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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
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    INSIDER TRICKS

    Choose the right backup medium for your data


    By Scott Dunn

    Floppy disks, tape, Zip drives, DAT drives, optical storage, NAS drives, and beyond — your backup options, past and present, can be mind-boggling.

    These days, the most convenient backup medium is an external hard drive — it's quick, easy, and with current backup apps, completely automated — but it's never good to put all of your archives in one basket.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/2010/03/11/06 (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.


    Last edited by revia; 2011-01-20 at 15:00.

  2. #2
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    Repeat after me: NAS is not a backup solution, NAS is not a backup solution, NAS is not a backup solution.

    Copying data from your peecee to a NAS means that when your peecee karks it, there is a copy on the NAS.

    But what do you do when the NAS dies at the same time as the peecee?

    Before someone says, "It's a RAID, it will be safe": RAID is not a backup solution.

    To be safe, data has to exist in (at least) three locations.

    1. Peecee
    2. NAS
    3. Removable Disk


    Make sure that the removable disk is removed, and store it somewhere else. (The in-law's is always a good place, it makes everybody happy as you display greater interest in visiting them :-))

    And, for the really important stuff, such as the photographs, make several copies on CD/DVD/BD and spread them around.

  3. #3
    New Lounger
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    Most people assume that you have to connect an external hard drive via USB - but there's a better way - eSATA is much faster, and is easy to set up. As long as your PC has a spare SATA port, an eSATA breakout adaptor can be bought for 3 / $5, and an eSATA connecting cable for the same amount. If you are lucky, your hard drive housing may already have an eSATA port; if not, a replacement housing with both eSATA and USB ports can be bought for 20 / $30. The whole setup is plug'n play, and you'll be pleasantly surprised how much faster your data transfers are, a fourfold increase is possible. If the eSATA device is using the faster 3Gbps interface, then it could be faster still. If you like to stream HD movies off an external drive, glitch free, this is the way to go.

  4. #4
    5 Star Lounger ibe98765's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Ellerington View Post
    Most people assume that you have to connect an external hard drive via USB - but there's a better way - eSATA is much faster, and is easy to set up.
    Many modern motherboards also have an eSata external connector built-in. My mobo has 2 of them.

    Also USB3 devices are starting to be released which should be faster than eSata (for now). See:
    http://www.everythingusb.com/superspeed-usb.html

  5. #5
    5 Star Lounger ibe98765's Avatar
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    What is the status of those 1TB DVD's that were being worked on in the labs a couple of years back? This is what I want!

  6. #6
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    We've tried the low-budget NAS approach on our small home-office network, unsuccessfully. Two NASs from WD and three from LaCie all crapped out in 1-8 months. The WD NASs at least were recoverable, as it was just the enclosure's LAN/USB interface that died. I opened it up, popped the disk into another computer, and copied off the data. The LaCies, however, were 1TB NASs with 2 500GB drives RAIDed together. When that died, there was no way to recover the data without another RAID controller. Painful.

    Is there a **RELIABLE** NAS solution that doesn't cost thousands of dollars?? If these throwaway NASs are the only affordable option, maybe the thing to do is to use one of them for active access, and back it up nightly to another one. That way you should only lose one or the other.

  7. #7
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    I gave up on using DVD R/W for backup several years ago. The disks would fail about 1 out of 10 times.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I like the multi approach outlined by Fred Langa a few years back. If you can find the article it's worth a read.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
    Latest Build:
    ASUS X99 Deluxe, Core i7-5960X, Corsair Hydro H100i, Plextor M6e 256GB M.2 SSD, Corsair DOMINATOR Platinum 32GB DDR4@2666, W8.1 64 bit,
    EVGA GTX980, Seasonic PLATINUM-1000W PSU, MountainMods U2-UFO Case, and 7 other internal drives.

  9. #9
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    I had a look at docking stations at a local computer store. The first thing I saw when I opened a 'BYTECH' box was a flyer, "WARNING. Back up your data before using this product".
    All the docking stations I looked at would only support USB.
    I'm thinking of using Microsoft's own backup in Windows 7 and a full backup of 350Gb would take an unacceptable one hour and forty minutes. I'm not sure I'd want to use old disks for backups; they've been spun up and down too many times and any which would be big enough are still in active use elsewhere. By the time I'd finished looking I'd decided that the safest course would be to go for new external drives with eSATA connectors. My full backup will only take about 20 minutes if it works. It might not - I've noticed that Western Digital appear to have stopped making eSATA drives and I've noticed some reports of problems in Newegg's customer reviews; some say poor manufacture and some say the BIOS needs updating.

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