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My Own Backup Technique

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#1 Crabcakes


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Posted 13 October 2009 - 11:26 AM

I used to back up from laptop to EHD. I then tried Carbonite. Not ony was it SLOW, it would not allow, on one account, for me to back up laptop AND EHD. Because I often move files from laptop to HD, I decided to make a homemade RAID. A RAID is a system of multiple hard drives. There are many configurations, but basically, a RAID spreads part of each file over all the drives. (The following system is not a RAID, but my own imitation, it is not automatic like a real RAID)

In a real RAID, if you have a file called Collection 1, part of it is on Drive 1, another part on Drive 2, and so on, following the number of drives you have. That way, if ONE hard drive fails (and it will), once you plug in a new drive, the other drives rewrite the missing information! Cool huh? This is accomplished through hardware controllers and software.

Well, I learned how to do that when I went to MCSE school. However, it is not so easy to build at home.

I made an improvised "Crabcakes RAID". I now have 4 EHDS in a rack my hubby made. Each is 1 terabyte. Two are identical. I have Drive 1 and 1A, Drive 2 and 2A. I and 1A are duplicates, as are 2 and 2A. So, when one crashes, I have a copy. I found it cheaper in the long run than backing up to Carbonite, and MUCH faster. I have a USB hub with its own power source (Best for that many large EHDS), that all 4 drives plug into. Then ONE USB cable to my laptop. My laptop sees all drives under My Computer.

When I download items, I store them temporarily on my laptop.

Next, in My Computer, I open each of 2 drives, and drag my new files over to 1 and 1A OR 2 and 2a. (I have them divided as to content in my own wacky system!). You could store collections on 1 and stray elements, papers, photos, etc. on the other. Dragging the files simultaneously from my laptop to the 2 EHDs is fast, and can go to both drives at the same time.

So, I have 4 EHDs, but in actuality, I have 2, as the other two are backups, and not really used.

Now, when one EHD goes bad, I have all my "stuff" on its mirror drive. I simply get another 1TB drive and copy the data from the existing drive onto the new one, and once again, I have backups.

I have a TON of photos, but if you do not, you can get by with 4 500G drives!

For me, this has worked out amazingly well! BTW, for Christmas two years ago, I told my husband I wanted a RAID. Since he did not quite understand, he bought me three 1TB external drives. I already had one, so three extra worked out quite well, as I have twin drives now!

For ME, this is the best system I have come across yet. I'd love to hear YOUR systems.

#2 Vaughnde


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Posted 13 October 2009 - 11:44 AM

What an interesting concept. I would have never known about something like this if you hadn't shared. Currently I only have one 320GB HD and its not even full yet. I like the idea of your system and I'm gonna share it with my dad when he comes back from his vacation.
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#3 tiza126


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Posted 13 October 2009 - 12:33 PM

Sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing.
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#4 JenniferZ


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Posted 13 October 2009 - 01:56 PM

I work on a laptop and have two EHDs -- one just for photos and digi-scrapping supplies (500GB) and one for a full-system backup (1TB). As soon as I purchase products, I download them to a "Need Backed Up" folder. Once I accumulate a few kits, photos or other goodies, I burn them to DVD and then drag them to my "Photos and Digital Scrapbooking" EHD. Then I perform a system backup on my 1TB EHD. Once the files are burned/backed up, I move them out of the "Need Backed Up" folder. At the end of every month, I burn that month's photos to a DVD -- I don't delete any photos from my camera's memory card until I have burned them to DVD. So far, it's working for me. I feel better having copies of everything on DVD, but if all of my drives fail simultaneously, reloading from DVD's would take FOREVER!!



#5 Sara Arell

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 01:56 PM

Sounds like a good plan to me - glad you found a way to back up your goodies - I don't like it when my EHD is backing up as I work - it slows me down - I much prefer just to add to it what I want added to it, but my computer guru set it up that way and until he comes back again ($$$$$$$$) I can't figure out how to change it - I don't really want everything backed up - just the things that are important to me.


#6 Kacie


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Posted 14 October 2009 - 10:07 PM

I do something very similar to Jennifer. All of my scrapbook supplies are stored on a USB powered EHD (my Macbook isn't big enough to hold all of my supplies :) ). With a Mac comes the automatic full system backup program called Time Machine. I have another full size EHD that I use with Time Machine to backup my entire Macbook. As long as both EHDs are plugged into my Macbook at the same time, Time Machine will automatically backup my entire laptop and contents of the scrapbooking EHD.

#7 caprimom


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Posted 15 October 2009 - 08:05 AM

I used to use Mozy as they provided EHD backup whereas Carbonite didn't but I like the idea of having a system independent of internet connection. Thanks for sharing your method.

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