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Guest Pat Z.

What do you use for your data backup?

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Guest Pat Z.

I'm starting to think I'm a drama queen - I seem to attract drama the way flowers attract bees :) It's starting to make me wonder if someone is trying to tell me that I shouldn't be in this business :unsure:

 

As some of you know, upon my return from FoVA in June, my computer crashed. My first thought was... "don't panic - you have carbonite". Carbonite was my only backup for the thousands of documents on my computer - personal and business. Well, I hear that carbonite is great, so I'm OK.

 

Two things that you should know if you are depending on carbonite to store your most sensitive files:

1. If you're computer loses internet access during the restore process, it screws up the restore and is very hard to get it going again.

2. If you hit "cancel restore" so that you can "start all over again", your files get erased from their server to make room for more!

 

Well, I finally got my files restored (after 10 days) when my computer crashed again! We found a virus and I blamed that - reformatted and restored yet again! I told myself after the first experience that I would buy an external hard drive for backup, but... you know how it is... I was short on cash between FoVA and losing lots of hours. I never bought the external hard drive.

 

Monday night as I was speaking with a client, my computer took another dive - this one fatal! It seems that the hard drive was going and finally died - it wasn't a virus at all. No problem - use my warranty to get another and restore once again.... right?

 

Well, warranty expired 3 weeks ago :forkoff:, so I had to purchase the hard drive and the postage for next day delivery - I NEED my computer. Since I still had work to do, and have a backup PC, I decided to restore my files to my PC so I could get busy - wrong! I was able to restore 6,000 out of 78,000 files - I received error messages for the other 72,000 files - no matter what I do, I can't get them to restore. I think it may have something to do with the fact that the PC has Vista. That's the only difference I can think of - they have the same programs on them. I will be on the phone this morning with Carbonite to try to figure out how to save this tons of info because if I cancel the restore on this computer, the server will delete all my files, so I can't even switch to the laptop when I get my hard drive today :damnputer:

 

Anyway, the whole point of this post is to emphasize the need to have redundancies in place for your data backup. BTW, I ordered an external hard drive yesterday as well - this will NOT happen again!

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Anyway, the whole point of this post is to emphasize the need to have redundancies in place for your data backup.

 

Pat,

I feel for you!! I recently had two crashes that taught me some hard lessons, too. On 12/12/08 (yes, I remember the date, it was that bad), by computer bit the dust. I had intermittently been saving everything to an external hard drive and continually backing up via Carbonite, so I thought I was covered. I realized too late that my Outlook files weren't being backed up, my TimeTracker data wasn't being backed up, and lots of other pesky things that weren't in My Documents. It took two days to get my new computer from Dell and the whole time I was dead in the water, sobbing for nearly 48 hours straight. The biggest shock was how long it took me to re-install all my software, tracking down licenses, etc...

 

My new system has my main computer (1) backed up to Carbonite, (2) backed up to an external hard drive, AND (3) mirrored to an old PC my parents had in their closet! This third piece was the key for me. If my main computer dies again, I can slide my chair over to the old PC and literally pick up where I left off, albeit on a much slower CPU :) This proved useful when my PC crashed again in February. While it took my tech guy a day to fix it, I just worked on my old PC and didn't lose any billable hours ... phew!

 

Deb

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Guest Pat Z.

Deb,

 

How do you "mirror" to a PC? I have the backup PC I'm using in the interim, but I'd love to "mirror" when I get my main computer set up again.

 

Thanks,

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Pat,

 

I use Acronis True Image to backup my entire hard drive to an external drive (a Western Digital with mirroring). I have an older version of Acronis, but here is the website for the current version which can probably be purchased at multiple places:

 

http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/

 

With Acronis, you can schedule backups to multiple places such as your external hard drive, online storage places, etc. You can choose specific files or the entire hard drive.

 

My external drive actually has two hard drives in it, which is where the mirroring comes in. Whenever a backup is made, it makes two copies of it. If one of the external drives fails, the other drive has a full copy (so even my backup has a backup!).

 

I actually did end up having to rebuild my pc a while back with this process and thank goodness for that backup. It did a great job.

 

One thing to be aware of are files that have updates every day, such as Outlook. In my case, I had a system failure that I had to go back several weeks in backup to recover. Well, I wanted to keep all of the emails that I had since that time, too. So, before restoring, I copied out my Outlook files to my external hard drive and then replaced them after restoring my system. So it would be a good thing to keep a list of recovery files like that depending on the reason why you need to restore your system and how far back in time you need to go to recover.

 

I would recommend both an external hard drive and an online backup. Neither one alone is completely fail-safe, so together you should have a strong backup in place should either one of your backup systems fail.

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How do you "mirror" to a PC? I have the backup PC I'm using in the interim, but I'd love to "mirror" when I get my main computer set up again.

Pat: First you install all of your software on the extra PC just like it's on yours ... that's so all the folders are in the right place for all the data files, etc...

 

I use Memeo AutoSync. Much like Carbonite, it constantly checks for changed files, then sends new files to the extra PC. In theory, I could type a Word doc and save it, then slide over to the extra PC, launch Word and keep working on the same file. Of course, I'm going to start glowing from all of the computer radiation in the room, but the peace of mind is worth it!

 

Deb

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Pat,

 

I am so sorry you had to deal with this. I suddenly had an vision last week of something similar happening. I too, only had Carbonite as my backup and I kept reading articles that said if you only had one backup for your computer, consider that you have no backup at all. With this, I bought a 500 GB Western Digital HD and used SyncBackSe as suggested by Tawnya. The backup took about 3 hours and looks good... I now have Carbonite and the external HD...

 

WARNING TO EVERYONE... Please take Pat's message seriously and if you have no backup or only one source backup... DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT THIS WEEK!!!

 

Kim

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Guest

Isn't' it funny that we don't take this seriously till something happens? I had a crash a few years ago and had to spend 2 or 3 business days getting back up and running again - waste of time and loss of money!

 

I had heard that about Carbonite and currently am looking at a system here in Australia, which is from the US I believe, with a view to providing it for the VAs here. They were the ones that told me about Carbonite and backed it up with published articles and data. At the moment I'm using Edustor which is used mainly for the educational industry.

 

I have a backup desktop computer, laptop and external hard drive so don't have just the one back up system - I like to make sure I have covered myself and can return instantly back to work - well, at least within a very short timeframe.

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Guest dawn lane

I used to use Carbonite but, if I remember correctly, it doesn't allow you to back up external hard drives and what happens if that dies on you? Where are the files on that backed up? I know about this as my external hard drive over heated, had a hole burned in the motherboard and I couldn't retrieve the info. All my client files were on there! Carbonite was only backing up the hard drive of my PC - thank goodness I also had some of those backed up on another online storage site.

 

I am now using IDrive which costs $4.95 per month for up to 150GB. It can back up internal and external hard drives. My external hard drive is then networked to an extra (old but upgraded PC) and my laptop. Covered for all eventualities.

 

IDrive also allows you to retrieve various versions - so you can go back to a previous a number of days ago if you have 'lost' a file you were updating.

 

Am I getting paranoid about backing up - yes, I think so.

 

Dawn

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Well, warranty expired 3 weeks ago :forkoff: , so I had to purchase the hard drive and the postage for next day delivery - I NEED my computer. Since I still had work to do, and have a backup PC, I decided to restore my files to my PC so I could get busy - wrong! I was able to restore 6,000 out of 78,000 files - I received error messages for the other 72,000 files - no matter what I do, I can't get them to restore. I think it may have something to do with the fact that the PC has Vista. That's the only difference I can think of - they have the same programs on them. I will be on the phone this morning with Carbonite to try to figure out how to save this tons of info because if I cancel the restore on this computer, the server will delete all my files, so I can't even switch to

 

Pat, if I'm not mistaken and double-check me on this, but if you're trying to recover your files from Carbonite and say they were your XP files and trying to put them into a Vista computer, it doesn't work. I'm pretty sure I read that somewhere on their website, another reason why I was glad I stopped using them.

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This is a wealth of information and I am grateful to you guys for it. I have been working unsafely for a while now because like most others funds have been a low. However I do think it is time I make an investment to both an online and external backup system.

 

Thanks again!!

 

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