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As if I did not have enough recently, yesterday night my computer failed. To be more precise it was the hard drive. Why I am saying this? Because I know there are many people out there who expose themselves to a big danger of loosing all of the data. I am upset but not so much. I always run 2 HDD – one primary and a second one for data back up and operating system and programs mirror image. So after the failure I just swapped the drives and was up and running in 30 min without data loss. Granted, I had to update some of the programs (antivirus, spybot, windows) but it was nothing.

A new 160 GB drive is coming in 2 days time so mirror image software will be used again.

For everybody out there who does not do back ups – see above. It is a proof the s…….t happens so better be prepared. And with today’s HDD prices, both internal and external there is no reason not to have back up. Oh, and I also back up just data to an external drive as well. And photos to DVD for viewing, distribution, archiving.

Hope this experience will help some of you folks avoid disasters in the future.
 

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Good points, Kris.

One of the nice benefits of my job is that I have a great server running at the house.. it was a leftover from a project.

IBM x345, 2x2GHz, 2.5GB RAM, 5x146GB running VMware ESX and about a dozen virtual machines. 2 of the drives are RAID-1 to hold the OSes of the virtual servers and the other 3 are running RAID-5 to hold the data. All drives are hotplug 10k SCSI, too.

I recently went through setting up a backup strategy at my in-laws where my father-in-law has over 220GB of MP3s for the poolside sound system. He has 2x60GB and 1x200GB internal, and we settled on removable drive enclosures ($15 at newegg) for backups. We bought two and fitted them with 200GB drives. This way, he keeps one removable drive in the detached garage, and I keep another one at my house.

We share the 200GB of space for our own CD rips and other MP3s that we deem critical enough to keep backups of. We encourage anyone who regularly comes over to swim to incorporate their MP3 collection into the music server so they can queue up their own music when they come over to swim. Those ancillary collections generally aren't backed up.

But you're absolutely right, when you get into large collections of data, you need to give at least some thought towards how you plan to recover (your critical data) from a catastrophic loss.
 

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We had a big sign posted up when I was working in the computer lab:

"Blessed are the pessimists, for they are the ones to have backups."

Every time someone lost their data because they were stuffing their unprotected floppy disks into the bottom of their backpacks, I would point out that sign, laugh sinisterly under my breath, and tell them never to get caught again. :p
 

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Can you make it so the computer automatically keeps an image of one drive (or a copy of data files) on a second one? Is there a "sync" program available somewhere to do what my PDA and home PC do when syncing putlook information? I have a Gateway 3.0 GHz (1 G RAM) which I have fitted with 4x250G Hard Drives. Each drive is dedicated to something (OS + Software, Data, Audio, Video) but I would like to convert one drive to a back-up if possible. Thanks...
 

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zebelkhan said:
Can you make it so the computer automatically keeps an image of one drive (or a copy of data files) on a second one? Is there a "sync" program available somewhere to do what my PDA and home PC do when syncing putlook information? I have a Gateway 3.0 GHz (1 G RAM) which I have fitted with 4x250G Hard Drives. Each drive is dedicated to something (OS + Software, Data, Audio, Video) but I would like to convert one drive to a back-up if possible. Thanks...
Yes, it is easy. With your setup as you describe it you can use one of your drives or even a partition as the cloning destination for the source drive. I do it every week with a few clicks and it takes about 20 min. Symantic Ghost or preferably Acronis True Image are made to do this routinely.
 

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My saying is: it is not if the hard drive will fail but when.

I have a slightly different backup approach. I just backup my data. I don't mind performing a fresh install if necessary along as I have my data (and registry entries for some program options)

I use backup MyPC and burn to DVD. Good thing is that I maintain several versions so I can always go to the way back machine and pull something off. I do that every 3 months and keep on DVD off site just in case. The other archived DVDs are placed in a fireproof safe. I was going to put them in a safe deposit box but that wasn't too convenient... there is only so much paranoia one can have. Daily I backup to my keyfob but just files that are updated often, Quicken, work files etc.

For that I use a great little program all Smartsync Pro. Great little program. I also use that same program to synch some work files to an FTP server so I can archive and obtain them from the Internet as needed.
 

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Major Geek
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zebelkhan said:
Can you make it so the computer automatically keeps an image of one drive (or a copy of data files) on a second one?
Just to list another option.. we use Beyond Compare to keep the data on the server synced up with the removable drives I described above. This is much better because it only backs up the changes, and keeps your sync times low. We pop in the drive tray, sync up the data and pop out the drive for offsite storage. Better than copying our 220GB MP3 collection every Saturday. Even then, it still only took 90 mins to build the first copy, so its very very fast.

IBM employees have an enterprise license for Beyond Compare if you want to PM me.
 
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