Jump to content

Backing up your data


GaryK

Backups  

21 members have voted

  1. 1. On-Site Backups

    • I make regular backups.
      12
    • I make occasional backups.
      6
    • I never make backups.
      3
  2. 2. Off-Site Backups

    • I routinely take a copy of my backups for storage off-site.
      8
    • I occasionally take a copy of my backups for storage off-site
      7
    • I never store any backups off-site.
      6
  3. 3. Data Loss

    • I have never lost any of my stories or other data due to lack of backups.
      11
    • I have lost some of my stories or other data due to lack of backups.
      10


Recommended Posts

This thread was inspired by a discussion that started in my thread about OpenOffice.org.

 

As writers I'm sure you all are concerned about not losing anything you've written. Be it stories, ideas, snippets, whatever.

 

It amazes me how many people don't do regular backups of their data. Even worse are the people who don't do any backups at all.

 

With hard drives it's not a question of if they will fail. It's when they will fail. They all fail eventually. Are you prepared for the day when your hard drive stops working?

 

Since I'm in business I have very strict backup policies I adhere to. All day long I've got five hard drives that are constantly mirroring each other. Several times a day one of those drives is mirrored to an external hard drive. Once a day the external hard drive is mirrored to a second external hard drive. Once a week I take the second external hard drive to my bank's safety deposit vault and bring back the drive that's been in the safety deposit vault and start the whole process over again.

 

I'll admit that's a bit extreme. At the same time I have never lost any data. Not mine. Certainly not any of my client's data. Still, I'll acknowledge most people don't need to go to the lengths I do to protect my data.

 

What do you all do to ensure you never lose any of the hard work you've put into your stories?

 

Thanks in advance for sharing your experiences with us. :)

Link to comment

Okay, first off, thanks for starting this topic, Gary...

 

Let me start by saying how my 80 Gb HDD is organized...

 

C: This is the Windows drive with all the major programs running on it. Like Office, Nero and all.

 

D: This is where I download stuff and install all the programs.

 

E: My backup drive. All that I store goes in here and then periodically is backed up in DVDs. All setups are stored here.

 

F: The dunp drive. All games/movies/songs etc are stored here and periodically, I back up the movies and songs on DVD to free up space.

 

Now, my stories are put in a secret, hidden and locked folder in F and also in my pendrive (a 2Gb Kingston USB)...I periodically update my pendrive as well.

 

God forbid, if a virus attacks my computer or if my OS crashes, I simply format and reinstall drives C and D...

 

:)

 

BeaStKid

Link to comment

Most of my work is on a unix server I run at home, which has daily backups done onto tape, and the tapes are kept for about 3 weeks before being reused.

 

However, I'm not always good about changing the tapes once a week at home, so when I forget for a couple of weeks straight, I'll start missing backups.

 

I started doing my backups a year ago or so, after I realized I had deleted a directory that contained my only copies of three stories I'd written. :( Now at least I have *something*.

 

- dfp

Link to comment
  • Site Administrator

I tend to work with a couple of computers, so I use a USB drive to transfer between them. I've recently started working off the USB drive, and copying to one of the computer's hard drive from time to time (my occasional backup).

 

I use web-based email, so when I send something to someone for comment, it's stored in my email sent folder on a computer somewhere in the world (no ideas where). That's my off-site backup. I don't have copies of what I've never sent to anyone, but I have access to off-site copies of everything I've ever sent out -- both before and after editing.

Link to comment

Let's see...

 

C drive: Main drive. Holds my programs and music. I live off of this drive.

 

D drive: My back up drive. Where I keep my restoration programs. Literally called Recovery for this reason.

 

E drive: My dvd/cd player.

 

Then there is Removable Drive F, G, and H: These are for my flash drive connections or for any other drives that I connect to them, including an outside source for memory and recovery. Right now F and H are in use. F is my main flash drive with my stories and other stories that I'm correcting. H is for pictures and various projects.

 

So, basically, a basic drive until I have more money to play with. ^_^

 

My stories, I have now on the flash drive, the files sent to a rarely used e-mail, with one of my betas who holds it for me, and printed out. Unless a hurricane or flood comes through this desert, I'm not loosing my data, or my stories any time soon.

Link to comment

Plain and simple, I'm working off two computer, both of them has a copy of the most recent changes that I make to stories. Also I've set up the time machine on my iMac and therefore every hours it back up every change that's been made on an external hard drive. If I ever need it, or if by mistake I delete an important file, well it's at one click of a mouse away. If my computer crashes, or if I need to reinstall the puter, I would simply boot it off from the external hard drive

Link to comment

I'm happy to see that so many people are doing regular backups and keeping an off-site backup. It's even better that many of you have automated this process so you rarely have to think about it.

 

Sacha, the Time Machine feature in OSX is great. I wish something like that came with Windows. Instead we have to buy third-party programs to achieve the same result. Yes I know Windows comes with a backup program but IMO it sucks. I use Backup for Workgroups (B4W). It's expensive but unlike many backup programs it will backup open files and it's got a lot of flexibility about how to do backups much like Time Machine. Another neat feature of B4W is it will do backups to multiple drives at the same time.

Edited by GaryInMiami
Link to comment

What a timely reminder that I haven't backed up for a long time... Think I'll just do that little thing right now...

 

I lost an entire hard drive once, including a book in progress. Fortunately, my critique partner had some files and I had a print out of the whole thing...

 

But you'd think it would have taught me a lesson.

 

NOT.

Link to comment
What a timely reminder that I haven't backed up for a long time... Think I'll just do that little thing right now...

 

I lost an entire hard drive once, including a book in progress. Fortunately, my critique partner had some files and I had a print out of the whole thing...

 

But you'd think it would have taught me a lesson.

 

NOT.

I always request the final version of any story I've beta-read or edited. They all get included in my regular backups. It's already come in handy once when an author lost an entire chapter.

 

I'm glad we gave you a reminder, Duncan. I'd hate to see you lose any of your wonderful stories. :)

Link to comment

I back up my critical data to a 500 MB USB disk drive.

 

Chances are a hard drive will fail or the USB drive will fail but it isn't likely that they'll fail at the same time.

 

They are also easily portable in case I've got to run from a hurricane or killer mutant fire ants.

 

I also have some serious lightning protection. I have a fuse on the incoming power and telephone line.

Link to comment
I back up my critical data to a 500 MB USB disk drive.

 

Chances are a hard drive will fail or the USB drive will fail but it isn't likely that they'll fail at the same time.

 

They are also easily portable in case I've got to run from a hurricane or killer mutant fire ants.

 

I also have some serious lightning protection. I have a fuse on the incoming power and telephone line.

Let's please not talk about hurricanes. It's almost that season again and I intend to remain in denial for another few weeks.

 

When I remodeled my condo I did some similar things including adding a whole home surge protection system. We've also got a series of generators that will power the entire complex including the air conditioners. Let me tell you, that cost a small fortune in special assessments, but it's been well worth it. Sadly the DSL still dies after 12 hours on battery backup and then I've got to revert to dial-up.

Link to comment

I have a lightweight laptop PC that I use when I'm living in the dorm at school, and a desktop PC that I use when I'm living at home. My desktop is connected to a file server in my dad's home office. Besides the internal 160 GB HDD the server has two external 4 drive terabyte NAS units configured as RAID-5 (750 GB each) and the first is set up as a share on the network. He uses NovaBackup that runs in the background and logically mirrors the first NAS drive to the second.

 

From school I connect through the school network to our home network. I can also connect directly to my desktop PC which runs terminal server. (While I'm at home this summer I'll be setting up my own server which will run terminal server.) My laptop's HDD is 40GB, and I have an external 40 GB USB HDD that I use for backing up my data files locally. That drive stays in my dorm room when I'm at class with my laptop. All of my new and changed data files are copied overnight to the NAS share on our home network using NovaBackup.

 

I have two 8 GB Memory Stick Pro Duo cards (yeah, my laptop is a Sony, and so is the digital camera I take to school). I use one of those to backup files when I'm in class or in a lab. The other is in my camera.

 

My desktop PC at home has a 250 GB HDD and I have an external 500 GB HDD that backs up the entire internal drive once a week when I'm home using Retrospect. I also have a 160 GB NAS drive in my room that's connected to our home network that I use to store all downloaded files, mostly software, documentation, mp3/wma files, vids, etc.

 

If this makes me sound paranoid, it's because I have good reason. When I was in high school my desktop PC crashed, hard, and I lost a lot of important files. Eventually I was able, with my dad's help, to recover most of them. But I sure learned my lesson. Backup, backup, backup. Trust no hardware. Trust no software. Which reminds me, about once a month I restore a couple of data files from our home server to my laptop, to make sure that my backups are actually working.

 

Oh, yeah, I encrypt all of my data files on my laptop and on my desktop. Trust no one! I have the BIOS password set in my laptop, and I have to key that in every time it powers up. I have a strong (but easy for me to remember) logon password because I usually don't shut down my laptop, I put it in hibernate mode so it will start up fast. I use ZoneAlarm Pro on my laptop because it has the best WiFi security (but it's a real PITA with all of it's pop-up dialog boxes).

 

Uh, I think that's about it. A little more than just backup, but IMO backup and security is all connected.

 

Colin B)

Link to comment
Uh, I think that's about it. A little more than just backup, but IMO backup and security is all connected.

WTG Colin. Your dedication to backing up and being secure is something to admire. thumbs-up.gif

 

I've been meaning to buy an external hard drive. I have not gotten around to it yet. embarassed.gif
I'll be buying one soon as well...

External hard drives are great. Get one (or two) ASAP.

Link to comment
Um....so how do you encrypt a file?

 

(Duncan, slinking off and feeling stupid....)

Hi Duncan,

 

I'm reading Everybody's Wounded. Just started Chapter 16. You've been on my list of authors to read for a long time. I wish I had gotten to EW sooner. Expect a PM from me about it. Thanks for writing it and for starting the sequel. :wub:

 

As for your question about encryption. Please don't feel stupid. That just doesn't suit you. Uneducated about encryption has a better sound to it don't you think? Are you using Windows? If so what version? Do you know if the hard drive is formatted to use NTFS? If you don't know the answers that's alright. Send me a PM and I will help you figure it all out. :)

Link to comment

Errr well, as I've said before I'm not a techie at all. In fact it's amazing that I'm as comfortable and proficient as I am on a computer and most of the programs I use regularly. I don't suppose I have a deficiency or that I couldn't learn if I tried, but honestly I just have a tough time working up much enthusiasm. It's sorta got to be something directly in my path for me to learn about and deal with it (with regards to computers/technology, I have a strong intellectual curiosity about most other things).

 

As such I'll be honest and confess that I don't think I've ever backed anything up in my life.

 

On the other hand, except for the writing specifically there really isn't anything I'd be too upset about losing. I'm not at all a picture person, most of the songs I have I don't regularly listen to and it wouldn't be a big deal to get again, I have a few movies and seasons of TV shows that I downloaded, but again it wouldn't be the end of the world to download them again. I don't use that many programs and again I wouldn't really mind reinstalling the ones I do.

 

So really, like I said with the exception of my writing there's really not much of anything I'd be too upset about losing. Every time a computer has died in the past it's almost been a relief. Like "well there goes all that junk I didn't need, now I can start over".

 

Honestly, I mostly even feel that way about my incomplete work (which is the majority of my work). It's sort of an excuse to just forget about it and work on something new. The only things I'd be really upset about losing are the stories I'm actively working on or have completed. And fortunately:

 

I use web-based email, so when I send something to someone for comment, it's stored in my email sent folder on a computer somewhere in the world (no ideas where). That's my off-site backup. I don't have copies of what I've never sent to anyone, but I have access to off-site copies of everything I've ever sent out -- both before and after editing.

I'm in exactly Graeme's boat in this regard. Nearly everything I've actually completed or adamantly intend to keep working on I've sent/received via email before so I would have access to it that way. I'm not horrible though, occasionally if I think "ohh, I really don't want to lose this", and haven't sent it to anyone else for whatever reason I'll actually email it to myself.

 

So really email is my only back up, but given how little I care about backing up the junk I have it seems sufficient. On that note though, I'll take your advice and actively go and email myself everything (storywise) that I haven't already sent to Sharon or Tim or anyone else at least once.

 

WTG Colin. Your dedication to backing up and being secure is something to admire.

True enough, but can he parallel park? :boy:

 

J/k, I'm proud of all you guys' efforts! :D (Even if I literally don't understand much of what you're talking about).

 

 

External hard drives are great. Get one (or two) ASAP.

Honestly I'd never known they even existed until I read this thread.

 

Anyway, I'll go email myself a bunch of word documents and consider myself proud of my efforts! :boy:

 

-Kevin

Edited by AFriendlyFace
Link to comment

Kevin, e-mail backups may be better than no backups at all. But even e-mail providers occasionally lose e-mails. I forget the name of the provider, but just a few months ago a major provider admitted to losing a huge amount of archived customer e-mails.

 

Granted having a provider lose e-mails at the same time your own HD fails is a bit of a stretch. But it's not impossible. How would you feel if that happened to you and you then had no backups of your stories at all? Especially the one you have completely written and are releasing a chapter at a time. I'm guessing you'd be rather devastated. Maybe your beta or editor keeps backups of all their authors stories like I do. But do you really want to rely on someone else for something you should be doing yourself? I hope your answer is no.

 

Quit using your unwillingness to learn more about technology as an excuse to avoid doing proper backups! poke-poke.gif

 

Goto anyplace that sells computer stuff and buy a thumb drive. Or order one from Amazon. That's one of those gadgets that plugs into your USB port and can hold four gigabytes of data for around US$70. Keep it plugged in and have Word do its auto-backups to the USB drive. That at least would provide a minimally acceptable level of backups. I'd rather see you be more dedicated to doing backups. Especially the final version of a story.

 

Yes, I'm being harsh with you. And I'll be equally as harsh with any author who doesn't take backups seriously. That's to emphasize how important this is!

Link to comment
Goto anyplace that sells computer stuff and buy a thumb drive. Or order one from Amazon. That's one of those gadgets that plugs into your USB port and can hold four gigabytes of data for around US$70. Keep it plugged in and have Word do its auto-backups to the USB drive. That at least would provide a minimally acceptable level of backups. I'd rather see you be more dedicated to doing backups. Especially the final version of a story.

 

Oh. that sounds cool. Even I could do that....if I knew how to set word to automatically back up to a thumb drive... I have a gazillion of the little things .... So, um... how to i get it to automatically back up????

Link to comment
Oh. that sounds cool. Even I could do that....if I knew how to set word to automatically back up to a thumb drive... I have a gazillion of the little things .... So, um... how to i get it to automatically back up????

From the main menu select Tools, then Options. Next click on the Files tab, highlight the AutoRecover files item, then click the Modify button. Select the drive letter that Windows assigns to your USB drive. Now click the Save tab, be sure the "Save AutoRecover info every:" checkbox is checked and I recommend changing the time from 10 minutes to 5 minutes. That will keep you protected while you're working. Before you quit Word make sure to manually save the file to your HD and then again to the USB drive. I think it's a shortcoming in Word that when you quit it doesn't automatically save to the AutoRecover location, but that's how it is so that's why you have to do that second save when you quit Windows.

 

OK, another option might be easier once you get it setup. That's to use the Backup utility in Windows to backup your Word files to the USB drive at a set time or times. This of course assumes your desktop is always on. I can talk you through setting all this up. But you still need to worry about backing up stuff you do on your Air. So I suggest you go with my first suggestion and just remember to plug the USB drive into whichever computer you happen to be using.

 

Hope that helps. PM me if you need some help. I'll be more than happy to talk you through whatever you need help with. :)

Link to comment

OK folks- you don't have to be a hard core tekkie to back up you data.

 

I'm going to make a couple of assumptions here: you use XP and have USB.

 

Go get a USB drive. I saw one from Seagate on sale: 320Gb for $89 at BeastBuy. Other good ones are from Western Digital, Maxtor and HP.

 

Plug the drives power into a surge supressor/power strip.

 

Plug the drives USB cable into your PC.

 

Pull up My Computer. You'll notice the new drive- it's the one that just appeared.

 

Now- go to My Documents and go one directory UP.

 

Select the My Documents directory and copy it (ctrl+c)

 

Go to your new drive via My Computer and copy all of your My Documents stuff (ctrl+v) Depending on how much stuff you have, it might take a few minutes.

 

Now all of the files you've saved under My Documents are safe & sound on your USB drive.

 

I discourage the use of thumb drives as a backup media because of their capacity. If you've got pictures, video, data, etc, 2 to 8 gigs isn't even a good start at backing up your data.

 

NOTE: if you are keeping data in places other than My Documents, you'll have to copy that stuff too.

Link to comment
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here: Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..