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Thread: Back it up !!!!!!!

  1. #1
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    Back it up !!!!!!!

    After my previous post of a bloody USB cord causing me so much grief, and heart trouble (Tell me it's all not lost)

    I'd love to hear what you recommend as the best/safest/most recommended back up procedure around, and why you use it?

    With so many Op platforms out there, could you please state Op platform, system requirements, I.E Win7-8-9, Mac 6-7-8, Firefox, Google, and so on.

    It's no use rating a Mac compatable system for us Windows users, and vis versa.

    My limited knowledge of Op Sys out there is on dispaly, I used to have a program that would burn cd's/dvd's, but is that the way ahead, degradation of information and so forth.

    Love to hear/read what you have to say on the matter.

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    Having an offsite backup plan is ideal, but not always workable.

    That is, what invariably happens, unless you have a very solid and unwavering level of sticking to a routine. You may find yourself thinking that .. Oh! I can let it slide this time, and then again, doing the offsite turn around or update and bang! before you know it, that million dollar image that you had on the backup that you didn't copy to the offsite backup was the one that got lost in the melee.

    So, with that not counting an offsite backup routine, I reckon having two external drives as your backup destinations as a 99% failsafe solution. The important thing to keep in mind is to never let the drives fill up.. always below about 80-90%(lower is better!).
    As the drive fills, it slows down for starters and as I've found, probably more prone to errors.

    I have tons of drives(for a non tech type person.. ie. just a simple plain home user), and my only two drive error issues(not failures!! just issues) were on two fairly full drives.
    My problems were that in addition to keeping other backup files, I used to place them on the external drives too.
    File types such as home video capture @ 11G a pop for a single raw hour of footage, which I can't bring myself to delete

    So I deleted it all as I found my first 1Tb drive simply wasn't enough, as I had a couple of hundred Gigs of 'other files'.
    But then I had to put the other files somewhere(else).

    in the end I got me a new 2Tb drive for all the files and then it fileld to just over 1Tb of photos, and close to 1.5T of files alltogether!

    Not good! so I got another 2Tb drive, deleted all the other files again and never added them to my saved photo drives ever again.

    Now I have 2x 2Tb drives for photos only! all the other files(that is any file that is not photo related) is placed on the original 1Tb drive that started to cause me trouble.

    Scanned and fixed that drive and now running smoothly again.

    One thing I hated about external drives(and no names in particular, but I have access to two different brands) is their inane backup software.
    The software works ok for those that don't know what a backup should be, but the software is generally more of an annoyance.

    RichCopy4!!
    for home users, I doubt anything better exists.

    Some folks like to do backups at the time of downloading the images to the PC(from camera) but I find this to be an incorrect manner of doing it.
    It seems to make sense, and I've offered this advice to other folks on a personal level too, but to make a backup of an entire directory before you edit the images inthat directory is nto relaly a backup of the images on the other(edited) directory.
    You need to update the mirrored folder every time you make a backup anyhow.

    Did I say Richcopy4!!

    this program has enough ease of use to allow even the least knowledgeable person a fighting chance to making backups.

    Set it copy a folder, folder within a folder, or whatever you like.

    once setup, you open it and click the 'play' button and it does it's business.
    The beauty of configuring the software is that you kind of tune it to run at the fastest backup speed possible(which is usually limited to the speed of your PC).
    You can set it to copy as many files as possible at any one time, or as few as possible. It gives you a visual indicator of how quickly your speeds are(but never an estimated time of completion)
    it only ever copies a file if the file on the destination is older(by default), or you can change this option if you want(but is not advisable).
    So it;s not stuck there asking you if you want to over write the older file with a newer file.
    That is, an edited file with an unedited file.
    I work with raw files, so the older unedited raw file is of no use to me. Your image editing software will determine if the raw file has been 'edited' or not so this aspect is going to vary from user to user anyhow.

    RichCopy4 is free. It's a modern user hacked and improved version of the MS RoboCopy, which is an advanced type of copy and paste routine.

    If you want to try it, it's downloadable from a website with the name Spotlight Utility Hoffman or something similar.
    The program install folder may be called Spolight/Hoffman of whatever and the actual Start menu link is under the name Microsoft Rich Tools.

    Set it to copy an entire folder/drive of content to another and that's it.
    It'll just churn away without using up 'any resources' compared to some other software I've used .. even the good ol copy/paste routine.

    hard drives still remain responsive and there is barely a blip in the CPU usage, so you just let it copy an entire 2tb of junk in the background as you solider on.

    if there is an interruption to the power in a drive or any other potentially data destroying situation like this, it has erroir checking and data integrity checking.

    Never lost a single kilobyte of data in the Terabytes of data I've transferred, almost always using RichCopy.
    For simple few hundred megs of any data(not just photos), I just use copy/paste, but when I'm transferring hundred of gigs of data, RichCopy is always the program of choice.

    As for what media type. My experience is that I've lost zero files on hard drives in the past few years, whereas I've lost close to every old CD/DVD based file I've ever had.
    I can explain to you that every DVD I've ever backed up for the kids to watch, has been destroyed or degraded to the point where it's no longer a DVD of entertainment .. unless you like playing quoits with them.

    hard drives are the cheapest solution anyhow.
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    Member Roo's Avatar
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    I use external HDD's and I have 2 on board dedicated back up drives. So I back up to the on boards regularly and then over to the externals every couple of weeks.

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    The most important part of a good back up plan is to have a copy off site.

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    Unfortunately it looks like a fairly big chunk of my images have recently become corrupt. Mostly sports images, but I've lost some good work, sadly.

    My fault for not backing up really. Still not happy about it.

    Just thought I'd mention it as a 'for Pete's sake, back it up!!' post.

    Not just your photos either, but don't forget to back up the Lightroom Catalogue file!!

    Also, if off-site backup isn't an option, then I'd consider storing the backup in the car (out of sight, of course). If the worst happens and your house burns down or somebody breaks in and steals everything, then your car is most likely still going to be safe.

    Just don't leave your backup plugged into the power point, otherwise you're asking for a power spike to take out everything.

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    Backup to HDD and then backup to DVD (I store the DVDs at work).
    I'm not as vigilant as I should be though...particualrly with the DVDs......
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    How big is your photo library? Surely it'd be a lot faster and cheaper just to back up to another external HDD?

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    In my case, 2 x Windows Media Centre Pc's, 2 desktops Pc's (multiple OS) and 1 laptop (Vista) are backed up to a machine running WHS (Windows Home Server).

    All partitions with pictured, documents and music are also backed up to the server.

    You can easily use an older Pc to build your own WHS. The software is extremely cheap and is very easy to use. It comes with a graphical UI. Back ups can be set to run automatically. Besided that my WHS is set to back up all pics etc... to a second drive in case something happens to the first drive.

    All import family pics and videos are also backed up to an external drive and kept outside my house (we have a seperate bungalow now owned by our cat).
    Last edited by Meumerke; 21-10-2011 at 10:38am.

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    Ausphotography Regular Brian500au's Avatar
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    I am just wondering now with internet back space becoming so cheap it might be worth buying 100gb and using something like dropbox to automatically backup all your photos. I am going to look into this myself.

    At the moment I use a couple of external hard disks to back up - always keeping one in a fireproof safe, but I suffer the same as everybody else in not changing over the disks as often as I should.
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    At this stage 2 external HDD for me but with my music also this is fast filling up.
    Do you like ...... Stuff?

    www.youtube.com/martzgq

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    My Approach to Backups

    I take backing up quite seriously, and I have adopted an approach that provides disk-based and geographical redundancy.

    My PC is a Apple MacBook Pro (17") with a 500GB hard disk. All of my image (and other) data is stored on it. In my home office I keep two LaCie d2 Quadra 1TB external hard disks, which have a FireWire 800 port offering faster data transfer rates.

    I keep a third external hard disk off-site to ensure geographical redundancy in case my local external disks suffer loss, theft or damage. My off-site disk is a 500GB Western Digital My Passport Essential, and I use Apple Time Machine to back up my entire system to this disk on a weekly basis.

    (A Mac can be restored from scratch from a Time Machine backup -- handy when your disk crashes, or when you upgrade the capacity of the disk in your existing Mac.)

    My approach is to manually back up my data to my local drives, generally every week or two. This method might sound cumbersome, but it works for me, and I employ a very structured filing system.

    The end result is that I have four copies of all of my data, some of which goes back 17 years. (The current value of that 17-year-old data is questionable, but I am sentimental.)

    In the past I used CD media, and later DVD media, but as my volume of data increased, and as image file sizes and the byte count of individual photoshoots also increased, optical media quickly became cumbersome and insufficient, and that was when I invested in external hard disks.

    The other issue is that I don't trust optical media. Sure, hard disks can fail, too, but the key is not to rely on one disk. Hard disks are much more convenient to use, a lot faster, and they store a lot more data.

    To conclude, my key advice on data backups is:

    1. back up regularly (weekly or fortnightly is good);
    2. back up to multiple storage devices, never relying on one alone;
    3. keep your data in at least two geographically separate locations; and
    4. use the most effective and reliable storage media of the day, and update when needed.
    Last edited by Xenedis; 21-10-2011 at 7:02pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Vandelay View Post
    The most important part of a good back up plan is to have a copy off site.
    this is spot on advice but how many people actually do this would be pretty low imho. I know my circle of friends as a straw pole don't even myself I know I should but don't, it's just not practical I guess.

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    I use SyncExp to keep the directory on my laptop and on my desktop identical. That way any new pics on either, get added to the other, and vice versa. At least that way two computers have to die at the same time to lose all my data. I then use an external harddrive to backup the My Pictures folder from the desktop, which gives me a third copy.
    None are ideal solutions, and in a fire if I fail to grab at least one of the portable items (laptop or External drive) then I still lose it all.
    I think a Blu-Ray burner might be a good solution. Throw the whole lot onto a couple of Blu Rays and keep them at your work/in your car/at a family member's house, and that way you have an off-site backup. I just haven't bought a blu-ray burner yet, and probably won't for a while. So for me I just have to hope the external harddrive is in easy reach in an emergency.
    Last edited by Ezookiel; 21-10-2011 at 11:23pm.
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    Member CapnBloodbeard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian500au View Post
    I am just wondering now with internet back space becoming so cheap it might be worth buying 100gb and using something like dropbox to automatically backup all your photos. I am going to look into this myself.

    At the moment I use a couple of external hard disks to back up - always keeping one in a fireproof safe, but I suffer the same as everybody else in not changing over the disks as often as I should.
    I've never understood the benefit of uploading to the cloud (aside from being able to access your files anywhere in the world) - uploading is damn slow, and a lot of ISPs meter uploads as well.

  15. #15
    Ausphotography Regular Brian500au's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CapnBloodbeard View Post
    I've never understood the benefit of uploading to the cloud (aside from being able to access your files anywhere in the world) - uploading is damn slow, and a lot of ISPs meter uploads as well.
    You only have to upload the bulk of your photos once - and from there it is a matter of incremental back ups. If you set it up a folder to back up daily then you never have to worry about doing weekly backups and keeping storage offsite. Speed should not be a concern as most backup is done in the background anyway.

    A lot of ISP's now allow offpeak data increase so I still think it could be a viable option. I have a feeling this cloud thing is just the start of something big.

    More and more companies are moving their own backups to offshore servers.
    Last edited by Brian500au; 22-10-2011 at 4:15pm.

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    I work in IT and deal with backups all day every day, and I know that my current approach isn't good. To date it hasn't really bothered me but the quality of my image library is steadily improving and I need to update it. I'll list my current plan and my ideal approach. I'd like to point out too that budget constraints can unfortunately dictate what happens with backups - for my mind the best backup is the best you can afford.

    What I think:
    - Get something that is relatively easy (otherwise you're likely to let it slip every now and then)
    - Get the best solution you can afford
    - Stick to a routine, set reminders if necessary!
    - Test the backups regularly to ensure the data is consistent and can be resotored.
    - Don't just back up your images, back up the operating system and software as well!

    My current approach (which is about to be retired as it's not adequate)
    - Mirrored internal drives as primary data store
    - Backup important shoots (eg. paid clients) to DVD before editing (so originals are retained) and another DVD with copies of the edited RAW files and jpegs once complete
    - Weekly backup to 1TB hard disk, taken offsite the morning after it completes (this is done using the 'backup and restore' software included in Windows 7, stored offsite in my wife's locker at work)

    My intended approach
    - Internal drives to remain as primary data store (ample storage)
    - Backup to DVD original RAW files once transferred, and edited RAW files and jpegs once complete, for important shoots
    - Backup to DVD the 'regular' photos I take (do this once a month)
    - Relatively cheap, but large, NAS device (Eg. Seagate 2TB BlackArmor)
    - Use Windows Backup software to back up the entire computer to the NAS on a daily basis
    - At least two rotating USB hard drives, stored offsite, updated on alternate weeks (eg. Drive 1 this week, drive 2 next week, then repeat). Unsure on software I'll use to complete this but may write a custom script. Drives to have the same capacity as the NAS
    - Test offsite and in house backups monthly by restoring data.

    Regarding offsite/cloud/internet backups - most broadband connections in Australia don't have the throughput to do this efficiently. An initial backup for me of my photos only (around 250GB), assuming my ADSL2+ connection was able to upload at full speed for the entire time, would take 3.5 weeks. Depending on changes, all work done in a day may not be able to replicate before the next day backup starts. Also note, that ADSL connections are asynchronous - if you upload constantly at full speed, your download speed will suffer. My current recommendation with this sort of backup is it's not worth it, unless you have a 10Mbps or greater upstream to the backup service - which, lets face it, virtually no home users will have.

    If you want to work out how long it will take for you to backup to an offsite location, head to this page: http://www.calctool.org/CALC/prof/co.../transfer_time and enter in the amount of data you have, and what your upstream speed is (you should be able to get this information from your router). It will give you the best case scenario transfer time based on no outside influence (such as ISP throttling, exchange/RIM congestion, TCP overheads, pausing the upload etc).
    Last edited by dieselpower; 23-10-2011 at 7:42am.

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