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Any tips for back up efficiency?


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#1 Mandark

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 01:02 PM

Basically, I have 2 external hard drives.

 

External hard drive 2 is solely used to back up all the files on external hard drive 1, I want to back up everything identically (as in, same folders, same files etc.)

 

Is there an efficient way to do this?

 

Basically, let's say, I have a folder called Movies with the following files:
-A fish named Lawanduh,

-Crazy Turk
-Eat this

 

I've backed up the same folder/files on ext. hard drive 2.

 

Then I delete Crazy Turk from the ext. hard drive 1 and add the movie Frozen to it.
What's the easiest way to back up the folder Movies again on hard drive 2, so it also has Frozen in it and have Crazy Turk deleted?

 

Basically I don't want to have to delete the entire folder on ext. hard drive 2 and then back up the folder from scratch again so that it becomes identical.

 

Thanks in advance.



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#2 RolandJS

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 03:59 PM

FreeFileSync and several other programs may be just the thing you want!  I only got FreeFileSync (from fossHub) working for me, however, your experience may be better than mine!  FFS will let you mirror usb ext HD1 onto usb ext HD2, in short, your HD2 will be exactly like HD1 upon FFS completion.


"Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee."  -- Ben Franklin revisited.

http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forums/45/Computer-Technologies/

Backup, backup, backup! -- Lady Fitzgerald (w7forums)

Clone or Image often! Backup... -- RockE (WSL)


#3 smax013

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 10:53 PM

Do you want to leave the drive connected all the time?

If so, then you can look at syncing type programs along the lines of what RolandJS offered. Many of those programs can also work if you want to disconnect the drive.

The step up from just using a sync program is to use RAID. There is both software RAID and hardware RAID.

With software RAID, it can potentially be two drives of the same size that are not in the same enclosure.

For hardware RAID, it would be either two (or more) internal drives if your motherboard supports RAID or an external RAID enclosure for two (or more drives).

If you went the RAID route, then what you are talking about is RAID 1. This will automatically mirror the two drives...basically making them identical on the fly. Strictly speaking, RAID 1 is not technically typically considered a backup method, but I treat it as one as it will at a minimum protect against drive failure (i.e. if one drive in the RAID 1 array goes down, then other drive will still work and you still have your data). But, this will not protect against corrupted files, accidental deletions, or things like malware, etc.

If you want to disconnect the "backup" drive in between backups, then some sync programs might still work. It looks like that might be the case with FreeFileSync, but I have not used it, so I cannot tell for sure.

Another method would be to clone the drive each time you want to backup the main drive. Cloning makes an exact copy of the drive.

#4 Mandark

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 03:56 AM

Thank you both for replying.

 

I will indeed be disconnecting the external hard drives. In fact I will only connect them to my laptop once every few days or so.

I will also be making back ups on ext. hd 2 a few times per week, whenever I have just a few new files added to ext. hd 1.
Ext. hd 1 will have more than 1 TB of data, and everytime I want to do a back up, it concerns around 1 GB or so.
So basically I am only looking for a program that will allow me to mirror ext. hd 2 and hd. 1 "quickly / without having to mirror the entire 1 TB everytime".

 

Will FreeFileSync work best for this as Roland said? Or should I look into the RAID route?

I am not so tech savy so I am looking for something simple, as long as it doesn't include a risk of losing the data on ext. hd 1 and ext. hd 2 as that would mean I lost all the data I have, lol! Thanks.



#5 RolandJS

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 06:00 AM

if you are not "tech-savvy" I recommend leaving RAID for another time, not right now.  While RAID can be wonderful, if it is not set up correctly, you can lose everything instantly if a ransomware hits, if one of two HDs, if one or more HDs of multiple hard-drive RAID goes bad, you must know immediately how to correctly fix the problem - or you lose everything.  When it works, RAID works great!  If it develops a problem, one better know how to fix or else.  Last thing, Lady Fitzgerald said it best:  RAID is not a backup.  I add:  RAID is a perfect replication process, it is not a backup ('cause it is online 24/7-365).  [Disclosure:  the only thing I know about RAID -- it kills bugs dead!]

 

I do not use FFS "all day, on the fly", I only do FFS once or twice weekly, leaving my backup hard-drive disconnected when not doing FFS or backups.  You will have to experiment, play with, FFS or with the program(s) of your choice, before you will reach your "technical Nirvana". 


Edited by RolandJS, 04 June 2017 - 06:04 AM.

"Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee."  -- Ben Franklin revisited.

http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forums/45/Computer-Technologies/

Backup, backup, backup! -- Lady Fitzgerald (w7forums)

Clone or Image often! Backup... -- RockE (WSL)


#6 Mandark

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 01:05 PM

I downloaded FFS. I did a quick search on the net and found that in some instances people lost all their files using FFS (probably due to poor use).

Like I said before, I am not so tech savvy, is this program easy enough for me to use without worrying of making a mistake and losing all my files?

These HD's include all my most important files. If there is any risk, I am better of buying an extra HD and creating 2 back ups before using this program.
Do you recommend this or is this program easy enough to use for this to be unnecessary?



#7 smax013

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 03:40 PM

if you are not "tech-savvy" I recommend leaving RAID for another time, not right now.  While RAID can be wonderful, if it is not set up correctly, you can lose everything instantly if a ransomware hits, if one of two HDs, if one or more HDs of multiple hard-drive RAID goes bad, you must know immediately how to correctly fix the problem - or you lose everything.  When it works, RAID works great!  If it develops a problem, one better know how to fix or else.  Last thing, Lady Fitzgerald said it best:  RAID is not a backup.  I add:  RAID is a perfect replication process, it is not a backup ('cause it is online 24/7-365).  [Disclosure:  the only thing I know about RAID -- it kills bugs dead!]


First of all, you do not necessarily need to be tech savvy to setup and use RAID...depending on what route you take. Yes, setting up software RAID might be on the more complex side. Hardware raid can also involve some work in certain cases, but you can also get RAID 1 hardware based drive enclosures that are very easy to setup. I have a RAID 1 hardware enclosure that was purely a matter of installing the drives and hooking up the enclosure to the computer. That is it. No more hard than getting a single drive enclosure and installing a drive and hooking it up other than I just had to install a second drive. So, it really depends on what path you go.

Second, I would disagree that RAID is not a backup. I would agree that some "flavors" of RAID are not backup. For example, RAID 0 is definitely not a backup in any way nor is it a replication process. RAID 1, OTOH, is effectively a backup in my opinion. After all, RAID 1 is a "replication process" as you said and technically a backup is at it root a "replication process". After all, a backup is effectively just a replication of your files. The key is that RAID 1 is a backup method that will not protect against all potential forms of data loss. But, then I would argue that RAID 1 is not that much different than having an external drive constantly attached to your computer that then has daily, scheduled backups run to that external drive. Both of those approaches (RAID 1 and constantly connected external hard drive) will not protect against something like ransomware as the files on the constantly connected external hard drive could be encrypted by ransomware just as easily as the mirror drive in a RAID 1 array. Yet, "backup purists" would consider one a backup and the other not. I kind of say BS.

To me, any method that duplicates data as a protection method against some type of potential data loss is a backup method. To me, this includes RAID array options that include some form of redundancy (i.e. allow for a drive to die and not lose data). Yes, this only really protects against a drive dying, but it is better than nothing and just as good as a constantly connected external backup drive for the most part (there are differences as a RAID 1 "duplication" is instantaneous, while a constantly connected external drive will not be "updated" until the scheduled run of the backup, so even if that backup is some sort of sync process, you have time before some file deletion or corrupted file gets synced...and if not a sync process but rather an image or similar, then it is dramatically different that how RAID 1 "backs up"). I personally use various RAID options as a first line backup. I also do other "backup purist" approaches as additional backup layers as well to help protection against other possible ways of losing data (i.e. accidental deletion, malware, natural disasters, etc).

The key is first to have some sort of backup. While "backup purists" don't consider RAID 1 as backup, it is way better than nothing. To me, it is better to have something rather than nothing. While there are better "only" options that RAID 1, I would rather someone have RAID 1 than nothing at all. And considering that "effort level" is typically a reason why people do not backup, using a hardware based RAID 1 enclosure that is super easy to setup and requires effectively no effort to maintain, it is a good option for those who do not want to expend any effort for backups to still have something. So, while I might prefer they do a more "backup purist" type option, I will not discourage someone from using RAID 1 if they currently do not have any backup system at all.

The second key is to know what your backup method's strengths and weaknesses are. Then you can decided if those weaknesses are such that you decide it is not a good backup method for you and you should switch to something else or if maybe is OK as a first layer but you need to add additional layers to your backup scheme. In my case, I know what the weakness of the various redundant RAID options I use are, so I add additional backup layers beyond any RAID option I use. But, all backup methods have a weakness. This is why the 3-2-1 approach tends to suggest different media and at least one off site backup...it "knows" that a single backup layer will have weaknesses, so it adds layers.

In the end, lots of people have their own biases about how to backup. For example, some people dismiss using optical discs as a backup method these days. Yes, it is more work, slow, and optical media can be potentially unreliable at times, but then it is better than nothing. My personal attitude is that I try not to let my personal biases shut down someone such that they then might not backup at all. Better that person backup to optical discs than not backup at all. For example, I personally do not like online backup services, but they work well for other people. So, I don't let my dislike of online backup services lead me to tell others not to use them. That is a decision that they need to make themselves (I might offer why I don't like them so that they can factor that into their decision if they want) and if it works for them, then great. In the end, what works for me might not work for someone else. And what works for someone else, might not work for me.

#8 smax013

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 03:49 PM

I downloaded FFS. I did a quick search on the net and found that in some instances people lost all their files using FFS (probably due to poor use).
Like I said before, I am not so tech savvy, is this program easy enough for me to use without worrying of making a mistake and losing all my files?
These HD's include all my most important files. If there is any risk, I am better of buying an extra HD and creating 2 back ups before using this program.
Do you recommend this or is this program easy enough to use for this to be unnecessary?


The biggest potential risk with sync style programs, in my opinion, is that you pick the wrong sync direction. As such, personally, I would likely not use such a program as my ONLY backup method. But, then I usually do more than one backup method regardless of what my primary backup method is. It is always better to have 3 or 4 copies of a file than even just 2.

As to your question about is it easy enough to use for you, I would tend to respond to that kind of question with a response with "only you can really know that". After all, what I might consider easy to use is likely different that what you consider easy to use. Since it is free, you can try it. Just do some tests on non-critical data.

#9 RolandJS

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 08:58 PM

After all, RAID 1 is a "replication process" as you said and technically a backup is at it root a "replication process". After all, a backup is effectively just a replication of your files. -- smax & OP

According to what I've read over in community.spiceworks

-- replication is not a backup; replication means, to many, a second source receiving input from the originating source, replicates that originating source.  When source copies, target copies, when source deletes, target deletes, when source moves something, target moves something.  To many within spiceworks, that is not backup, that is simply a target or targets duplicating, replicating, whatever the originating, the source is doing.

-- a backup routine is a routine that takes snapshots of a whole source hard-drive or of partitions within a source hard-drive; a backup routine keeps several, clones, full images, "snapshots", made either daily, twice-weekly, weekly, or whatever schedule is best for the home business or any other businesses.

Obviously there is no perfect replication or backup routine.  We do the best we can.


"Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee."  -- Ben Franklin revisited.

http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forums/45/Computer-Technologies/

Backup, backup, backup! -- Lady Fitzgerald (w7forums)

Clone or Image often! Backup... -- RockE (WSL)


#10 smax013

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 10:34 PM

After all, RAID 1 is a "replication process" as you said and technically a backup is at it root a "replication process". After all, a backup is effectively just a replication of your files. -- smax & OP
According to what I've read over in community.spiceworks
-- replication is not a backup; replication means, to many, a second source receiving input from the originating source, replicates that originating source.  When source copies, target copies, when source deletes, target deletes, when source moves something, target moves something.  To many within spiceworks, that is not backup, that is simply a target or targets duplicating, replicating, whatever the originating, the source is doing.


A backup at its most basic definition is to make a copy/duplicate of a source file in case that source file is lost. RAID 1 does that, admittedly in only specific situations (i.e. the source drive dies causing the source file to be lost, but the mirrored drive will have the duplicate of the backup).

If you want to get into semantics, then any syncing type program according to the definition your are using is not a backup as syncing implies that when you delete the file on the original location, then the file is also deleted from the synced to location. It appears that the program you recommended, FreeFileSync, operates as a syncing function and thus by the definition you are using is not a backup. I would argue that it is a form of backup just as RAID 1 is (not to mention it is the type of backup that the original poster in this thread asked for). The only difference typically between a syncing type program and a RAID 1 array is timing. Syncing programs generally don't run instantaneously (although some do), where as RAID 1 is instantaneous. They both, however, operate under the same basic principle...what changes I make on one drive gets made to the other drive, whether those changes are a file being edited, a new file being added, a file being deleted, a new folder created, etc.

I will note that the same process can happen with traditional backup programs depending on how they work and what media you are using. If you are not using a backup program with versioning, then when you update a backup, some programs will removed deleted files from the backup if using an external drive (this is one area where backing up to write once optical media would technically still have that deleted file even without versioning since you cannot delete data from a write once optical disc, but since the backup program will update the "index" of the backup to say that file is no longer part of the backup, getting to it might be difficult). This is also true of cloning. When you update or re-clone something, anything deleted from the original drive will be gone on the clone drive.

The only way you don't get that type of effect typically is if you use a backup program or service with versioning or you do a form of versioning yourself by rotating through several backups to different drives/tapes like many businesses do. But, for many backup program without versioning, once you delete a file from the drive being backed up, that file will either be actually removed from the backup or effectively removed (i.e. technically still there but you cannot get to it using the backup program...this would be the case with write once optical discs).

 
 

-- a backup routine is a routine that takes snapshots of a whole source hard-drive or of partitions within a source hard-drive; a backup routine keeps several, clones, full images, "snapshots", made either daily, twice-weekly, weekly, or whatever schedule is best for the home business or any other businesses.
Obviously there is no perfect replication or backup routine.  We do the best we can.



Again, you are picking a rather narrow definition. To me, a backup routine is anything that makes a copy of a file. It can be as simple as plugging in a USB flash drive or external drive and then manually copying a file or some files from the internal drive to that flash drive or external drive. Some "backup purists" might not like that, but in many ways it is better than using some backup program with some proprietary file format for the backup file as all you need to do to verify the backup is to plug in the flash drive or external drive and open up Windows Explorer (or Finder on a Mac) and you can access the file with whatever program was used to create the file. Or even as simple as saying "hey, I really want this picture to be saved, so you upload it to Facebook". Or it can be a sophisticated as using a backup program to do multiple incremental full drive backups to an expensive tape drive system on a rotating basis as many businesses do. Ultimately, to me, a backup is a way to duplicate your data in way that helps protect that data from the potential threats to that data that are of concern to you. How you go about doing that duplication of that data/files is then a function of what potential threats you want to protect from, how much money you have to spend, how much and which data you want to protect, and how much time and effort you want to spend doing those backups...and maybe a few other factors that I am not thinking of off the top of my head. And generally, the more copies of that data you have in more than one place, the less likely you are to lose that data...no matter how you made those copies. That is backing up to me.

Edited by smax013, 04 June 2017 - 10:35 PM.


#11 RolandJS

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 07:05 AM

smax, your post is extremely informative!!  I wish you would add to my corner of the world!

Meanwhile @Mandark

--  have you decided on what program you would like to try first?

-- have you decided on a backup routine you would like to try first?

Have we helped you in some way on those decisions?


"Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee."  -- Ben Franklin revisited.

http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forums/45/Computer-Technologies/

Backup, backup, backup! -- Lady Fitzgerald (w7forums)

Clone or Image often! Backup... -- RockE (WSL)


#12 Mandark

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 07:09 AM

I finally used FreeFileSync.

 

I mirror'd external harddrive A to external harddrive B.

 

After it was finished, I clicked on properties of each harddrive and saw that A has 1.96 TB of used space, and B has 1.98 TB of used space.

I saw that most folders have identical bytes if I go on properties > general and look at size.

However, some folders, differ slightly.

 

I tracked down 1 of these folders, all the way to its subfolders. Finally I saw that this subfolder, is 100 MB bigger on "A", compared to "B". However, after opening the subfolder on both harddrives, I saw that both have 7 video files in it, that are identical, and also after clicking all 7 of them, I saw that the size of these 7 video files is identical on both harddrives.

So the size of the folder differs on both, but the visible files in it, are exactly the same size.

 

What does this mean? Are there invisible files in this folder? Or is it infected by trojans?

Should I rest assured that all files are now identical and in working state, or is FFS prone to error?

 

Thanks in advance, and for the recommendation for this good program, it's really useful.



#13 SleepyDude

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 07:45 AM

Hi,

 

FreeFileSync will copy any hidden files that exists on the selected folders.

 

Run a compare again and the program interface should show you the files that are different or missing, maybe some program changed the files during the backup!


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#14 Mandark

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 09:36 AM

I did run a compare again, and 0 files showed up. It says, showing 0 of 99,475 rows. Apparently all files have been mirror'd correctly. Also there's a folder that has 7 video files on it, and these files work correctly on both harddrives, and have the exact same size on both harddrives, yet the folder size is different on both hard drives (100mb).

 

Does anyone know what to make of this?



#15 SleepyDude

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 09:56 AM

Do you look at the values under Size or Size on disk?


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