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swirt

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Bree's recent computer dead thread and subsequent talk about people backing up their systems got me thinking about the topic of backups. The only good backups are the ones that happen automatically.
Nearly a year ago I started using a network drive (it plugs into the network instead of a specific computer). It functions both as a shared drive, so any of my computers on my network can read and write to a section of it, and it sits there and makes back-ups of all the data on my computers. It encrypts it and makes multiple copies over time so I can actually go back three generations if I need to.
After quite a bit of research I chose the Western Digital 1 TB Network Attached Storage (NAS). You can get it now in 2TB or even 4TB versions (a Terabyte is 1000 Gigabytes). If you don't want it on the network and want to attach it to a specific computer they also make a USB 2.0 version that is a little cheaper.
The network version also has a media server running on it so you can store all of your itunes / mp3 files on it and serve them up to any computer on the network (I have an old laptop wired to my stereo so it can play them...makes it a lot faster than rifling through the CD collection. The media server files them automatically by artist, album, genre.
There is also a service that allows you to connect to the drive from outside the network (the internet), but since I use it for business and have security concerns I did not enable that feature. It might be secure enough, but I didn't want to take the risk. I have other secure methods to get into my network and that drive if I need to, without having to have the drive run the service for me.
Overall it was pretty easy to setup and it just chugs along doing its job without usually bothering anybody.
One nice feature about having it on the network, vs plugged into the usb port is that I have it located in a different part of the house than my main computer. That way if a plumbing leak or something were to hit my office and wipe out my computer, the NAS located in a different region of the house would still be fine. Ideally you want backup completely off-site (in case of fire) but this is the next best thing. For under $200 it is good peace of mind.
 

gillumhouse

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After the C-drive ate itself in June 2007, she who knows to do grandfather, father, son and did not, wised up this year and went Carbonite but I thought it backed up everything - apparently just my C-drive. Even that is better than what I had if I keep all my important files on C and put the ho-hum clutter on the external - now that it is making noise.
 

mooseberry

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I lost all my stuff a few years back. Now I have an external hard drive with 1 TB and it backs up all changes automatically.
What is also nise is that i can take it with me and accsess any of my info on any computer I hook it up to.
I don't have the best of the latest, but this one sure meets my needs and I am not worried about crashes anymore...
 

YellowSocks

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THANK YOU for posting this!!!! I was just discussing backups with a guest this morning and thinking that yeah, I really ought to figure out how to make that happen.
And here it is! The perfect solution for me (with two computers wirelessly networked). THANKS!!
=)
Kk.
 

Samster

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Yes, we just went to that vs individual external hard drive back ups for my computer and my dh's. Dh is setting it up when he also sets up the new system for the two wireless networks this week. We dropped a few coins during our tax free weekend here on computer stuff.
Good advice, Swirt!
 

MooseTrax

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Good advice. It made me go look at the last time I had backed up the website. April, 2008. It's fair to say a lot has changed since then. Now to back up other things I never thought to back up before. Good topic.
 

gillumhouse

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does anyone have experience or opinions about carbonite?.
I am using it. So far I have not had to restore anything but it does automatically backup - but only my C-drive. I had been putting my most important files on my external drive to try to be safer. And then it made noises the other day (a can of air seems to have fixed that problem) so I made safety copies on my C-drive for Carbonite. I will probably reverse that now since I am a doubtful type. I do feel more comfortable about things with it. The cost was not that much (less than $50 per year as I signed up for 2 years) and it is soooo offsite - something I really like.
 

swirt

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does anyone have experience or opinions about carbonite?.
Carbonite seems to be a good service. The idea of it being offsite is great. There are only two items to keep in mind that I can see:
1: You need a high speed connection for it to upload all your stuff to their server. Backing up by dialup would be a nightmare.
2: It only backs up when your computer is idle
For me it is not really an option. I often work with really large files 40MB or more and even with a high speed connection, upstream is usually pretty slow, so if I worked on three large files during the day, it would never get them all backed up by the time I started working the next day. (For most people that would not be a problem.) Those same files are backed up in only a few minutes using my network drive. The only problem is, if my house goes up in flames, so does my network drive :( (All of my client work is backed up on their own web servers, so they would lose nothing.)
Part of the key to an effective backup is to carefully plan out what needs to be backed up. Backing up an entire C: drive is not usually worth it because if your computer crapped out and you start over, you couldn't really do anything with the old install of WIndows that got backed up. The drivers and hardware related items would be mismatched and likely create headaches down the road. You want to only back up your data (typically C:\Documents and Settings)
Even then you don't want to backup everything in there either. When I first set-up my network drive I couldn't figure out why every time I surfed the net, it was backing things up....then I realized that it was backing up my browser cache, so anytime I went to a new page, there was more to back up. So I changed it to not include the cache folder. Any back-up plan takes a little fine tuning :)
 

gillumhouse

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does anyone have experience or opinions about carbonite?.
Carbonite seems to be a good service. The idea of it being offsite is great. There are only two items to keep in mind that I can see:
1: You need a high speed connection for it to upload all your stuff to their server. Backing up by dialup would be a nightmare.
2: It only backs up when your computer is idle
For me it is not really an option. I often work with really large files 40MB or more and even with a high speed connection, upstream is usually pretty slow, so if I worked on three large files during the day, it would never get them all backed up by the time I started working the next day. (For most people that would not be a problem.) Those same files are backed up in only a few minutes using my network drive. The only problem is, if my house goes up in flames, so does my network drive :( (All of my client work is backed up on their own web servers, so they would lose nothing.)
Part of the key to an effective backup is to carefully plan out what needs to be backed up. Backing up an entire C: drive is not usually worth it because if your computer crapped out and you start over, you couldn't really do anything with the old install of WIndows that got backed up. The drivers and hardware related items would be mismatched and likely create headaches down the road. You want to only back up your data (typically C:\Documents and Settings)
Even then you don't want to backup everything in there either. When I first set-up my network drive I couldn't figure out why every time I surfed the net, it was backing things up....then I realized that it was backing up my browser cache, so anytime I went to a new page, there was more to back up. So I changed it to not include the cache folder. Any back-up plan takes a little fine tuning :)
.
I had dial-up when I went to Carbonite - and it took forever and we had fits because of the Firewall. We finally got it fixed (they really worked with me on it) and the initial back-up was completed while I was dial-up. The high-speed is recommended - and a LOT better. I also have an F-drive hard drive that is full of crap that one day I will go thru but glad I had when my C-drive committed hari-kari as I had a lot of photos and stuff I keep (like the Gillum Family Tree and my family history that I did for my brother before my mind goes (his term) but rarely access) so I was able to retrieve and save some things. The important stuff is now being kept on the C-drive because of the Carbonite backup.
 

JBanczak

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My 2 cents...
I have a pretty robust PC with Raid mirrored drives, and a simple 1TB external backup. GT syncs to a central backup, so that is taken care of. I also use Elephant Drive (a competitor to Carbonite). I love it - and chose it over carbonite because it never deletes. If you accidentally delete a file it does not sync to your drive - it leaves it there to find later. Carbonite has a limited time frame on this.
I also work with very large files, so I can specify in Elephant which types of files to backup (i.e. photos - but not videos...). and which locations to backup (i.e. not the folder GT data is in).
Definitely nice peace-of-mind.
 

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