Backup Routine for Photos, & Sudden Hard Drive Failure

Started Jul 24, 2013 | Discussions thread
OP larrytusaz Senior Member • Posts: 2,392
Follow-Up: 5 General Questions About Back-Ups

This is turning out to be quite an informative little thread. Heck I've just moved on to using the newer Toshiba 1T in place of the WD 1T, but this information still is quite helpful & I appreciate it.

Here are some follow-up questions, about back-up procedures in general & other such things:

(1) My current protocol--all of my files go on a portable external hard drive, the Seagate GoFlex 1T. I store practically NOTHING on the C drive, since if your computer crashed all of your files would go with it, and they also get in the way if you're doing any OS modifications or system-image rollbacks. Am I doing it wrong? Should I instead be storing files on an additional internal hard drive (just not the C) & should the portable external just be a backup only?

For the record, at one point our previous home (which of course we no longer live in) had a roach problem, and I even found a couple of them living inside a "full sized" external hard drive, they had crawled into the ventilation holes. It freaked me out. Although our current home is much better, that scenario has caused me to use portable hard drives since because they're sealed up to where nothing can get in there, but yes it did occur to me about the ventilation aspect. Again, maybe the main hard drive used for data should be a spare internal one vs an external one, since it's ventilated (and even when we had that bug problem before, they never bothered those). Such would require a computer upgrade, since again I'm using a "net-top" with almost zero expansion ability internally-speaking, but maybe it's time I upgrade anyway.

(2) It surprises me to hear WD & Seagate disparaged. I thought WD & Seagate were like THE hard drive brands. My "main" external hard drive is, in fact, a Seagate Flex Pro 1T, practically all of my data goes on that. My backup is the Toshiba 1T, which before was the 2nd backup, the WD 1T being the 1st backup. The main thing is that I do notice that portable external hard drives seem to cost the most per gigabyte, followed by full-sized external hard drives (which I avoid due to the previous bug problem although I don't have it now) and internal-hard drives are the cheapest per gigabyte. Do I have it right?

(3) How fast is USB 3 vs USB 2? Yes I'm still in USB 2 land, & my computer is one of those "net-top" types (Dell Zino) so I don't see having the ability to add USB 3 to it, but if so, maybe it's time to get a new PC so I can do just that. Copying (approximately) 500G of data drive-to-drive takes a freaking long time, although of course I only do that when I first buy the drive, subsequent "incremental" backups are quick enough.

(4) One disk-check software program I downloaded, based on someone's recommendation, is Hirens Boot CD. Anyone heard of that? Apparently you're supposed to be able to boot to it & then it can check hard drive condition for you. I just downloaded it last night. How do you guys check hard drive condition? For the record, I use Windows 7.

(5) Speaking of software, again, I use Microsoft Synctoy for doing incremental back-ups, I do them left-to-right "echo" (meaning the extra hard-drive, now the Toshiba, replicates what the "main" external does, verbatim). I also have Acronis True Image Home 2010, which back-ups to its own .tib files, however I only use it for OS "system image" backups, so that if I need to "roll the computer back in time" software-wise (to do a quick-fix if it's acting buggy, or to return it to its "out of box" state for starting over with a clean slate) I can easily do so. Am I underutilizing a key tool here that could help with data-file backups? My tendency has been to use SyncToy since it's so simple, free, and it doesn't archive to a proprietary file type (.tib) but instead just replicates everything verbatim so you don't have to "extract" anything later, but maybe I'm going about it wrong?

One quick note: previously, when we went on trips, I would take the WD 1T portable with me for off-loading photos, because although I have tons of SD cards (as in 3-32G and 4-16G cards) which would easily allow me to shoot the entire trip without "offloading," I don't like to return home with all of that to do, I offload during "downtime" (resting in the hotel from the day's excursions). Last trip we shot 32G of whatever. We're returning there again in a couple of weeks. This time, I got a PNY 64G USB flash drive & figure I will just take that, so that I won't be potentially subjecting the portable drives to anymore "rough-housing" from traveling. Does that make sense?

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