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Best practices for backing up files

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#1 kelsyhb


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Posted 25 June 2014 - 09:38 PM

I feel like I should know the answer to this question, but...


Okay, so I used to have an external HD but it fritzed. I've been using Google Drive and/or Dropbox to back up files at work. However, I'm trying to figure out how I can continue to use these services effectively and yet in a way that doesn't create more work for myself.


What are some best practices when it comes to backing up files? Is there a way I can make this easy on myself so that I don't have to sync every single file I create (like an auto sync feature that could run every day at a certain time)? What is the best way to make sure that I'm backing up all my files but avoiding duplicates? (Ex: if I have a folder with three files in it and I add another file, syncing the folder would, I'm assuming, sync the original three files again as well as the first...correct?)


Any other tips and tricks/words of advice?


Thanks so much!

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#2 mwieting


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Posted 06 November 2014 - 04:41 PM

You could use a product like Crashplan that allows you to automate both phyiscal and cloud backup.  you can choose the source location of the data and then chose your destination (cloud or local) I belive its $60 for a year for unlimited backspace for personal use.  http://www.code42.com/crashplan/

#3 rp88


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Posted 06 November 2014 - 07:25 PM

Google drive is a good place to start but it shuld not be used alone, a backup should be done in multiple places, not just online or just on an external hard-drive or just on DVD discs or just on usb sticks but rather across a combination of as many meida types as you can get hold of. If you hunt thruogh the links below you will find i have written several long posts on this site about how i suggest backing things up but my summary would be this:

1. multiple backups, data in less than 3 places is so easily lost it doesn't really "exist". Have atleast, a copy on your computer, a copy on an online service, a copy on removable media in your house and a second copy on removable media, preferably in a close friend or family member's house.

2. avoid syncing like methods of backup. these run the risk that if the file on your computer is edited in such a way that it is ruined, rather than being deleted(exmaple, your novel typed in microsoft word is not deleted from file explorer but is instead opened and every word but the title deleted)then the edited (but effectively wrecked) copy will write over the backup copies. This is why backups shold be separte from your computer and not synced.

3.backup often, make manual bacups of any important files every time you change them and don't write over old backups with new ones. When a usb, dvd or external hard-drive is full of backups, put it somewhere safe and get a new one for later backups.

4.only backups stuff that is worth backing up. By this i mean backup your documents, videos, pictures, music, zip archives, installers for some programs but don't back up stuff in folders like C:\program files as that sort of stuff cannot be restored if it ever needs to be.

5. make system image backups, but you only need 1 or 2 of them. Make a system image backup of your computer when all the programs you use are installed, everything is running well and you are sure it is not infected with any viruses. Put this system image on a sub or external hard-drive, put that drive somewhere safe and leave it. This is not for backing up personal files, it is for backing up system settings and programs, it should be used only when you have system problems and want to go back to when your system was in a good state. You might want to make 2 or 3 copies but once you have a good system image from a date when everything worked wel you don't need to make more recent ones, just backup the instaler exe file for anything good you installed after the system image. (example, a system image is made of a clean well running system in january. in february you download and install some wonderful new program. then keep january's system image as it is and just save the installer exe file for the wonderful new program onto a usb drive. If you have a system problem in, lets say july, first use the system image to restore the system to it's well working january state, then use the usb to reinstall the backed up copy of your wonderful new program's installer and run it to install the wonderful new program on the restored to clean state system.)

6. only back things up when you change them. If you are working on some great novel as a .txt file save a copy of it to a usb drive (or into an online account like google drive, using the browser interface not the "google drive for your desktop" program) when you finish work on it each night, don't save over the old versions. change the name of the file before backing up so that the new versin and old version happily co-exist on the backup drive.

those links, just see my posts in the various threads

Edited by rp88, 06 November 2014 - 07:31 PM.

Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

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