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SSD- Backing it up?


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#1 hematite

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 04:52 AM

Hi all.

 

My SSD just died. It was the only drive running in my desktop.

I really meant to do a backup of some kind and never did. Probably because I'd have to learn how to actually do that first.

I'm planning on picking up another one, but here's what I'm thinking: Get two.

 

I don't know the nomenclature but the idea I have is, after I get it all up and going, setting up the second as a backup by somehow copying it over, in its entirety, from the first. That way, when this first one decides to quit its job to become a paperweight, I could just pop the other in and move on. Surely this is doable somehow?

 

I do searches to try and find answers and I'm assaulted with tech-savvy lingo directed at people whose questions don't exactly mirror mine. Most of the vernacular goes over my head...

par exemple: partition, cloning, restoration, migration, and of course backup.

Shall I elaborate on my limited understanding?

Partitioning is splitting up a single drive into chunks that act as multiple drives, no? I've heard that's not something one should attempt with an ssd. I used to think I had some idea what all these words meant, but I'm apparently very wrong. I should also mention the fact I have no knowledge of the software, if any, that's needed to accomplish this task.

 

Perhaps you nice people can help.

Anybody feeling like a tutor? Remedial student is in possession of leaking, puppy-dog eyes.



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#2 Aerys

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 11:00 AM

it sounds to me like you want a RAID 1 array with those two hard drives. That mirrors the data from the first to the second, so if either one fails there will be another drive wit all of your data that can be used. Whenever clients ask me for backup solutions I have a few answers, the more places you back up the data, obviously the safer it will be. You could have a RAID 1 array in the computer itself, but if something damages them both (electricity/liquid/drops) then they are both gone. You could have a RAID 1, then use a separate computer on-site or off that you backup too routinely over the network, there are cloud solutions as well like Carbonite that provides yet another tier of safety. It all boils down to how much you value the data and how much you want to spend on backing it up.


He said the same thing he had been saying for hours... "burn them all".

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#3 hematite

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Posted 06 September 2014 - 03:33 AM

Hi.

I thought that a RAID was kind of like the opposite of a partition, where you were taking several drives and making them act like one? My understanding of its purpose was that it would increase drive size and perhaps speed, particularly with mechanical drives. But if one drive goes out in such a setup, would it not be just as catastrophic as with no RAID? If not, how so?

 

What I'm really looking for is a copy, in the purest sense of the word. A second, ready-to-go SSD that I can store away to get my system up and running again if the first drives dies- not necessarily for storing data that I can't stand losing. I'm just failing to use the right lingo in searches to find the info out there on my own. Surely this can be done somehow...



#4 Zerue

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Posted 06 September 2014 - 08:05 AM

Hi.

I thought that a RAID was kind of like the opposite of a partition, where you were taking several drives and making them act like one? My understanding of its purpose was that it would increase drive size and perhaps speed, particularly with mechanical drives. But if one drive goes out in such a setup, would it not be just as catastrophic as with no RAID? If not, how so?

 

I think you meant RAID 0

 

EDIT: You can take a look at this quick video about raids. 

 

 

 


Edited by Zerue, 06 September 2014 - 08:09 AM.

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#5 Enriqe

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Posted 06 September 2014 - 02:01 PM

Hello hematite,

Just a thought ... since you'll probably need to buy an operating system like windows. I usually get the Ultimate version and do a "backup system image" to another drive. This saves everything including software you purchased and installed. It doesn't have to be saved on an SSD, It can be put on another hard drive, DVD's, or an external Hard Drive. When the SSD ever fails again you can put everything you saved back on the good one.
I realize you said you didn't know much about backing up your desktop but we could walk you through it. Windows has made it a bit easier over the years. The ultimate versions of windows are a little more expensive, but it has been my experience that it is worth it. One usually saves the difference in the amount spent on additional software when you need to do a system restore. 

An idea to consider :)


Edited by Enriqe, 06 September 2014 - 02:09 PM.


#6 kokomodrums

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Posted 06 September 2014 - 02:33 PM

RAID 1 is known as "mirroring"--Your second drive is an exact copy of your first drive. This would be a solution to your problem.

A more practical setup though would be a disk image backup, like Enrique suggests. Although you don't need an Ultimate/Professional edition unless you are using Windows Vista. All Windows 7 versions have "system image backup", the only caveat is that you can't backup to a network drive on the Home editions. This wouldn't be the case in your setup. Also, I'm not sure if you can schedule image backups in the Home editions, so if you don't want to have to manually create backups I would look into that.

Essentially, you could use Windows' built in image backup to backup your entire "main" drive to your secondary drive. If your first drive dies, you can just boot from the second drive and be back in business. Just make sure to check the backup regularly by booting the second drive to make sure the backup is actually working.

-- Matt


#7 Enriqe

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 08:27 PM

Thanks Kokomodrums ... I thought only Ultimate had that option.



#8 hematite

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 07:17 AM

Well, that was very informative. Mirroring, I like the sound of that. It does sound like RAID1 would do the job.

I must admit I'm feeling rather daunted about the setup though. I’ve never done a RAID. I guess that's obvious at this point.

 

In that first video (2:28) he does say "Redundancy is not the same as a backup."

While this will save me from the inevitable hardware failure, I should look into the "imaging" thing.

The tech has changed so greatly since I did a proper backup; I certainly haven't tried doing it in Windows 7. I haven't really been using this version that long and I've no idea what an "image backup" is. Given what was said here already, I suppose it's something I can fit on a USB stick. I'll look into it, but if any of you guys feel like speaking to it then have at it.

 

Anyway, thanks for the help.



#9 kokomodrums

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 10:41 AM

A "disk image backup" is a complete copy of your hard drive, so the "image" file will be as large as the contents of your drive (example: if you have a 500GB drive and are using 300GB, the disk image file will be atleast 300GB). So it probably won't fit on a USB thumb drive. You can consider it a "mirrored" copy, but it's just a file that you would store on another drive. You couldn't just boot from the disk image file, you would have to use software to write the image file to a hard drive.

 

The RAID setup actually mirrors one hard drive to another, so you could boot to the second mirrored drive at any time. The downside is that RAID setups are a bit more complicated, and you would really want to invest in a decent RAID controller. If you aren't very comfortable with troubleshooting hardware/boot issues, I wouldn't recommend it.

 

There is some free third-party software you can use to "clone" one disk to another. I've used EaseUS Todo Backup Free before.


-- Matt


#10 Aerys

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 11:42 AM

I agree with kokomodrums in regards to the complications with RAID. To me it sounds like the best choice for you would be cloning the drives like he said or commercial backup solutions like ShadowProtect or Carbonite.


He said the same thing he had been saying for hours... "burn them all".

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Feel free to add me on Skype for help or to chat; lolballinn


#11 NickAu

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 04:31 PM

 

My SSD just died. It was the only drive running in my desktop.

Just out of curiousity, What brand was the SSD , how old was it, What was the pc used for mainly. Is it still under warranty?

 

I have a 256 Gb Sandisk in a laptop with Linux on it ( What other OS is there) that I use daily for surfing the net, Email, Some Movies and music,  This also has a 8GB swap partition on the SSD no VM.

 

I also have a desktop see my sig, with a 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD that gets used a lot for everything Including Virtual machine's . This thing also has a 16GB swap partition on the SSD.

 

I did the partition alighnment and left free space for wear leveling on both.

 

 

Like I said im just courious.

 

 

Thanks

Nick.


Edited by NickAu1, 08 September 2014 - 05:06 PM.


#12 hematite

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Posted 09 September 2014 - 08:16 AM

The downside is that RAID setups are a bit more complicated, and you would really want to invest in a decent RAID controller. If you aren't very comfortable with troubleshooting hardware/boot issues, I wouldn't recommend it.

 

Yeah, it's starting to look more and more like I don't need to attempt this.

 

I agree with kokomodrums in regards to the complications with RAID. To me it sounds like the best choice for you would be cloning the drives like he said or commercial backup solutions like ShadowProtect or Carbonite.

 

"Cloning"...that sounds like the best bet. I'll look into it more now that I know, but any further info at all would be welcome.

 

 

Just out of curiousity, What brand was the SSD...

 

I don't want to contaminate anyone's opinion of the company that made my ex-SSD. It performed fantastically, albeit for only a little over a year, in a rig that does a lot of gaming. It was mainly... how shall I put it... "human error" that turned it into a paperweight. I was getting some artifacts and screen lock out of nowhere. From past experiences I assumed (correctly, I still believe) it was my GPU dying. The human (me) that caused the SSD to malfunction may have been (was) highly inebriated at the time and panicked. This intoxicated panic somehow led to updating random drivers via Slimdriver that eventually rendered the SSD ...inoperable. It won't boot at all and the BIOS doesn't even see a drive there.



#13 Scoop8

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Posted 09 September 2014 - 08:27 AM

hematite

 

I don't have SSD's but with regards to HDD backups, I used to run a RAID 1 array but discontinued it for a couple of reasons, one having to do with the overall concept of having a reliable backup HDD that's ready to use when needed.

 

- With a RAID 1 array, the advantage is that you'll have a real-time HDD backup in case one of the HDD's fails.

 

- The disadvantage of RAID 1 is that everything is mirrored, including malicious intrusions, bad download's, user errors, etc.

 

 

I discontinued my RAID 1 array operation for this reason since I wanted a backup HDD available to recover from those issues.

 

The other reason I discontinued RAID 1 is that I was having an intermittent memory issue that required me to rebuild/restart the RAID array occasionally.  In my case, it wasn't worth the maintenance involved.

 

 

Although I have "spinner" HDD's, I backup the HDD's on both of my Win 7 PC's regularly with cloning and occasional Imaging.

 

The backup HDD isn't a real-time replacement HDD but I can roll back the PC's within a few minutes in the event of malicious intrusions or other situations where booting up on the spare HDD is faster than uninstalling downloads or recovering from a mistake.

 

Good posts from the other members here about Cloning and Imaging.  There are (imo) advantages to both approaches for full-HDD backups:

 

 

Cloning is copying the Source HDD onto the Target HDD in a bit-by-bit copying process, including the OS, Master Boot Code, etc.

 

My take on this, Cloning provides the fastest way for me to recover from situations mentioned earlier.  Cloning does require having another HDD for the Target HDD.

 

Imaging's advantages are that you're accomplishing the same thing as Cloning in that you'll have a full-HDD recovery method but the process is different than Cloning.

 

Since Imaging creates a complete HDD backup in the form of a file (usually compressed to save storage space), you can create multiple Image files to store on an external HDD, like a portable USB HDD or a HDD in an Enclosure.

 

Recovering with an Image file requires processing the Image back onto a Target HDD.  The end result is the same as installing a spare cloned HDD but the Image-restoration process will usually require a longer period of time to complete the Restoration.

 

Foe example, I use an external USB HDD to store full-HDD Images of my Desktop PC, Laptop, and my Mom's Desktop PC.

 

 

There are several good freeware Cloning & Imaging tools available.   "EaseUS" was mentioned.  I use "Macrium Reflect" for most of my Imaging backups and "Acronis" 2011 (paid) version for my Cloning backups.

 

I also have "Clonezilla" as a 3rd backup tool.

 

kokomodrums mentioned one of the most important points in my opinion, which is to verify your full-HDD backup methodology.

 

Whichever plan you choose, I'd recommend also, to occasionally test the backup procedure, either by booting up on a newly-cloned HDD, or to a "test-Restore" process using an available Image file onto an available Target HDD.

 

 

I probably "overdo" my HDD-backup routines, but I have a couple of spare HDD's on the shelf.  I use both to Clone every 2 weeks, alternating between the 2 HDD's.

 

I have 2 HDD's so that I can occasionally test-Restore an Image onto the 2nd spare HDD.  I also use the 2nd HDD to test various HDD tools, disk-wiping bootable tools, etc.

 

I don't Image as frequently since with my Desktop PC in particular, the Cloning process is faster than Imaging.  I usually Image my PC's once every 6-8 weeks.



#14 Kilroy

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Posted 09 September 2014 - 10:07 AM

One thing to mention, RAID protects against hardware failure, it is not a backup.  In RAID1, if a change is made to one drive it is mirrored to the other.  So, if you get hit by something like Cryptolocker you data will be encrypted on both drives.  The same goes for a virus/malware infection.






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