Author Topic: System and File Backup Recommendations  (Read 583 times)

BanjoTom

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System and File Backup Recommendations
« on: May 17, 2019, 11:18:45 PM »
 I faithfully use Pack and Go to back up my IMatch database, but have to confess that I've been negligent in setting up both hardware and software for full regular backups of my Win 10 PC.  My wife also has a Win 10 PC.

I think I've seen Mario refer to using Acronis True Image Backup, and a license for up to 3 PCs is only about $80.  I have several small USB external drives (which I've used to back up selected file directories, but nothing in my backup workflow is automated), and there is NO full system image backup.

I KNOW I need to do better.  Would you (Mario) or anyone else comment on whether or not I should purchase the 3-PC Acronis software and use it with, perhaps, a Western Digital 8Tb external USB drive (those are only $140 to $160 these days). 

Would such purchases put me on a better path for both system and file backups?  I'm OPEN to suggestions, but I'm sure I need to do something along these lines!  Thanks for any advice that any of you can offer!
— Tom, in Lexington, Kentucky, USA

Mario

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Re: System and File Backup Recommendations
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2019, 08:34:46 AM »
I use 4 layers of backup:

1. RAID disks in my PC (two disks mirrored, which allows one disk to fail without data loss).
2. Daily backups using Macrium Reflect (I had problems with TrueImage stability and reliability a couple of years ago, switched to Macrium and never looked back).
3. Cloud Backup using Microsoft OneDrive (incremental, several times a day, also done using Macrium).
4- Monthly full backups

The Macrium backups go to external WD 2,5" 4TB hard disks (Elements). I have several disks for daily and monthly backups. I keep the daily backups for weeks and the monthly backups for at least a year.
I have six of these WD Elements disks (2TB and 4TB) and they work for many years without and problems or failure. And for 99€ for a 4TB disk they are also affordable.
It's better to have 2TB disks instead of only one 4TB disk, mind. Keeping your backups for at least a couple of weeks is important - in case you notice a damaged or deleted file after several weeks. If you have already overwritten your backup - tough luck.

I have a Microsoft Office 365 5 users subscription. Costs about 70€ per year. It includes 1 TB of cloud storage per user. I don't need 5 Office installations, but I use the 5 TB cloud storage for backups. Much cheaper than the offerings of DropBox and similar.

I don't do full system backups to OneDrive (that would mean more than 2TB each). But I backup source codes and other important files several times a day using Macrium to the OneDrive folder. And OneDrive then copies this into the cloud automatically. The backups are encrypted by Macrium locally (good!) and I tell Macrium to retain at least two weeks of these backups before deleting the oldest one. This works fully auto and I can easily retrieve any file from the cloud backup of my disk backups when needed.

For a normal user  ;) backing up his system daily to an external disk and keeping these backups for at least four weeks (switching between two disks every week) is a good start.
Maybe make a monthly backup on another disk and keep this backup for at least 3 months.

The beauty of Macrium (and similar systems) is that you can set it up to automatically backup your system daily at the same time. It runs in the background while your PC remains fully usable. If your PC is off at the scheduled time, Macrium runs the backup when you start it the next time. It can run over night and shut-down your PC automatically. It just works really well. Like IMatch  ;)

sinus

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Re: System and File Backup Recommendations
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2019, 11:09:31 AM »

The beauty of Macrium (and similar systems) is that you can set it up to automatically backup your system daily at the same time. It runs in the background while your PC remains fully usable. If your PC is off at the scheduled time, Macrium runs the backup when you start it the next time. It can run over night and shut-down your PC automatically. It just works really well. Like IMatch  ;)

I can only stress this.

I do backups on my external usb-3-drives.

With Macrium I created some automatic backups.

For example I let backup my IMatch-DB once a day (automatically).

My real files files I let backup once a week.
And my new files I let backup again once a day.

Because you can say Macrium "ok, create a backup from this two folders at 11.15h on my usb-drive G".
And "make a backup from the whole IMatch-folder (with the program) on drive J, daily at 15.00h"

Once a week do a backup from my whole drive D on usb-drive K, do this every friday at 11pm and when finished, shutdown the pc".

This all works fine and I did recover in the past some files successfully. I can say, Macrium is fine for me.

Maybe I should do backups also online on clouds like Google or Microsoft, but until now, I did not so.
Best wishes from Switzerland! :-)
Markus

Mario

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Re: System and File Backup Recommendations
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2019, 11:41:49 AM »
Keep in mind that "backing up IMatch" is not only the IMatch program files folder or the database.

See What to Backup? for more info.

Jingo

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Re: System and File Backup Recommendations
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2019, 01:49:56 PM »
The beauty of Macrium (and similar systems) is that you can set it up to automatically backup your system daily at the same time. It runs in the background while your PC remains fully usable.

I can only stress this.


I can stress this as well.... I've used a variety of products and like both NovaBackup and Acronis (currently using).  I have data spread across 10 partitions/drives and use Acronis to automatically have scheduled backups setup to other internal drives:

1 - Full backup set to run every 11 days
2 - Daily differential backups run each night between 12am and 5am

Some things to note:  Acronis requires you to have double the amount of available space if you want to use "chain backups" - ie: A full backup plus x number of incremental or differential backups.  Before the old chain is deleted, a new Full backup is created... Novabackup I believe did not require this... they would delete the old backup chain FIRST (if desired) and then create the new full backup.  While the Acronis approach is safer... it does mean "wasted" space sitting on your backup drives.  For me, that means leaving about 1.6 TB of space available for the new FULL... a bit wasteful but then again, space is so cheap!  Just something to note when searching for a backup program... I've also use Macrium and it is a good product as well.

Along with these type of backups, I have SyncbackPro running scheduled "backups" on my IMatch database and settings along with other selected folders (ie: My Documents, etc).  I also run a CLONE of the OS drive (C:) every couple months and store these on my NAS.... I recently had a SSD drive failure and it took me about 30 minutes to get my system up and running again with only 1 months of missing installed programs (not much).... all settings and files were easily restored from the backups.

Good luck... it takes a bit of effort to get things setup.. but then is just runs on autopilot!


herman

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Re: System and File Backup Recommendations
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2019, 02:32:08 PM »
I try to follow the 3-2-1 rule: (at least) 3 backups on (at least) 2 different media of which (at least) 1 is stored off-site.

Like Mario I have a RAID with two mirrored disks in my PC. This is not a back-up but it allows one disk to fail without data loss.

I use Windows' built-in File History to copy files to an external WD My Book drive.
The (changed) files are copied once per hour to the WD drive, they remain there until space is needed (which may be years, depending on size of files and the disks).

Once per week I copy the contents of the data disks and the File History drive to my Synology NAS. The NAS again has two mirrored drives so that one can fail without data loss. I use Beyond Compare for this copy action. I don't know if it can be automated, but I do maintenance once per week anyway so this is just one of the things to do.

When the weekly copy action is ready I use Synology's Hyper Backup to create a backup of the Synology drives to an external portable USB drive which I store outside of my apartment so that it is protected from fire or burglars.

All drives are encrypted by the way: the ones in and attached to my PC are Bitlocker protected, the NAS and off-site USB drive have Synology's encryption applied.
Encryption passwords are not only stored in KeePass on my PC and tablet but also on my iPhone just in case......
« Last Edit: May 18, 2019, 02:34:31 PM by herman »
Enjoy!

Herman.

monochrome

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Re: System and File Backup Recommendations
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2019, 05:41:46 PM »
I try to follow the 3-2-1 rule: (at least) 3 backups on (at least) 2 different media of which (at least) 1 is stored off-site.

I second this. Portable HDs for local backups are good, but also go with some cloud backup provider - Backblaze, CrashPlan, etc.

Also - verify and test your backups regularly. There is nothing quite like the feeling when you have to perform a restore, and you suddenly realize that your backup strategy is about to be put to the test for real.

A humorous guide to backup is "The Tao of Backup" http://www.taobackup.com/. While the author admits it's just a sales pitch for Veracity, the principles it describes are very valid for any backup strategy.

jch2103

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Re: System and File Backup Recommendations
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2019, 08:20:06 PM »
I have a Microsoft Office 365 5 users subscription. Costs about 70€ per year. It includes 1 TB of cloud storage per user. I don't need 5 Office installations, but I use the 5 TB cloud storage for backups. Much cheaper than the offerings of DropBox and similar.
I also have 365. How do you enable the 5 TB total? Separate logins? Other? Thanks.
John

Mario

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Re: System and File Backup Recommendations
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2019, 08:29:20 PM »
I also have 365. How do you enable the 5 TB total? Separate logins? Other? Thanks.

1 TB per user account (per email address).

Since I run my own web server I have email addresses in abundance, no problem there.
1 TB  is plenty, each can keep multiple weeks of incremental backups. In turn.

jch2103

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Re: System and File Backup Recommendations
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2019, 09:00:28 PM »
Thank you for the reminder to check/update my own backup procedures!

My current setup:

- Western Digital MyCloudEX2Ultra (two 4TB drives, RAID 1; 4TB available storage) with Macrium Reflect for daily system backup. Separate location from main computer (network link) in same house.
- Two 2TB WD hard drives used on a rotating basis to back up my user files (not just photos), via FreeFileSync. Prior backup is kept in a separate location (in same house).
- SugarSync used for non-photo files backup.
- Just started photos backup via Amazon Prime Photos backup (raw and jpg). Unlimited photos backup for Prime members (I consider this an 'extra' backup; still evaluating.)
- Smugmug account for processed jpg images.

I still need to review other 'local' offsite storage options.

John

Mario

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Re: System and File Backup Recommendations
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2019, 07:19:38 AM »
@All:

Don't forget to regularly test your backups by actually performing a restore.

Jingo

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Re: System and File Backup Recommendations
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2019, 01:52:11 PM »
@All:

Don't forget to regularly test your backups by actually performing a restore.

^^^ Yes... keep in mind that most restore require the creation and boot from a USB stick so make sure this stick is in a secure spot (maybe make a backup as well) and understand how to boot into BIOS or choose how to boot from the stick.  When you need it - you'll be glad you tested this out and know how it should work.

Carlo Didier

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Re: System and File Backup Recommendations
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2019, 03:24:04 PM »
^^^ Yes... keep in mind that most restore require the creation and boot from a USB stick ...
That's actually only necessary for system backups/restores, and it's difficult to test those.
For backups of data only, you normally don't need to boot from a stick as you already have the backup software installed on your system.

Carlo Didier

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Re: System and File Backup Recommendations
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2019, 03:44:34 PM »
I currently have an automatic sync of my photos and manual copy of iMatch database from my main PC to a NAS.
From there I have automatic backups to cloud services.
The NAS has Raid and internal snapshots.

This fits my use very well as my PCs are not powered up all the time, but only when I effectively use them.

I addition to that I regularly sync to various USB drives which I keep in a safe and at my office at work.

Jingo

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Re: System and File Backup Recommendations
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2019, 01:43:06 PM »
^^^ Yes... keep in mind that most restore require the creation and boot from a USB stick ...
That's actually only necessary for system backups/restores, and it's difficult to test those.
For backups of data only, you normally don't need to boot from a stick as you already have the backup software installed on your system.

A bit difficult - but not too bad if you have a spare drive available.  Testing this restore scenario can be even more important than a data restore because these type of crashes are a bit more catastrophic to recover from if not prepared. 

For example, you wake up in the morning, ready to get important client work done (with tight deadlines!) and poof... your boot drive it dead (ask me how I know?!!).  Luckily, you have a spare drive available, your boot drive backup image and that bootable recovery USB stick you've tested so you know how the whole process works... and, within 30 minutes, you are back up and running again from your last clone point and your clients are thrilled when you deliver them their projects on time.   8)

Carlo Didier

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Re: System and File Backup Recommendations
« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2019, 02:55:43 PM »
I know the importance of a system drive backup (guess why ...  ;D ).
And USB sticks are such a heavenly gift compared to the CDs/DVDs we had to use before!

I just meant that you don't need the USB-Stick-Boot for your data backups/restores.

Jingo

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Re: System and File Backup Recommendations
« Reply #16 on: May 21, 2019, 10:38:10 PM »
I just meant that you don't need the USB-Stick-Boot for your data backups/restores.

Gotcha!   :D