Warning. Honest.

Started Mar 26, 2013 | Discussions
PHXAZCRAIG
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Beware the USB backup drive
In reply to nunatak, Mar 28, 2013

As I've mentioned before, I run a lot of computers, and I've seen a LOT of hard drive failures since I started my IT business 13 years ago.  I've lost a minimum of 30 drives over that time, and it wouldn't surprise me if the total was 50+.

It seems that some of the least reliable drives are the Seagate external USB backup drives.   They tend to fail at the 1-2 year mark, suddenly, for no discernible reason.

I guess there's a reason an external drive with casing and USB connection is somehow significant;y cheaper than the same size drive sold as an OEM bulk replacement.

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digital ed
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Re: Beware the USB backup drive
In reply to PHXAZCRAIG, Mar 28, 2013

PHXAZCRAIG wrote:

As I've mentioned before, I run a lot of computers, and I've seen a LOT of hard drive failures since I started my IT business 13 years ago.  I've lost a minimum of 30 drives over that time, and it wouldn't surprise me if the total was 50+.

It seems that some of the least reliable drives are the Seagate external USB backup drives.   They tend to fail at the 1-2 year mark, suddenly, for no discernible reason.

I guess there's a reason an external drive with casing and USB connection is somehow significant;y cheaper than the same size drive sold as an OEM bulk replacement.

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Craig
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I normally use WHS for complete computer BU. For short term BU I use Allway Sync to check for new or updated files and then copy them to another location not in the primary drive. Can sync folders to another disk, a local USB HD or in a place on my LAN. It gives tabular selection of each sync type including filters to select which files on which to operate.

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nunatak
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Re: Beware the USB backup drive
In reply to PHXAZCRAIG, Mar 28, 2013

thanks for the tip on those Seagates. i'd prefer a couple 2TB hybrid if they were available.

-
design guy

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wireless
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Re: I keep five copies of every file
In reply to chuhsi, Mar 28, 2013

chuhsi wrote:

What cloud service do you use for your NAS? I haven't found an easy way to automatically back up my NAS to the cloud.

I tried CrashPlan yesterday.  It worked well.  I backed up about 15 GB for a test.  $60/year unliimited.  Software seems pretty good.  Runs in the background and does incremental backups.  I have about 700 GB to back up.  It will take several weeks the first time but it didn't seem to slow my network down when I did the 8-hour back up yesterday.  It adjusts the bandwidth it uses according to your activity.  It also picks up where it left off when you turn the computer off and back on.

For those worried about privacy and the guv'ment my position is I don't really have anything to hide.  Sure I wouldn't want every detail of my hard drive out there on the internet for anyone to peruse but I don't really have anything to hide from "the authorities."  You can choose what folders Crashplan will backup anyway.

I tried taking a backup drive to my office to have an offsite location but that was a bit of an annoyance to keep current with.

After my WD Black drive failed a few days ago (I had my stuff on backed up on two drives) I got a little nervous before I got the second drive completed again.

IMO something's got to be offsite else you run the risk of losing everything maybe due to a power surge or fire and so on.

For your specific question, I have the Black 2 TB WD drive as an external USB drive directly off my computer for quick backup and retrieval.  I also have a synology NAS on my home network.  Crashplan allows you to backup from external USB drives on a single computer.  (You can do more computers but it costs a little more.)  So any other computers I back up to the NAS and use Syncback free to move files from those computers to the NAS and from the NAS to my WD drive on this computer.  Sounds more complicated that it is.  Once set up it's one button click on Syncback to back up everything.  And Crashplan runs all the time anyway.  Didn't slow down LR any. 

-David

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AlephNull
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Re: Warning. Honest.
In reply to Steve Bingham, Mar 28, 2013

Steve Bingham wrote:

For whatever reason many photography users store their photos on their computer. Maybe 99.99%.

The problem is, far too few back up their files (photographs). This is a disaster waiting to happen. I use software by Acronis and back up my work every week - automatically - to an external hard drive. Using the cloud is another alternative - and some use both.

Two days ago my data hard drive crashed - big time!!!! Thousands of priceless photographs (to me, anyway) were wiped out. Thousands of hours of hard labor (editing and PP) possibly lost . . . but for my backup.

So I bought a new HD and simply transferred by backup files. One click and off to dinner!

Take head folks. Hard drives will fail sometime - all hard drives. CD's fail in time also. Usually by bits and pieces - even the "gold" ones.

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Steve Bingham
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My inner pedant insists that I point out that you meant "take heed", rather than "take head"

I hope you have more than one backup. The minimum considered "safe" is three copies - the main + two backups. At least one off-site (fire, flood, that sort of thing). What you don't want to discover is that your backup drive is faulty while you are trying to run a restore.

RAID isn't a backup, but it's still a good idea. I run two RAID NAS boxes for my backup, and I've had a couple of disk failures - replaced the drive, rebuilt the RAID, and I lost nothing. The stats show that there is a real risk of a second drive failure during the rebuild (because the disks are being hit hard during the rebuild, and if one drive failed, the others may well be close to failing), so you can't count on the rebuild being successful (mine were). I treat a drive failure in a RAID box as a "suggestion" that it's time to replace all the drives

My paranoia is enough that my two RAID boxes are different brands, and are filled with different brands of drives (one is a Thecus holding Seagate drives, the other is a Q-NAP holding WD drives). I back them up with external drives - a mix of Seagates and WDs.

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FractalFlame
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Re: Acronis can fail... Other Win8 options
In reply to michaeleclark, Mar 28, 2013

michaeleclark wrote:

Used Acronis for several years, but it can be tempermental and I do not like the drive "lock down" procedure where utility access to the drives is limited due to Acronis controls implemented at boot.

Tried Ease-US Todo back up due to its high ratings. Offers much versatility, but like Acronis it can limit drive use and, in addition, its documentation is poor.

Since switching to Win8, now use the built in recovery manager for scheduled back ups. Very versatile, includes ability to gang SSDs used for drive acceleration as part of the primary BU, works seamlessly in the background, and in 6 months have not had a single problem. Another adcvantage is that it is available at preboot to access without shutting off low level drive access the way that Acronis and other BU utilities do. Also use MS SyncToy, a little-known free utility to sync files (including new or changed files) from one drive to another. Very easy to use, straight forward, and fast. If there is a failure, simple to reverse the sync to restore the files to a new drive.

Use the Win8 recovery routine to back up my system drives and SyncToy to BU photo files.

Michael E. Clark

Acronis is good when you boot disc it - i don't like it inside windows unless i make sure never to do anything while it's backing up.

Boot to Hirens boot cd and use acronis from that, or boot to the acronis boot dvd/cd, and it all works fine.

Not sure about win8, I stay away from Fisher-Price operating systems.

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husky92
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Re: Beware the USB backup drive
In reply to PHXAZCRAIG, Mar 28, 2013

PHXAZCRAIG wrote:

As I've mentioned before, I run a lot of computers, and I've seen a LOT of hard drive failures since I started my IT business 13 years ago.  I've lost a minimum of 30 drives over that time, and it wouldn't surprise me if the total was 50+.

It seems that some of the least reliable drives are the Seagate external USB backup drives.   They tend to fail at the 1-2 year mark, suddenly, for no discernible reason.

I guess there's a reason an external drive with casing and USB connection is somehow significant;y cheaper than the same size drive sold as an OEM bulk replacement.

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Craig
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Your personal experience with Seagate hard drives failing is purely anecdotal. Drives are rated in MTBF (mean time between failures), but it's just that, an average. Drives used in USB enclosures are exactly the same as the ones you receive to put in your computer. Drives create heat though so if the enclosure isn't ventilated properly it could fail more quickly. Same goes for a drive in a computer case.

The fact is, if you have a backup, either your primary or your secondary drive can fail and you're fine. Replace the drive right away and you're good. For that reason, I think NAS backups are bit overkill for home use.

Rob

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AngryCorgi
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Re: Beware the USB backup drive
In reply to husky92, Mar 28, 2013

I have an iomega storcenter ix2-200 NAS.  2-1TB drives in Raid 1 (optional JBOD setting) with a backup schedule on my Mac. Never had any problems.

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-AC-

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Steve Bingham
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Re: Warning. Honest.
In reply to ejw07, Mar 29, 2013

ejw07 wrote:

Steve Thank you for the Info..Much appreciated, done my my back up...

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E. j. W.

You are welcome. That was the entire point.

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Steve Bingham
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Steve Bingham
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Re: Warning. Honest.
In reply to AlephNull, Mar 29, 2013

AlephNull wrote:

Steve Bingham wrote:

For whatever reason many photography users store their photos on their computer. Maybe 99.99%.

The problem is, far too few back up their files (photographs). This is a disaster waiting to happen. I use software by Acronis and back up my work every week - automatically - to an external hard drive. Using the cloud is another alternative - and some use both.

Two days ago my data hard drive crashed - big time!!!! Thousands of priceless photographs (to me, anyway) were wiped out. Thousands of hours of hard labor (editing and PP) possibly lost . . . but for my backup.

So I bought a new HD and simply transferred by backup files. One click and off to dinner!

Take head folks. Hard drives will fail sometime - all hard drives. CD's fail in time also. Usually by bits and pieces - even the "gold" ones.

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Steve Bingham
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www.ghost-town-photography.com

My inner pedant insists that I point out that you meant "take heed", rather than "take head"

Take head is good advice also.

I hope you have more than one backup. The minimum considered "safe" is three copies - the main + two backups. At least one off-site (fire, flood, that sort of thing). What you don't want to discover is that your backup drive is faulty while you are trying to run a restore.

RAID isn't a backup, but it's still a good idea. I run two RAID NAS boxes for my backup, and I've had a couple of disk failures - replaced the drive, rebuilt the RAID, and I lost nothing. The stats show that there is a real risk of a second drive failure during the rebuild (because the disks are being hit hard during the rebuild, and if one drive failed, the others may well be close to failing), so you can't count on the rebuild being successful (mine were). I treat a drive failure in a RAID box as a "suggestion" that it's time to replace all the drives

My paranoia is enough that my two RAID boxes are different brands, and are filled with different brands of drives (one is a Thecus holding Seagate drives, the other is a Q-NAP holding WD drives). I back them up with external drives - a mix of Seagates and WDs.

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Steve Bingham
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Steve Bingham
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Re: Warning. Honest.
In reply to Steve Bingham, Mar 29, 2013

Well, in any case, I am one happy camper. Replaced both my drives. C: is now a 256 Crucial SSD. D: is now a 7200 rpm 1 TB Barracuda. Took less than an hour. Done. Nothing lost. And less than $250. With an i7 CPU at 3.2 my 2.5 year old machine sings (16 gb of ram).

Sometimes keeping it simple works very well. If this is beyond your capabilities, hire a tech at $100 (or less) an hour.

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Steve Bingham
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PHXAZCRAIG
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Re: Beware the USB backup drive
In reply to husky92, Mar 29, 2013

Of course it's anecdotal, but I'm not at all convinced the same drives go into those USB backups.

If anything, they run cooler than the drives I have in my PC (there are 5 of them in there - some get pretty warm).

I've got almost a 100% failure rate on the external drives - 4 out of the first 5, plus at least two of the small ones built around laptop drives for portable storage.  (I bring one on trips, and keep it in the camera backpack.  It's only used on trips to back up images from a laptop.)  Still have one of the small ones working, though I haven't checked it in a few weeks.

I have no faith in them at all once they hit about a year old.

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PHXAZCRAIG
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Re: Warning. Honest.
In reply to Steve Bingham, Mar 29, 2013

I'm curious how you moved to the SSD.   I've been avoiding that on my main pc because I'd need to reinstall Windows 7 to get trim working (I thought).  Not to mention having to move stuff around in a major way since my C drive is a 1.5tb drive.

Built two other PC's here from scratch with SSD C drives and 1TB drives.   But am not using those since they don't have all kinds of business-related software installed.  (It just takes so long to get my work system set up with everything I need.   The idea of some sort of partial clone, but converting from a spinning drive to SSD is appealing.)

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wireless
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Re: Warning. Honest.
In reply to PHXAZCRAIG, Mar 29, 2013

PHXAZCRAIG wrote:

[..]  The idea of some sort of partial clone, but converting from a spinning drive to SSD is appealing.)

Yes I thought so too.  At work a couple years ago we started converting to SSDs anytime a computer was replaced.  I got one and also bought an SSD for one of the my home drives (the one I use for PP).

All the things I thought would improve didn't.  We still have SSD drive failures at work and they go without any advance warning.  Just one day the computer won't boot up.  We use Dells and HP.

Secondly they are not any faster and the ones I have (a couple years old) are slower.  I thought they would be faster.  But from what I can gather, they have improved the speed of them over time.  Right now if I do over I'll probably stick with tried and true spinning discs which are cheaper and seemingly faster.

David

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SteveS58
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Re: Warning. Honest.
In reply to wireless, Mar 29, 2013

Many thanks to Steve Bingham for reminding us all about safeguarding our work.  A little paranoia is a healthy protection.  Rest assured I was busy last night backing up my files that I had neglected to do for some time.  Will be buying a second external hard drive this weekend.

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bhr750
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Re: Warning. Honest.
In reply to Steve Bingham, Mar 29, 2013

I store mine on a betamax ................

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Truman Prevatt
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Re: Warning. Honest.
In reply to Steve Bingham, Mar 29, 2013

Time machine on my Mac takes care of most backup.  It has saved my butt many times when I modify some processing S/W I am developing just to have to go back to the day before since I hosed it up.

On my Macbook pro I have a Thunderbolt raid. It is hot swappable and that's where I store all my non-OS and applications code I'm developing and photographs. The nice thing about the Thunderbolt raid is they can be daisy chained. When my iMac dies or I donate it to my wife, I'm going to hook up a Thunderbolt monitor to the Macbook pro and use that as my main processor.

Along with back up you also really need to develop an effective method of documenting what is in your archival storage so if you want something - you will know where to go get it.

Backup is essential. With a raid you have two copies.  For long term archival storage - either install a archival system or use a service.

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Skroob
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Re: Warning. Honest.
In reply to Steve Bingham, Mar 29, 2013

Steve Bingham wrote:

For whatever reason many photography users store their photos on their computer. Maybe 99.99%.

The problem is, far too few back up their files (photographs). This is a disaster waiting to happen. I use software by Acronis and back up my work every week - automatically - to an external hard drive. Using the cloud is another alternative - and some use both.

Two days ago my data hard drive crashed - big time!!!! Thousands of priceless photographs (to me, anyway) were wiped out. Thousands of hours of hard labor (editing and PP) possibly lost . . . but for my backup.

So I bought a new HD and simply transferred by backup files. One click and off to dinner!

Take head folks. Hard drives will fail sometime - all hard drives. CD's fail in time also. Usually by bits and pieces - even the "gold" ones.

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Steve Bingham
www.dustylens.com
www.ghost-town-photography.com

I'll go one better:

Say you go and put all your images on a backup drive. all good, right? Well, say a distaster comes along, or even a theif who cleans you out. Now your PC and your backup drive are gone.

What i do is back up all my stuff on to a second drive, then i take that drive and store it "off site", like at my office, or at a friends house. Every month or so, when when you build up some new photos, bring the drive home with you one day, add the newer images, then return it the next day.

I do not wish to use cloud services. I dont want my files on somebody elses server. Plus, what if they just shut down one day? they are gone anyway.

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PHXAZCRAIG
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Re: Warning. Honest.
In reply to wireless, Mar 29, 2013

You will have a lot of useless (and SSD-destructive) overhead if you simply clone XP (or Win7) onto an SSD.    If you install Windows 7 from scratch onto SSD, the OS will recognize it as an SSD and set itself up very differently from how it configures for a spinning disk.   It uses a feature set called TRIM.   As far as I know, you cannot simply clone Win7 from a spinning disk to an SSD and get TRIM working properly.  (It would be very appealing if I could do that as I could then easily convert my main PC to SSD without reinstalling so much software).

I can guarantee you that the PC's I've built are much, much faster with an SSD boot drive, though the speed increase is entirely related to hard drive activity.  (Boot time on my laptop dropped from about 5 minutes to 20 seconds.   Another desktop is similar.)

SSD's are suspect long-term because they have limited write cycles.  Using TRIM means a lot less useless writes going on in the background that are used for optimizing spinning drive performance via caching and queuing.

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SteveS58
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USB external hard drive suggestions?
In reply to PHXAZCRAIG, Mar 29, 2013

Is there any gold standard on USB external hard drives, in terms of recommended manufacturers or makes?  I'd be lookiing for a 2TB drive as a second external hard drive.  Thanks for any suggestions.

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