General Question

tom_g's avatar

What is your data backup system?

Asked by tom_g (16635points) July 1st, 2011

How do you currently back up your data?

1. Do you use one of the services like:

2. Do you pay for an increased storage plan on Dropbox and make sure you use your dropbox folders to store all of your data?

3. Do you have a couple of large external drives that you use to backup your files on a regular basis?

4. Do you have an unlimited webhosting plan that will allow you to ftp data?

What system(s) do you use? And more importantly, have you ever had to actually restore data from any of these methods. I know someone who swore by Mozy until he needed to get data back from them.

Currently, I have a secondary drive that I backup to nightly, I have an external drive that I backup to weekly, and I have a portable external drive that I backup to monthly and keep offsite. I also have 5GB of free Dropbox space that I use.

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16 Answers

MissAnthrope's avatar

My mom uses Carbonite, which I believe just came in very handy after she got a virus and lost the contents of her hard drive. I have not used it personally, though, so I can’t speak for it.

Myself, I have an external hard drive for this purpose. I’m considering getting a second or maybe something like Dropbox, where I can have a second backup in case the external drive fails. I have so many years and hundreds of thousands of photos, I would curl up and cry if I lost them all. I’d be devastated.

I have used this successfully, though. I, myself, had a tenacious virus a few years ago and had to wipe my HD. Thank god I had that 150 gig external drive to save all my stuff!

krrazypassions's avatar

A 2TB external drive… backup as and when required.

flutherother's avatar

I have two drives on my PC and I duplicate most of my stuff. I also use a 500GB external drive and I save stuff to gmail.

atlantis's avatar

I have a 250 GB external drive. Used to backup when needed.

robmandu's avatar

I used Mozy for a while. Took almost two months – running 24×7 – just to get the initial copy of all files out there.

But I’ve since quit that and moved to a two-tier backup:

1. Onsite Apple Time Capsule + Time Machine

2. Weekly mirror of the hard drive using SuperDuper! which is then kept off-site.


Why two tier?

The mirrored drive I keep offsite is sufficient for keeping my data safe. It’s all I really need. But there’s more to it than keeping your data merely safe. I feel it also needs to be accessible. And that’s where Time Machine comes in.

If I accidentally deleted an email, how do I get it back?

The old-school way of getting it back would typically involve finding your backup copy of the email. Where’s that? For most email apps, the emails themselves aren’t stored as individual files in the filesystem with easy-to-read names that jump up and wave at you. No, they’re stored in a database. So… to restore that one email, I need to get that backup database copied over… if I can even find it, if I can get the permissions right, if I don’t neglect to bring over any other ephemeral files that might also be necessary.

And then what do I have? I have the old database plugged in. I need to find that one email, export and save it out somewhere safe. And then plug the original database back in. Yuck! How many non-IT people can do that? Or even understand the words used to describe it?

Time Machine provides accessibility. It works inside your apps. So… if I’m inside the Mail app, click the Time Machine icon, then it brings up the swoopy space view so I can virtually go back in time to the point I deleted that email and restore it directly.

And not just for email, but in iCal, in Address Book, iPhoto and other database-stored information as well. And, of course, it works regular old files at the filesystem level as well.

tom_g's avatar

@robmandu – Thanks. re: Mozy – I tried Mozy when it was first launched, and I remember having to keep my pc on for weeks. I do not leave it on overnight.

I hear that people like those Apple products, but unfortunately I have a pc. I’m a .NET software developer, and I’m considering getting a mac next and dual-booting.

tom_g's avatar

@atlantis – The external drive is good, but I knew someone who had their pc and external drive stolen. That’s why I currently keep an external drive off site.

Lightlyseared's avatar

My files (documents, music, videos etc) take up 12TB and are stored on a NAS not my main computer. Its a RAID 5 so if any one HD fails then it can be replaced without data loss.
I also have an extra backups on HD’s. I also have a HD thats got a backup my steam library to reduce the need to redownload stuff too often.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Same as @Lightlyseared. No more headaches, though my performance suffers a bit because it’s networked ethernet. I usually just copy the project I’m working on to the local SSD and work on a separate copy which overwrites the NAS upon completion.

phoebusg's avatar

Wuala online realtime backup/sync + externals + resistant dvds for important files.

downtide's avatar

I back up my data on another PC at home. We have several.

mattbrowne's avatar

Several external hard drives, one of which is in a locked drawer at my office. It’s not a good idea to keep all at home (because of a fire or severe flood).

ml3269's avatar

Time Machine and manually iDisk and 3 external HDs.

phoebusg's avatar

@downtide your strategy is weak to a worm virus. Are all said PC’s same OS? (Ex Unix or Windows). Also weak to a severe power spike, unless you’ve got UPS on all of them. With other natural disasters to consider.

downtide's avatar

@phoebusg I’m aware its weak, but at the moment we don’t have the finances to do anything else. I currently can’t afford external drives or sufficient online space. We have a devent antivirus, they’re all on surge protectors, and if there’s a natural disaster that’s bad enough to damage computers in my house, well then the computers and the data on them is seriously going to be the smallest of my worries.

phoebusg's avatar

@downtide there is a full explanation on how Wuala works on youtube somewhere. It’s very secure (due to how it works). Check it out. If you trade space you get a lot of online space for free. Dropbox on the other hand is insecure exposing one’s files to 3rd parties.

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