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Standard User TLM
(legend) Sun 03-Apr-11 20:00:55
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Backup Device Recommendations?


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After a scare this week, I'm finally looking for a device to back up my work laptop.

I am a homeworker, and work have not provided one. I've been putting it off, as I resent paying out of my own pocket for something I feel work should have provided (I had to buy my own printer, as well!)

But I've reluctantly concluded the stress (and possible career implications) of losing the work are just not worth it, so something needs to be done. And soon!

Have started browsing external hard drives. Main criteria are it needs to be compact and/or portable, reliable, and not too expensive. I'm not looking for bargain basement - but hey, it's work - I'm not going for top-of-the-range, either.

I've noticed some do automatic continuous back-up all the time, so you don't have to remember. But I'm wondering if this has any adverse effects on the performance of the laptop? And I wonder if I really would keep it plugged in all the time, or if it would turn out to be annoying, because I wouldn't have as much freedom of movement with the laptop? Is it better to get one I just plug in whenever I decide to back up - and hope I don't forget?

Any thoughts/experiences appreciated.

Tina
Standard User camieabz
(legend) Sun 03-Apr-11 20:18:52
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Re: Backup Device Recommendations?


[re: TLM] [link to this post]
 
Are we talking specific files only or the entire system?

I use a 120GB WD Passport. Nice size. 5" x 3" x 1/2" thick. USB 2.0 Very affordable.

If it's files only (specified documents, e-mail folders etc), look at this.

Just tried this, and it's great for updating 'changed files', as opposed to all files every time.

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Standard User AEP
(knowledge is power) Sun 03-Apr-11 20:26:57
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Re: Backup Device Recommendations?


[re: TLM] [link to this post]
 
In your position I would buy a cheap portable external drive such as the Seagate one that I use. For use with a laptop a drive like this is far more convenient than the larger external ones that need a power supply.

I can't actually remember if this one came with backup software, but Windows backup is fine (at least that in Windows 7 is). If not there are plenty of other free offerings that do the job. I wouldn't go for continuous backup software; it's too restrictive to keep the drive connected all the time. If you are organized you can just do a manual backup once a day or once a week. Backup software can be scheduled but it's not much use if the computer isn't on, and the drive connected, when it's meant to work, so manual backup is as good as anything. You can even decide for yourself when to backup - like when you've just done some important work.

Whatever you choose, you've definitely made the right step by deciding that some form of backup is necessary. The number of queries that I see on support forums to which the obvious reply is "restore from your backup" doesn't bear thinking about. Unfortunately, in about 95% of cases that advice isn't practical.


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Standard User TLM
(legend) Sun 03-Apr-11 20:27:16
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Re: Backup Device Recommendations?


[re: camieabz] [link to this post]
 
I'm looking at doing the whole lot - complete image. Safer than picking and choosing, and then finding you forgot something crucial.

I was already looking at the Passport. You've got on OK with it, obviously? And I like the security features, as it's for work. Doesn't seem much point having a secure encrypted laptop, if I'm going to copy it all to something not similarly encrypted.

T.
Standard User TLM
(legend) Sun 03-Apr-11 20:38:34
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Re: Backup Device Recommendations?


[re: AEP] [link to this post]
 
I'm very well aware of the advisability of it, having worked in IT for years. However, the dispute is over who pays. They're meant to provide my broadband and a second phone line; they don't. They did, however, provide me with a large and very expensive office chair I didn't really want (nowhere to put it). Strange they could stretch to that, but not to a backup device. Such is the logic of large organisations.
Standard User camieabz
(legend) Sun 03-Apr-11 20:44:35
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Re: Backup Device Recommendations?


[re: TLM] [link to this post]
 
Had two. One came with a duff cable, but they sent another. Only problem I've had so far. Both drives are 2-3 years old.

If we're talking imaging softtware, bear in mind that it's only really good if it is to be restored to the same or an identical PC. iirc it's recoverable, but can cause hassle if the new system has different hardware (in some cases it's not possible.

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Standard User Deadbeat
(knowledge is power) Wed 06-Apr-11 01:03:07
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Re: Backup Device Recommendations?


[re: TLM] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by TLM:
...I'm looking at doing the whole lot - complete image. Safer than picking and choosing, and then finding you forgot something crucial...


It's probably wiser to image the machine now and then only do so again when updates or installations etc have substantially changed the data. Clean the machine up and tweak it to your liking and take a "master" image. Then, every month or so or whenever said changes have occurred, take an updated image. Always keep at least two images and preferably store them in seperate locations.
I use Acronis for my imaging needs but there are free alternatives such as Easeus ToDo.
Whatever imaging solution you use, it's vitally important to ensure that you verify the written images when they're taken and at regular intervals if they're to be stored for any length of time. Don't get lax about verification - I can tell you from experience that it will come back to bite you!
Personally, I don't actually install Acronis for any longer than it takes to create a few TrueImage boot CD's. I don't see the need for it as the bootable media are more than adequate for my needs.
I've not used Easeus but I believe that it's broadly similar to Acronis TI. Depending on what backup medium you choose, you may find that an imaging program is supplied with it.

Taking images doesn't take long but on a daiy basis, it can become a bit of a bind so for day to day user data backup, something like Karen's Replicator can be set up to back up what you want and if you wish, scheuled to run at convenient times. Again, if these data are sensitive or valuable, they should be backed up to at least two (Preferably physically seperate) locations.

At home, I have a couple of Lacie 500G NAS's and a couple of Seagate 500G USB drives. If I'm out and about, I have two 500G SATA 2.5" enclosures plus a variety of thumb drives. The 2.5" enlosures are very handy as they can easily be slipped in a laptop bag or even a pocket.
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