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Old Nov 10, 2005, 11:25 AM   #11
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I have been in the computer business most of my adult life and have learned many hard lessons about backup. There are to distinctive kinds of backup. Portable like tape, CD, DVD and USB plug. These methods can protect your important data if you loose your computer to fire if they are stored in a different location. I have chosen a more direct approach and that is total system backup to a second hard drive. Yes hard drives may not last forever but unless my total computer is destroyed I can find retrieve and restore anything lost by overwrite erasure or crash. There is a windows option in power scheme to turn off hard drives I have it set to one hour which stops my primary drive from going up and down killing its lifecycle. The backup drive shuts down and stays down until needed. For backup performance I have each drive on a separate IDE channel. I use Ghost by Norton and run a total backup every night. The backupis a clone of the productrion / live drive. I will ocassionaly backup up key information on a DVD. Now you can buy a 250GB USB backup drive for $150.00 and have portability.

BTW, the backup is done from a floppy boot.
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Old Nov 10, 2005, 12:22 PM   #12
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After having lost all my old pictures from my first digital camera due to a computer problem compounded by a bad attitude early one morn you guys really caught my attention. I went off and bought a drive that would burn any current format. While being helped by a young fellow I was going toget a Blue Ray, which he said would be some time in coming so get this and be happy. Oddly though I was going to get a USB exterior hard drive, but he said don't. He said I should wait till they had the solid state model as drives ware out. Hmmmm. So now I'm looking into that. Any prudent suggestions??
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Old Nov 10, 2005, 12:32 PM   #13
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Tazzie wrote:
Quote:
After having lost all my old pictures from my first digital camera due to a computer problem compounded by a bad attitude early one morn you guys really caught my attention. I went off and bought a drive that would burn any current format. While being helped by a young fellow I was going toget a Blue Ray, which he said would be some time in coming so get this and be happy. Oddly though I was going to get a USB exterior hard drive, but he said don't. He said I should wait till they had the solid state model as drives ware out. Hmmmm. So now I'm looking into that. Any prudent suggestions??
Yes dives wear out but you would not be using the drive for daily work only for backup. Solid state = solid electrostatic charge. I would rather replace my seldom-spinning drive when my main drive exceeds the size of the backup.
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Old Nov 11, 2005, 6:14 AM   #14
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No matter what you use, there's no such thing as permanent storage -- some forms last longer than others but none can be guaranteed for ever.

I've a stack of failed optical drives on the shelf right now that check out perfectly except for one thing: they don't read -- or sometimes read but don't write -- any more (failed lasers, they have a very finite life.)

I also have a once very expensive reel-to-reel tape deck that looks imposing, but is unfixable because the required spare parts no longer exist.

A well-protected and lightly used hard drive is probably as good as anything that's about today, and certainly the best option spacewise, but it's still subject to electronic failure like any other such device -- they can fail sitting on the shelf, and even if the fault doesn't wipe out the data their circuit boards are more often than not impossible to fix.

Besides, half a century from now, what's going to be around to read it?

Try plugging an early hard disk written with one of the systems from even thirty years ago into your PC -- if you can find an interface that will fit...

(My present PC's motherboard has no less than three hard drive controllers on it -- all different, and drives set up for one won't work directly on the other two, even though the machine itself happily reads and writes them all.)

Even the hitherto ubiquitous floppy -- I still have 8", 5.25" and 3.5" lying around the place, but if I need anything that's not on a 3.5" I have to dust off and start an antique machine to read the disk, and many new PC's have dispensed with the 3.5" as well.

All you can really do is keep moving the data along as technology changes and, as I said earlier -- keep your fingers crossed...

I think slate, papyrus, vellum and canvas had quite a bit going for them. :-)
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Old Nov 11, 2005, 8:16 PM   #15
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I see no reason to finalize a CD written multi-session. Except for my music and program backups mine were all written multi-session and never closed. I don't think it makes any difference in the overall reliability of the CD.

The number one thing you can do to preserve a CD is to keep it completely in the dark. Temperature and humidity aren't nearly as important as dark. I make a copy on a regular cyanine based CD for normal use. I make another for archive on a gold CD with long lasting phtalocyanine dye. That stays in the dark. Probably the best CDs you can get for long term storage at a reasonable price are Verbatim Data Life CDs. The Azo dye is as long lasting as Phtalocyanine and they are all made by the parent company, Mitsubishi Chemicals. The best currently available are Mitsui Gold CDs, but they are pricey. I got a couple hundred Kodak Gold CDs from Kodak when they stopped making them and my supply is still good. The backing and quality are as important as the dye type for archive. One good archive quality CD with a low error rate is better than recording it on 5 cyanine CDs.

The second thing is the error rate. The error rate can be pretty high and the CD still readable. But a little deterioration and they become unreadable. Error rates were very high back in the old days. Early on I got a Plextor burner when I saw how high my HP error rates were and found media that would give a low error rate with the Plextor. There are better utilities, but Nero Speed will do a sufficient error rate test for you. Some people think that with a 52X burner you get the best error rates recording at 8X or so. That isn't always the case. The sweet spot is usually more like 32X and sometimes 52X is the best for a particular burner/media combination.

I have read that DVD is intrinsically less reliable because they don't have the error correction that CDs have. They evidently do that for read speed. I haven't seen any good data to confirm that is actually a factor in use.

I would say that if you have Nero use it. The XP software is a Roxio product. Pros like CDRLabs claim Nero is the best overall software and do all of their testing with it. I did use the XP software for short term recording and they played fine for the period I needed them. But my burner took a disliking to the XP software for some reason and only Nero works lately.

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Old Nov 11, 2005, 10:39 PM   #16
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To continue with whats been said so far, this is well worth the read.

http://www.vividlight.com/articles/3912b.htm
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