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Best Way To Back-Up Comp Data??

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
OK. I am about to move house to a place not so "secure" as the one i'm used to. Basically, i'm s**t scared my comp will get stolen at some point, and i'll loose all my data.

I need some advice on what you think is the best way, both finacially, and to reduce hassle, to back-up all my data for the eventuality.

i mean, my computer data is always changing, so the thought of CD-R/W back-up makes me cringe. My HDD is 30Gb and rising.

My current thoughts are to buy a mirror hard Disk in a removable caddy, which i can back-up onto every week or so and hide under the floorboards!!

Appreciate anyones suggestion on this. Have you got a better way (i've thought of remote backup but the charges for just 1Gb are stupendous)

post #2 of 23
Get an external USB or firewire harddrive. Or if they are out yet a USB-2 external harddrive which is the best IMO. Of course this means you will have to buy a firewire card or USB-2 card. I know USB-2 cards are out now, just don't know about the external drives. USB-1.2 external drives are already out and that might be the most cost effective solution...but it wont be the FASTEST...

USB-1.2 tranfer rate of 12 MBps

USB-2 transfer rate of over 400 MBps

Firewire is even faster than USB-2 but not by much.

You can try to say no to the ripping speed of USB-2 but I think we both know it's impossible. I recommend USB-2 over firewire because it's cheaper and backwards compatible with USB-1.2 which is the current standard on PC's. Firewire is primarily a MAC thing used mainly for digital video.
post #3 of 23
Easy,... and here is the FASTEST/cheapest/ best bang for the buck way.

Buy a new hard drive. ( not expensive) INTERNAL version. say 45 gigs.

Install it inside your PC. after that is done. Use one of the hard drive CLONING software like Drive image pro or any HD clone app.

CLONE your main drive to this new drive. before you goto bed, because of the internal structure set up. The cloning speed is very fast( fastest). by the time you wake up, it will be done.

NOW that is done. remove the drive out of your PC. and store it safely away. If your PC ever get stolen, you have a mirror drive handy and be back in business RIGHT AWAY. IF you have 50 dollars around, you can even BUY an USB HD enclosure, which will let you durther use the extra drive thru USB if you want. More space too

This the the best and cheapest(also fastest) way to back up your 30 gigs. Dont waste money on tape drive or whatnot. DOnt even waste money on firewire external drive.(overpriced) All these will cost extra if you buy a new PC that is not firewire capable.

Just do that I recommend above with Internal drive, install,clone,remove, put it in USB hd enclosure.

Done! ( even save your bookmarks too )

DO this every week if you want, takes 5 mins to install the drive back and quick format it, then start the cloning process before u sleep !

post #4 of 23
Doesn't that mean you'll have to open up the PC everytime?
post #5 of 23
Just to add some more ...

I do what I described above about every 4 or 5 weeks.

and I store away my hd in this fireproof safe I bought from Homedepot. My way of backing up (cloning) is really the best way to go. I can take my HD and use ANY PC. remove that PC's HD and insert this one and BAM! feels identical like home PC with exactly setting,programs,even bookmark,icq etc

A long time ago I was hit with a very bad virus, ir deleted all my windows dll,ini, sys files. HD was pretty much DEAD. boot sector was F**ed as well. Instead of getting piss off, frustrate ,(neverous+sweating), cleaning it, scan it reinstall all program and windows. etc etc I just said * No problem ! * I deleted entire infected drive and formatted it. piece of cake ~!

I then removed it and used my cloned HD I made about 2 weks prior as PRImary drive. booted right up like before I was in business again under 10 mins. that night before I went to bed, I recloned the new primary drive to my old formatted drive(cleaned) then store my Older(one that was mess up before) into the safe. Ready for the next incident

This HD cloning is really not a hassle, let it start before u sleep ! You will appreciate that CLONEd HD when a disaster happens. ABSOLUTELY no joke!@

post #6 of 23
raymondlin ~

NO, the process I am talkign about u do it every 2 week or whatever length u like. ( 4 or 5 weeks here)

removing the PC case is nothing. I can remove my PC case under 1 min )

backing up a HD using USB or firewire is really a joke ....( too slow with USB and way too much $$ for firewire) it will take a LONG TIME and same result as the internal clone way.

after you clone the HD, like I said... if you have 50 dollars around, buy a USB enclosure, which will make this extra drive External thru USB, then you can use it along ur PC or just store it away ( or some minor copy/sync)

post #7 of 23

Anyway, in defense of myself I would describe the details of Tides advice to be interesting although far fetched at times. First of all, USB-2 is faster than ANY IDE OR SCSI CABLE!!! The only limitation is the speed of the drive itself, the interface (ie cable/chipset) is superior.

Secondly they don't cost THAT much, are really and trully PORTABLE as in they can be HANDLED and jostled (slightly) unlike an internal drive which can be ruined by humidity (under the floorboards), or minute amounts of static electricity. If you get a big one with extra space you can take it anywhere there is a USB-2 port and plug it in.

So you need a zip disk?? How about a 40gig hard drive that fits in your pocket?

"A gigabyte of data can be backed up in less than a
minute to an external drive with USB 2.0" ...TechWEB

That sadly, and while I am happy about it in a way it's still sad, is faster than ANY IDE drive... the current PC standard. Internal SCSI might be able to manage such ripping speeds but they probably cost more!! I was going to buy an internal SCSI 180 10,000 rpm and for 18 gigs they wanted over $600 in additon to which I would have had to purchase a controller card... The grand total was in the neighborhood of $850 dollars.

Only one problem with that quote from TechWeb is most of the externals I have seen run at a mere 5400 rpm which makes such performance specifications impossible. I know that 7200 RPM externals exist and aren't *that* expensive. I have seen 80gig 5400 rpm externals going for less than $350. A 7200 rpm would be around $450 judging by the price for a 5400.

Some of the drives even support USB 1.2 AND Firewire albeit at a price... If your computer was stolen you could access the saved data via a PC or MAC.

With computers I always say "Buy the best and worry less."
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
Good advice. Thanks.

I have to say that i have come to a decision. I think if i buy a large hard disk, IDE ATA100. Then use one of those IDE drive bays with a removable caddy..you must have seen them. The drive goes in a caddy with a handle on it. That way i get internal IDE speeds, fast enough for overnight backup, and the ease of plugging it in, backing up, remove and store (under floorboards, in a plastic bag, in a plastic bag, in another plastic bag!!! (there goes that humidity - along comes the static!)

That seems a good option really.

Only thing is, my 30 giga is full. I better buy an 80gig drive, and ANOTHER one for backup. Now this is looking expensive. There is no price on peace of mind though.
post #9 of 23
Firewire: 400 Mb/s (50 MB/s)
USB-2: 480 Mb/s (60 MB/s)
UDMA/100: 800 Mb/s (100 MB/s)
Wide Ultra 3 SCSI: 1.25 Gb/s (160 MB/s)

Seagate Cheetah X15-36LP:
Inner/Outer disk transfer rates:45 MB/s,60 MB/s

Originally posted by ai0tron

Anyway, in defense of myself I would describe the details of Tides advice to be interesting although far fetched at times. First of all, USB-2 is faster than ANY IDE OR SCSI CABLE!!! The only limitation is the speed of the drive itself, the interface (ie cable/chipset) is superior.

post #10 of 23
First of all, USB-2 is faster than ANY IDE OR SCSI CABLE!!! The only limitation is the speed of the drive itself, the interface (ie cable/chipset) is superior.
Actually, USB-2 is much, much slower than faster SCSI, and the fundamental technology behind FireWire is superior (in fact, the best SCSI is still far superior to even the current FireWire spec in terms of pure data transfer rates). Even good IDE connections are faster than the current implementation of USB-2.

USB and USB-2, like IDE drives but even more so, are highly dependent on your computer's processor. Doing anything else at the same time can significantly slow down the transfer rate. Since SCSI and FireWire have their own independent controllers built in, their data transfer rates are higher, even at the same spec (i.e. 400Mb/s vs. 400Mb/s). Another bonus for FireWire is that it is device independent -- you don't need a host computer to connect. You can actually directly hook up two video cameras. FireWire also has the ability to broadcast, which USB-2 doesn't.

USB-2 also has other drawbacks. The bandwidth of a USB-2 connection is split into fixed proportions -- if you have two devices attached, each can only get the maximum of 1/2 the total bandwidth, even if the other is idle. So if you have a mouse and a hard drive on a USB-2 bus, they each get half the bandwidth, even though the mouse obviously doesn't need more than a fraction of it. Some analysts have forecasted that "real-world" use of USB-2 bandwidth could be around 58Mb/s. Also, if you introduce a USB 1.x device into a USB-2 chain, the whole chain can slow to USB 1, depending on the device and controller. Finally the "cheaper" cost of USB-2 (as compared to FireWire) isn't as cheap as you might think, since in order to be backwards-compatible with USB, USB-2 devices need to incorporate multiple chipsets -- USB-2 itself is not backwards-compatible.

The other hurdle that USB-2 will have to overcome as a high-speed data transfer connection is the fact that it also has to allow slower devices to co-exist. USB-2 is Intel's way to replace *both* USB and FireWire, so it can be used with both low-speed and high-speed devices. Under USB 1.1, 90% of bandwidth is guaranteed for isochronous transfers (data from sources such as video and audio controllers), while only 10% of the bandwidth is guaranteed for bulk transfers. Of course bulk transfers can *use* much more, but in order to ensure that "more important" data (such as mouse movements and video) has priority, the 10/90 guaranteed bandwidth rule was devised. If this holds true under USB-2, you may never see the promised speeds of 400Mb/s.

What it comes down to is that USB was designed to be a convenient replacement for serial, PS/2, and, to some extent, parallel ports -- low-speed connections. FireWire was designed from the start to be a convenient, high-speed connection for large, fast transfers of bulk data. USB-2 is an attempt to make FireWire out of USB, but unfortunately it's not working. It will probably end up being widespread, but that's more because it's an Intel technology that they can throw on motherboards for cheap than because it's actually a good technology.

As for right now, FireWire is much more widespread. Even Microsoft considered not supporting USB-2 natively. FireWire did start on Macs, but it is quickly becoming the standard for A/V data transfers, with every modern digital video camera and every Sony computer sporting FireWire ports. Many other PC manufacturers offer it as an inexpensive option.

Oh, and FireWire will be at 1600Mb/s pretty soon
post #11 of 23
Okay -- the best way to back up your data is to use a RAID 1 mirror. With a RAID 1 IDE controller from 3ware and a couple 5.25" hot-swap carriers you NEVER have to worry about losing your data. Basically, all drive writing is mirrored on the fly. And when a drive dies, a red light comes on -- you just pull out the bad drive, and replace it with a new one (of equal or greater size) and it automatically rebuilds the mirror. Meanwhile, you NEVER have to "re-install" or "recover" from a hard drive crash.

Sounds extravagent, but so did the UPS (uninterruptible power supply). One day, RAID will be standard on desktop computers.. so beat everyone else to the gates and get your RAID today.

A message from the home-owners RAID association...
post #12 of 23
But neil, eeyssjr is concerned about stuff getting stolen. Woudn't that mean he'd need three drives (main one, one for RAID, and a backup hidden somewhere)? And then he would just swap between the RAID one and the backup every week or so, to ensure the backup stays current? Sounds kinda expensive, but if he's got the money, it does sound like the best solution.
post #13 of 23
I think you should go the internal route. It really isn't as hard as you think. If you don't have your case hidden away it can take as little as a min to add in the backup drive. Then you can use a program like norton ghost and let it go overnight. After its done, shutdown the comp and throw (or lightly set) the backup drive in a safe place (put a static bag around it).

But, how much of your HD space is actualy data you need to backup? You may find that you only need 5GB of storage, and only 500MB needs to be updated reguarly. If your computer got stolen, remember a ready to go HD is useless without a computer to stick it in (makes a handy paperweight, but I don't think that's what you are aiming for), so it may not be worth saving all your programs when they would have to be reconfigured anyway(for a new motherboard, processor, ect.)
post #14 of 23
eeyssjr: A second cheap ide-drive in a removable caddy would probably be the cheapest method, but it doesn't give you the chance to store several generations of backups or two copies of the same ganeration backup cheaply. So you might even consider a dvd-rewriter (4,7 GB ~US$15) or a tape streamer. OnStream currently offers good value for the money with their ADR-streamers (30/50 GB or 15/25 GB without compression): Both the streamers and the tapes are not too expensive. Further information can be found on www.onstream.com - and the dvd-rewriter would be the pioneer dvr-a03 (~US$ 900).

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / Lini
post #15 of 23
Ahh, scared it will get stolen? Definitely a removeable media/device is your own way then. Sorry -- hehehe. Didn't catch that part. Whenver I see the word "backup" or "tape", it makes me cringe.
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