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Danamania
15th August 2005, 09:24 PM
Having just done a rotation of my backups - have *you* all backed up your data lately? Imagine you're sitting there at your machine and the HD (your most valuable one, if you have multiples) decides to lose a head from the disk and scrape the surface off a platter or two, filling your HD with dust & filings that takes down everything on it.

Do you have backups enough to get back what you've just lost? Applications are easy enough to replace with little hassle - just an install away and you're back, but what about the documents images & music you've created with them. Your emails, your web bookmarks, your keychain with all your passwords. Perhaps little discontinued utilities you downloaded from the net years ago that still work but isn't available any longer, assignments, saved documentation, calendar & to-do lists, digital photos & home movies.

Not all of the above will apply to everyone, but it's a start as to what to look at when wondering "what could I really lose?".

I've been caught before in 2000, when a drive crashed and it contained the only copies of *years* worth of work. Now I backup to a server regularly, and drop *really* important stuff to CD/DVD as well for offsite storage, moving that to another house. the worst data loss that'll happen to me if my entire house burned down is a few recent week's worth. I think I can live with that.

What's your backup strategy, and what can *YOU* not live without?

dana

Snowy28
15th August 2005, 09:31 PM
I don't have one :(

Been thinking of getting an 80gb portable USB HDD then keeping it off site with all music, video and documents.

Where do you do your off site storage?

Danamania
15th August 2005, 09:36 PM
Originally posted by Snowy28@Aug 15 2005, 09:31 PM
I don't have one :(

Been thinking of getting an 80gb portable USB HDD then keeping it off site with all music, video and documents.

Where do you do your off site storage?
My offsite is all manual - DVDs carried over to my mother's place and stored in the garage. it's dark, cool and dry, and nobody ever goes in there. I figure the chances of both my place *and* my mother's burning down (or otherwise ruining my storage in both places) at the same time is a small enough risk for me to run with :D. If that happened I'd probably have more things to worry about than my data, like just surviving after the meteorite hit that would be needed to cause it!.

That being said, i wouldn't mind a large server based backup in another country - but that would be for completeness' sake, and not any kind of practicality.

Paxton
15th August 2005, 09:45 PM
Love the optomism Dana. Personally, the closest I have been to backing up is copying the home folders of my PowerBook onto my PowerMac and vice Versa. I figure that the PowerMac and the PowerBook both getting fried on the same night is slim. I have lost an IBM DeathStar in the PowerMac, and the Segate is going OK at the moment. Maybe a Backup onto a DVD might be good.


-Andrew

rudiger53
15th August 2005, 09:50 PM
backup policy!!?! HA! thats a laugh. I backup to my iPod whenever i need to do a reinstall of the OS after some of my tinkering goes horribly wrong, but i cant do that anymore, since the firewire module on my g4 died. Either that or i copy files to my pc over the network. everything vitally important gets copied onto my flash drive and ipod, which then gets saved at work. But thats about it. If i loose something that i cant get back, i just live with it

Rayd
15th August 2005, 09:54 PM
haha backup to iPod ... real smart... theres more chance of that breaking than any other HD! i have 2 external HD's that i backup to once a month. and i am doing it right now :D

hawker
15th August 2005, 09:58 PM
What's a back up?

I only back up one folder on my Powerbook, my Masters folder, if I loose that, i am up that creek we all know without the usual thing ;)

gmask1
15th August 2005, 10:07 PM
I've been backing up manually to an external hard disk, with critical files also going onto dvd's. Nothing offsite, even the critical files aren't *that* critical.

I actually bought Retrospect 6 this very day, in an attempt to automate the process. It's got a couple of client licenses for my pcs, so hopefully it will take some of the pain out of the process :)

spargo
15th August 2005, 10:18 PM
Wow! A new topic related to Apple issues on the AppleTalk forum!!! (Good work Dana..)

My whole life is on the one portable machine as a result of my itinerate lifestyle at the moment. The easiest and cheapest way for me to backup my Photos, Music, and important files is with a stack of 12 DVD-RW's, that I burn everything to once a month.

I figure that's regular enough to ensure I have almost all of my photos bar the very most recent ones.

And much like Dana, I keep a second copy of all of my photos off-site on a 2nd series of DVD's, back in the floor safe at my parents place in Brisbane - these are my most important possessions at the moment so I don't see it as over kill to send them a new DVD every 4 months or so..

All my music is automatically backed up on the iPod, as well as the monthly DVD burn.. two is better than one.

I beleive a few hours spent late at night on the first of the month is worth it - all the more when you hear about a friend losing their data because they didn't take the time.

Sure a seperate back-up external drive is faster and more convenient.. I'll go that way eventually, but the DVD's do the trick for now.

(spargo Edit: Added sarcastic tone to opening sentence)

Disko
15th August 2005, 10:21 PM
*backs up AppleTalk* ;)

mac_man_luke
15th August 2005, 10:25 PM
I havent backed up since i installed tiger :(

You'v made me paranoid now!!

Danamania
15th August 2005, 10:41 PM
Originally posted by mac_man_luke@Aug 15 2005, 10:25 PM
I havent backed up since i installed tiger :(

You'v made me paranoid now!!
That's the idea :).

Backups are one of those things people put off and put off and just don't worry about, and it's easy to get used to doing that for years & years.

Then *boom*. Steve Jobs appears out of nowhere and slams a stake through your HD.

Hear the ticking of the HD... is it louder than it was yesterday? does it perhaps whine a little more than before? just a touch louder, where a bearing is starting to wear, right before it catastrophically fails...

Paranoia isn't a bad thing when it comes to backups, especially as making them can be so easy :D.

dana

Ultimata
15th August 2005, 10:53 PM
I don't backup.

Well, the stuff I am working on at uni gets uploaded to the FTP server there, so I can access it easier, but other than that, nothing.

I do keep all my stuff on a seperate HDD to my boot one. (I guess that comes from years of using Winblows, and I got used to the ol' "Windows is trying to screw me, so I'll format!" frame of mind.)

123
15th August 2005, 10:55 PM
i might be caught right now, not sure yet.

i have backups of almost everything but they are a few months old and spread over my ipod, about 15 cds and the old ibook.

if it turns out that i lose everything then it is going to take me forever to organise everything again. i guess i should be thankful that i still have (almost) all of my data.

mac_man_luke
15th August 2005, 11:12 PM
Originally posted by danamania@Aug 15 2005, 10:41 PM
That's the idea :).

Backups are one of those things people put off and put off and just don't worry about, and it's easy to get used to doing that for years & years.

Then *boom*. Steve Jobs appears out of nowhere and slams a stake through your HD.

Hear the ticking of the HD... is it louder than it was yesterday? does it perhaps whine a little more than before? just a touch louder, where a bearing is starting to wear, right before it catastrophically fails...

Paranoia isn't a bad thing when it comes to backups, especially as making them can be so easy :D.

dana
I used to backup weekly, a full carbon copy but since then i havent gotten back into it because i filled my carbon copy space with archived data

maybe its time to buy another harddrive

designers_hub
15th August 2005, 11:27 PM
i back up daily (unless i havn't made any new data).

I love one touch drives! very helpful!

mac_man_luke
15th August 2005, 11:29 PM
I think if i backed up daily it would wear your HD out quicker

neilrobinson
15th August 2005, 11:43 PM
at work i sometimes scatter stuff among a couple of other machines (usually when i run out of HD space) ;)

at home... well i have 2x200 GB's which just hold stuff until i burn it to dvd. i have my itunes music folder backed onto another hard drive in my PC.

backup is something i should really do more of.

neil

richbowen
15th August 2005, 11:48 PM
I try to back-up monthly. It is usually Jay on Your Mac Life who prompts me "first of the month - it's back-up day".

I use a mix of DVD-R's, iPod and dotmac. But at the rate my iPhoto library's have been growing recently (2 young kids who can't move without me bringing out the camera) I am thinking of a chunky external hard drive to simplify.

Like Dana I keep a second copy of DVD-R's at another location.

I used to find that I could not remember the whole process each month, so I now have a checklist that I work through. When the process changes (for example iTunes now sync's contacts/calendar without using iSync) I just record the new process. I guess that makes me a process sort of fella.

Simplified checklist:

- entourage
- iPhoto
- iTunes
- unfinished iMovie and iDVD projects
- other documents
- then OnyX clean-ups, repair permissions and finally
- empty the trash

Am I missing anything?

Soap
16th August 2005, 01:03 AM
how am meant to back up, does that meani will go back to last weeks date, you know like a rewind button.

applenewbie
16th August 2005, 10:21 AM
I have a slightly different slant on the topic (which is a great topic by the way..)

I have been worrying recently about the mountains of digital photos I now possess and what is a suitable, long lasting method of archiving them.

A recent article in Oz Macworld made me think about the longevity of my photos now that I've almost completely abandoned film and am snapping away like a mad man with my digital camera. Funny how many more photos you seem to take with a digital eh? Imagine losing all those precious memories in one HDD crash! :o

I currently back mine up to 2 DVD copies (one here/one offsite) but am also considering an external HDD or online storage. The worrying thing is that the estimates I've heard about the life of a DVD seem to vary widely. I'd be interested in other peoples photo archiving strategies, especially if anyone can recommend a good reliable online storage facility (.mac anyone?).

Note: Normal file backups are done using CD/DVD but not nearly regularly enough. :D

Squozen
16th August 2005, 10:28 AM
I have a script that backs up my Documents, Library and Music folders to my Linux server automatically. Takes seconds to do as it uses rsync. :)

Danamania
16th August 2005, 12:57 PM
Originally posted by applenewbie@Aug 16 2005, 10:21 AM
A recent article in Oz Macworld made me think about the longevity of my photos now that I've almost completely abandoned film and am snapping away like a mad man with my digital camera. Funny how many more photos you seem to take with a digital eh? Imagine losing all those precious memories in one HDD crash! :o

I currently back mine up to 2 DVD copies (one here/one offsite) but am also considering an external HDD or online storage. The worrying thing is that the estimates I've heard about the life of a DVD seem to vary widely. I'd be interested in other peoples photo archiving strategies, especially if anyone can recommend a good reliable online storage facility (.mac anyone?).
That's a rather big issue, unfortunately. Photos on paper can last well over 100 years, but the data we have now may be unusable in 20 years if we leave it on the same storage media it's in now. Go back to 1985, and there were floppy drives of various sizes, multiple types of hard disks, even more tape unit formats - almost none of which are accessible now without finding specialist or at least rare equipment. Burnt CDs/DVDs have no guarantee of a long life, hard drives might be good for 10 years - more if you're lucky, but trusting your backups to luck isn't much of a strategy.

So all we're left with now is continually moving our backups to newer media while old backups overlap with the new, and doing it in a time period shorter than the lifespan of the media they're written to. DVDs last only 4 years? don't let your backups get much older than a year. After all, a blank DVD is under $1.

As it is now my iPhoto library is tipping over 17GB. That makes complete backups to CD unwieldy, which is why I bought the DVD burner - a bit over 8GB per disk is possible there, which brings things to a more sane level. Under 10 disks for a complete backup won't hurt, and by the time I have 80GB of photos there'll probably be cheap 20-30GB backup options.

You sound pretty safe at the moment - if all your photos fit on 2 DVDs, then do a complete backup (on top of any incremental ones) every 6 months. Even if your burnt DVDs are unreadable in four more years you'll still have many complete backups past that time.

dana

aswitcher
16th August 2005, 01:07 PM
Originally posted by richbowen@Aug 15 2005, 11:48 PM


Simplified checklist:

- entourage
- iPhoto
- iTunes
- unfinished iMovie and iDVD projects
- other documents
- then OnyX clean-ups, repair permissions and finally
- empty the trash

Am I missing anything?
Library
Keychain
Bookmarks
Programs - Apple updates / software downloads

Bart Smastard
16th August 2005, 01:11 PM
Thanks for the paranoia trip Dana. I'll get a couple of DVD RW's tonight.

gizo
16th August 2005, 02:47 PM
Originally posted by Squozen@Aug 16 2005, 10:28 AM
I have a script that backs up my Documents, Library and Music folders to my Linux server automatically. Takes seconds to do as it uses rsync. :)
Didn't you write an aritcle about this?
?Link?

richbowen
16th August 2005, 02:54 PM
Originally posted by aswitcher@Aug 16 2005, 01:07 PM
Library
Keychain
Bookmarks
Programs - Apple updates / software downloads
Hmm, yes good points. Thanks aswitcher.

Task for tonight - back-up Library and Keychain. :rolleyes:

I think I can live without bookmarks. Apple updates / software updates are easy enough to download with broadband.

--------

Expanding upon applenewbie question re iPhoto, I don't think it takes long for external storage to become a must. I can't afford to have 10G+ of a 60G iBook hard-drive filled with photos. With 10G+ of iTunes and a couple of unfinished iMovie / iDVD projects I struggle to fit it all onto the 60G drive. I must archive iPhotos off the computer.

I guess this is all part of "the great software driving hardware driving software upgrade conspiracy"! The digital camera makers are producing more megapixel cameras, Apple is making it easy to keep / manage all these photos which makes us buy new computer hardware.

But it's all fun. :D

applenewbie
16th August 2005, 03:13 PM
Just to add to my question..

How many of you actually 'develop' your digital photos (ie get them printed onto photo paper)? I was looking at my photo albums recently and its really noticeable when I moved to digital.. there are no more photos in the albums!

I'm starting to think that with the dramatic decrease in cost for digital prints (seen them for 23c each recently) that each time I dump the contents of my cameras memory card onto my computer I might print out all the photos onto photo paper to keep a 'hard copy'. That way even if the DVD backups become unreadable I can still look at my kids photos. I bet everyone has lost emails/documents that the needed later on and wished they had a hard copy filed somewhere.

Its a bit like the paperless office arguement eh? If anything, computers produce MORE paper consumption not less.

Until someone develops a method/format of archive that ensures that in 25 -50 - 100 years time digital photos and documents are easily readable, call me old fashioned but I think the old hard copy method is still the best. :P

kim jong il
16th August 2005, 03:28 PM
Originally posted by Bart Smastard@Aug 16 2005, 01:11 PM
Thanks for the paranoia trip Dana. I'll get a couple of DVD RW's tonight.
Well re writeables are all well and good but less reliable than single write media and I would not trust them for data integrity beyond 12 months (leave one in direct sunlight for a few days and you may find out what I mean (RWables use a phase change layer that responds to different wavelengths of light of which our dear old sun emits ALL)

My current preference is for DVDs with a printable back (adds another layer that helps to prevent another probelem; peeling) I have seen Kodak gold CD's less than 10 years old (as well as cheap chinese media) where your (ones) valuable is literally peeling off in flakes off the back of the media in question.

kim

PS: listen to Dana she really does know what she is talking about.

konni
16th August 2005, 03:30 PM
"Forgive me Dana - for I have sinned. It's been 6 months since my last backup..."

Whaddya mean DVDs last only 4 years? What about CDs? :unsure:

marc
16th August 2005, 03:41 PM
My strategy:
Mirrored raid in the G5.
External Lacie drive that gets synced with Silver Keeper once a week or more often if I've done a lot of work.
Archive to 2 DVDs (one on-site, one off) for completed work.

Fair call on the life of DVDs. I guess I'll move/reburn them after 1 or 2 years.

A question: Where would you guys go if you did have a drive fail? I have a dead drive sitting here I would like to get some data off.

Squozen
16th August 2005, 03:50 PM
Originally posted by gringo@Aug 16 2005, 02:47 PM
Didn't you write an aritcle about this?
?Link?
I'm pretty sure it's on my blog. I never actually published part 2 with the rsync script I use.. :P

Squozen
16th August 2005, 03:53 PM
Originally posted by marc@Aug 16 2005, 03:41 PM
A question: Where would you guys go if you did have a drive fail? I have a dead drive sitting here I would like to get some data off.
Define 'fail'?

If it's a stuck drive (ie, it's failing to actually rotate), I've had some luck storing the drive (wrapped in layers of antistatic bags) in the freezer for 30-60 mins to shrink the metal slightly.

If it's the board that's died, you might be able to swap the PCB from another drive of the same model and get the drive working again.

If it's a total media failure you're going to be up for several hundred dollars for a data retrieval firm to tear the drive down and work their mojo.

mac_man_luke
16th August 2005, 06:16 PM
Well today i cleaned out my Clone partition so i can continue cloning

I used to use CCC which was good but because it cloned the whole hd every time took ages, now iv started using SuperDuper which can do a smart backup (eg only changed data)

marc
16th August 2005, 06:27 PM
Squozen :: I wish I knew! I took it to a drive repair place and they charged me $100 to inspect the drive. After this initial $100 they said "we have no idea, we can attempt to fix it, but it might cost as much as $1200+". I'm stupid for being in this situation and I would probably pay a bit to have the drive fixed, but I really didn't like their attitude and the fact that they'd given me no info at all.

So... I still have the drive, and the desire to have the data restored if possible. I had most of it backed up, but not one or two things that I'd really like.

As for what's wrong with it... it sounds most likely to be a board failure. I'm not a HD tech, but the drive completely disappeared with no warning, and nothing appears in Disk Util. Hmmm... oh well. It won't happen again! I'm hopefully getting another Lacie for off-site backup.

purana
16th August 2005, 07:30 PM
Speaking of backups... my mate lost 300gb of data on a protected raid set... lets just say he wasn't happy..

tempestas
16th August 2005, 08:20 PM
Thanks for a great topic Dana!

A quick question for you all, my iTunes music folder (shared between two logins) is well over 12Gb and as it resides in the "Shared" folder where most (but not all) shared documents are, is there an easy way to copy a large folder onto multiple DVD's.

Both the finder and "burn" folder don't seem to allow the ole fashioned "prompt me for another disc" approach.

I know DVD's are relatively cheap but I seems silly to underfill and use lots of discs that I then have to find space to store.

Another question. What is the accepted life span of consumer burnable CD and DVD's (yes I know the quality of the discs and burners are an impact, but lets assume I stick to TDK or other known brands and only use LaCie or built in burners?

richbowen
16th August 2005, 08:50 PM
Originally posted by tempestas@Aug 16 2005, 08:20 PM
A quick question for you all, my iTunes music folder (shared between two logins) is well over 12Gb and as it resides in the "Shared" folder where most (but not all) shared documents are, is there an easy way to copy a large folder onto multiple DVD's.

Both the finder and "burn" folder don't seem to allow the ole fashioned "prompt me for another disc" approach.


Open iTunes

Preferences > burn select Data CD or DVD

Create a playlist that contains all your songs.

Select File > Burn Playlist to Disc

That will span the burn over the required number of DVD's/CD's.

Currawong
16th August 2005, 09:28 PM
I'm currently running Retrospect on both my G5 and server. On the G5, it copies my files to another HD nightly. The server does the same. The server is kitted out with old, but solid Sun + server SCSI gear, soon which I'll likely rig as RAID 0+1 for extra redundancy.

I have been contemplating some other kinds of storage, such as tape or the new Iomega drives based on notebook HD's (the name of which I forgot) but decided that in the end, HD backup, with added backups to DVD at various times, would be the best solution.

aswitcher
16th August 2005, 09:37 PM
For me all was good until Tiger when Silverkeeper got buggy (yes I have the latest version) with my multiple user accounts.

I look forward to rumors that .Mac will have a high quality backup tool soon.

designers_hub
16th August 2005, 10:26 PM
Originally posted by mac_man_luke@Aug 15 2005, 11:29 PM
I think if i backed up daily it would wear your HD out quicker
lol, thats kinda stupid. Your working drive would run much more than your back up drive.

I don't see how using a drive more often wears it down. Also back up drives would only be required to run 30minutes (for my 50gig backup). Plus hard drives are very very realible, they would only stuff up if you disconnected via tranfer or didn't unmount it etc. Even if it breaks you can take it to a company to get it restored, expensive yes but still.

Also backup software will do incremental backups. So basically it scans your working drive and compares it against a map of your backup drive and updates the files as required. So technically your backup drive isn't do much writing or reading (my backup software only scans the working drive for changes and deson't need to "rescan" the backup drive since it already as a "achieve" map of the drive.

I would expect my LCD screen to wear out faster than a hard drive, there very redundant when you think about it.

For me external drives are the only way to do. I never use ever use floppy disk (I HATE IT WHEN PC USERS HAND BE A FREAKING FLOPPY!). CDS i find annoying because its slow and its not the most "reusable" medium. It is great to share data around with friends and clients. USB key rings are always nice to have around. But when it comes to back ups external drives is the only way to go, when you have 40+gigs to back up it really is the only option. I do however back up my software files onto DVDs since I have a habit of "accidentally" deleting them off the external drives, so thats when closed/write protected DVDs and CDs come in handy ;).

BTW. I know that firewire 400 is slower than USB 2.0 but why is it that it can still transfer faster to my external drive? I have a maxtor 250gig btw.

pipsqeek
17th August 2005, 02:11 PM
I profit from people that don't back up, amoung other things.

I had a client that was referred to me from a mate, her HDD failed, no backup... she was an author, writing her book. She almost had it finished.

And even after that, it took some convincing for her to get into backing up.

I back up daily.

pipsqeek

montfort
17th August 2005, 03:00 PM
Originally posted by marc@Aug 16 2005, 03:41 PM
A question: Where would you guys go if you did have a drive fail? I have a dead drive sitting here I would like to get some data off.
try this company - http://www.ontrackdatarecovery.com.au/

they may be able to help

marc
17th August 2005, 08:29 PM
Thanks montfort! They look good. I'll call them in the morning.

psyke
18th August 2005, 10:22 AM
So here I was, reading this thread and thinking about how I haven&#39;t yet got around to figuring out Unison <http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~bcpierce/unison/> to sync my laptop with the desktop when suddenly I realised - I have .Mac, so I have Apple&#39;s Backup utility&#33;

A few (heh) minutes later and I&#39;ve done a backup of most of my laptop (excluding tunes & photos which will have to wait for later...) to CD&#39;s.

Painless. Thanks for the reminder :D