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  • Backing up

    This could have gone under either Software or Hardware, but I think Software is probably more appropriate.

    My habit of backing up my files leaves something to be desired, so I'm thinking about getting an external hard drive for backing up. Windows XP is my OS, and I'd like to be able to easily (automatically??) backup my files at regular intervals. Does anyone use a software program that would work for me? I'd like to do auto incremental backups regularly, after initially backing up everything that needs it.

    Even though this is the software forum, if anyone has other thoughts on the hardware part of backing up, I'd appreciate feedback on that too. At the present time, I'm backing up to another internal hard drive, but I'm a little concerned that a bad virus could wipe that clean. Another thread could be started in the hardware forum if need be, or if the moderator desires, he can split this post between the two forums.

    Ed

  • #2
    Some viruses will only go after the primary internal drive, but some will attack any hard disk they can find on the system. So an external drive is not completely safe. It does have less risk, though. Especially if you keep it turned off between backups.

    I've been looking for new backup software for two weeks now. And I have not found any programs that do all of what I want. But one thing I am coming to is I don't want any software that writes a file only it can read. This means that it must know how to write zip format files, in case I want to save a compressed backup to CD. It must also be able to simply copy files over, with no compression or combining into a larger files. Because the truth is, if I back up to an NTFS formatted hard disk, I can simply turn on NTFS compression. And then I can restore files with the backup software, Windows Explorer, or even Adobe Photoshop.

    I'm still looking around for software that can do what I want. And as it looks now, I might end up getting two programs.

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    • #3
      Wouldnt you be better using a completely 'isolated' method such as a dvd burner Ed?

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      • #4
        Thanks Andrew and Chris, for the replies. That gives me something else to think about. If there were only one way to do it, I wouldn't be forced to make such hard decisions!

        Ed

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        • #5
          It is a lot safer to use a write-only medium, like CD. The thing is, though, will the inconvenience of doing it to CDs mean that the time in between backups will be too long. And if it is, it might be better to backup to an external hard disk, and also do redundent backups to CD when convenience allows this.

          BTW, if one really wants to go whole hog, having copies offsite is also a good idea.

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          • #6
            From a cost point of view and the plunge in the price of DVD burners I would have thought it would be a cheaper option than an external drive such as the Maxtor or LaCie models.
            I got a Pioneer 106 DVD burner a few months ago and its already saved my bacon once.

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            • #7
              I use a Maxtor external USB2 harddrive. It has a backup button, and every night as I turn off my monitor, I press the button and can sleep knowing I'm fully backed up as of that moment.
              Learn by teaching
              Take responsibility for learning

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              • #8
                Just to add to what Doug said, the Maxtor drive comes with a special version of Retrospective backup software, that knows how to work with the button on the drive. I have a Maxtor USB external, but I choose not to use this feature. Not that I think it is bad, but because I am looking into a different way of doing it. And, I am backing up using Windows native backup software while I'm looking. No need to temp fate too much.

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                • #9
                  Thanks again for the replies. Actually, I've been considering a Maxtor external with the backup button. It's the convenience that I like, and if it's not convenient to backup.....well, that's the problem. Does the software that comes with that drive allow incremental backups? Still undecided.

                  Ed

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                  • #10
                    The software is pretty good, and has most backup features (and allows an inexpensive upgrade to the Pro version if there's a feature you must have that it doesn't come with).

                    One feature about the Maxtor/Retrospect package that I love and no one ever mentions is that the one-button backup is a straight file-copy. That is, it's not in a compressed backup or archive file. The individual files are copied and individually available, so there's no wading though unfamiliar software if you need a file, you just browse over and nab it.

                    Of course, the software has the one-big-archive file option, as well, and just about every other option.

                    The one downside to upgrading to the Pro version is that it disables the one-button backup.
                    Learn by teaching
                    Take responsibility for learning

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                    • #11
                      Doug,

                      How does it handle incremental backups. Do modified files replace the target in the backup, or can it keep versions of the same file?

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                      • #12
                        I believe you can do it any way you like.
                        Learn by teaching
                        Take responsibility for learning

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                        • #13
                          Thanks for the info Doug.

                          Ed

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                          • #14
                            The best form of backup is on a medium completely seperate from the PC i.e. CDr, DVD or tape. Isnt the external HD subject to the same threats as its host PC?

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                            • #15
                              I'll be the first to admit that I know little about the world of computers. But here's how I've been thinking-- If the external hard drive is turned off except while backing up, and everything seems to be working normally, the chances are slim of that drive getting wiped clean or becoming corrupted, even if there is a dormant virus on another drive. It's quite possible that I'm wrong in my thinking. Am I?:?

                              Ed

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