you currently have scattered in various places.  When you get ready to back up, all you have to do is copy the My Data folder.

 

 Now for a few words about incremental backup.  I create total system backups to one external hard drive weekly and a different one monthly.  Between weekly backups, I make incremental backups.  It's rare for me to have to do a restore, as I would hope it would be for most folks, but when I do, I just restore the most recent full backup, then selectively go through the incremental backups for any folders I know I've updated.

 

 This involves my Quicken (financial) data, but not a whole lot else.  YMMV, but this works well for me.  

 When you can buy ever increasing sized backup drives for less and less money (they're going for about $60 for 1 TB, $85 for 2 TB, and $115 for 3 TB, it wouldn't be that expensive to make daily full system backups if you feel the need I suppose.  The way I get my speed is by using USB 3 attached drives.  I used eSATA before USB 3 came along, but I get close to the same speed either way.  USB 3 has been flakey in the past, but I finally hit on a combination of Sabrent USB 3 docking stations and drivers for my Dell Inspiron 660 desktop that work.  I put 7200 RPM drives in them.  Again YMMV.

 

Good luck.


Edited by wpgwpg, 07 June 2014 - 12:47 PM.

Everyone with a computer should back his system up to an external hard drive regularly.  :thumbsup:

#12 Wolverine 7

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 02:37 PM

Just save everything twice,once on the local drive and once to an external drive,job done.Then you know its backed up and you know where it all is.After a while you can just copy your files from the external drive to another drive,,2nd backup.Theres no perfect backup solution but if the datas important,good backups are the best data their is.

 

I write and research and store my own art on the computer,i get through a fair amount of data sometimes,after

trying different methods,the save twice mathod is my prefered method,you can organise your file structure as you go allong and keep everthing in order so you dont start to loose focus on ware projects are when you need them.I sometimes have crossreferenced projects on the go so a bit of time setting it all up and a methodical aproach saves loads of time and frustration later.Backing up is just good habit,after a while it becomes automatic


Edited by Wolverine 7, 10 June 2014 - 02:49 PM.





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