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Old Feb 16, 2011, 9:06 AM   #11
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Personally, I stick to hard drives.

I use a Thermaltake BlacX docking station and buy bare SATA drives to use with it (less expensive compared to external drives with enclosures if you're using more than one hard drive for backups).

I boot into a Linux Live CD (SimplyMEPIS) and use GNU ddrescue to make full disk image backups (exact sector by sector copy of the original drive written to a file) on a regular basis.

Note that USB 2.0 attached docking stations are the slowest. So, I'd go eSATA or USB 3.0 instead.

See the Thermaltake BlacX models here:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...rder=BESTMATCH

If buying a new docking station, I'd probably go USB 3.0. For example, this one:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-133-_-Product

You can get a USB 3.0 card for around $30 now.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...CE&Pagesize=20

Note that you can also use a USB 3.0 docking station on a PC or laptop that only has USB 2.0 ports. You'd only get USB 2.0 speed that way. But, that makes them more compatible with more devices (since most any modern desktop or laptop is going to have USB 2.0 ports, and not as many are going to have eSATA or Firewire (other popular solutions for external drives).

These docking stations are easy to use. You can buy bare SATA drives and plug them right in and they show up as removable drives.

Another thing I tend to do is save the old drives when upgrading so I'll have additional backups.

For example, I just replaced one of the 320GB drives in a cheap desktop I have with a larger 640GB drive with 64MB of Cache that I got on sale for $29.99

I just copied the old 320GB drive to the new 640GB drive using gnu ddrescue and resized the partitions so that I have an extra 320GB of free space now, and I'm saving the smaller 320GB drive as an additional backup.
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Old Feb 16, 2011, 11:50 AM   #12
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I too reuse my old drives from defunct computers. More at the hacker level, i use this to connect them:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...554&CatId=3770
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Old Feb 16, 2011, 1:43 PM   #13
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its not difficult to set up a raid system I have wireless 4 port router and a sinology disk station you just plug it in to the router switch on and configure it. it is that easy its then seen on the network. I have used this on windows and MAC
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Old Feb 17, 2011, 8:35 PM   #14
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Frank and others

I have approx 300 Disc (32 CDs, 12 DL-DVDs, 4 Blue Ray discs and the rest DVD-Rs). I had a chest of drawers built for me last year that has 5 drawers in height is 5 discs wide and 100 discs deep in each slot. I keep the disc in 5 different categories according to how I work and shot and then in each category the discs are in alphabetical order.

I keep an exact backup off every Disc (using one folder per disc with same name as disc) on a Netgear Storage Central using Seagate G-Shock 1TGB hard drives. I also keep an MS Word document listing each disc title in bold type with type of media (CD, DVD, DL-DVD, BR-DVD) and then a list of subfolders on that disc. The list is about 51 pages but makes finding what I need pretty easy. If I know the title of what I am after or part of it or have a date I can use the search and find feature in MS Word to help me.

I have the first Seagate drive I put in the Netgear a 500GB model which has my oldest pictures in a small USB hard drive enclosure in a military gun ammo box at this time. I don't have a third back up.. I am about to fill up the first 1TGB hard drive shortly and the next oldest photos will be stored to that drive in another enclosure in the same ammo box. A new 1TGB drive will replace that one in the netgear.

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Old Feb 22, 2011, 2:32 PM   #15
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There are all kinds of ways to back up. The OP mentioned using CDs so presumably we are not talking terabytes. A good way is to use archive quality DvD or better yet DvD RAM which is much more hardy. The nice about DvD RAM is that it's random access so you can continue to add, edit and modify the disk's content. Otherwise a nice single platter 2.5" external drive is good. Remember that the backup drive is for backup so the number of expected hours on the MTBF & cycles numbers will be miniscule.

I would stay away from things like flash drives.
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Old Feb 22, 2011, 5:11 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdromel View Post
There are all kinds of ways to back up. The OP mentioned using CDs so presumably we are not talking terabytes. A good way is to use archive quality DvD or better yet DvD RAM which is much more hardy. The nice about DvD RAM is that it's random access so you can continue to add, edit and modify the disk's content...
the bad thing about dvd-ram is that many dvd-writers won't burn them.
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Old Feb 22, 2011, 5:21 PM   #17
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A few points that I don't think I've seen above.

3.5" HDs (desktop drives) are much more durable than 2.5" ones (laptop drives). I have had 3.5" drives fail, two in the same month, but it's fairly unusual. I don't trust 2.5" drives beyond a year of occasional use, and I have had them fail long before then - a WD "My Passport" 500gb drive I bought last September and have never moved from my desk has just failed.

A disk's life is determined by how long it's powered up (amongst other things). I know people who leave their external hard disks permanently plugged in, either out of laziness or because they're running a RAID system. I connect an external drive when I need to access it to read or write - the rest of the time it sits on my desk unpowered. And I try never to move a disk whenever it's powered, and certainly never when it's being accessed.

Using an external disk with Windows it's essential to run "safely remove hardware" before unplugging it, especially after writing to it but also after reading from it, even if you've pulled it out countless times without doing that. At some point you will corrupt something.

I have a deep distrust of spinning disks having had way too many fail with little or no warning, so I operate a grandfather-father-son backup system. And whenever I've unloaded pictures from a flash drive onto a hard disk, I ensure they're safely on a second hard disk before deleting them from the flash drive.

I have had power surges during writing from one external HD to another which have corrupted both disks. I ensure I have a completely separate backup also available.

I live in an area with dubious public electricity supply, so despite the shorter life of 2.5" drives I use them extensively as they can be USB powered. I've never come across a USB-powered 3.5" drive. But I also have three large mains-powered drives with identical file copies on all of them. As I said, I've had way too many hard drives fail to trust them at all.

I don't use "automatic" backup software, which usually requires a hard drive being connected for longer than I would like, and because there is a risk of files I want to keep being deleted. My main backup software is "Beyond Compare", which I find very powerful and flexible.

I am about to get a BluRay writer/reader and may use it occasionally for backups. But probably not, for two reasons - (1) 25gb is way too little for me (I back up several hundred gig at a time) and (2) optical disks where I live (on a Caribbean island) have a very short life before they self-destruct. I have had commercial DVDs become unreadable in three months, even though they're kept relatively protected from the elements except when they're in use. All my films are held on external hard disk for that reason, but when I want to watch one I copy it onto my laptop hard drive before watching it, so as to minimise the time the external drive is connected.
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Old Mar 3, 2011, 12:54 PM   #18
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Just a small caveat for those using optical media: it is not permanent. The optical dyes used, do break down in time. Don't expect more than ten years, when stored in 'good' (dry, regulated temps, no direct sunlight) conditions, and there will be some data loss even then. CDs I burned ten years ago are still mostly usable, but there are a number of increasingly bad sectors. I would expect DVDs, with their higher density, to be shorter lived, even with improvements to the technology.
I agree highly that multiple backup methods are best.

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Old Mar 3, 2011, 1:52 PM   #19
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Optical disks (CD, DVD, BDR) in Belize have a whole life of just a few months unless they are hermetically sealed. The salt air gets to everything.

In general with any data I want to keep for a long time, be that computer data or music recordings I've made myself, I copy them periodically. I have a large collection of live recordings made on DAT tape, and even though they're stored very well in a cool climate (not in Belize) I find increasing problems reading them once they pass the five year stage. So I pull them out and copy them. That also enables me to write to whatever medium seems at the time to be the most durable.
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Old May 7, 2011, 9:45 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterbj7 View Post
All my films are held on external hard disk for that reason, but when I want to watch one I copy it onto my laptop hard drive before watching it, so as to minimise the time the external drive is connected.
My entire movie collection is also stored on an external hard drive because I have found over the past few years the 200 or VHS tapes they were stored on started to slowly fail. I don't record anything to VHS any more. So in 2009 I started to copy them from the VCR through my laptop into digital format (using a program called honestech VHS to DVD) and then stored them on an external USB hard drive. I haven't really watched any lately as my free time has been spend either taking photos or copying more movies over from the remaining. I know this will sound strange but I have been saying all my movies in .mov format so that the file sizes are smaller and I can get more per hard drive.

One nice thing about this is that you can instantly access any movie you have without having to cur up the VHS to right point once you find the tape and figure out where it needs to be cued to.

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