Backup Strategy.

I realise that there are computer forums where I can ask this question, but I thought I would try here where there is a wider variety of informed opinions.

I have a laptop and a desktop. The files I would be sorry to lose are mostly pictures and documents. All the software can easily be reinstalled.

I am lazy. A backup system that involves effort is likely to fall by the wayside. Ideally I want one that works automatically.

I have an unused 100gig of cloud storage from my ISP, so that looks like the best place to store the backup.

So, for a lazy git like me, who has some photo’s and documents that he would rather not lose, what is the best and simplest strategy? Also - how can I be sure that in time of need, I could get it all back?

I think the best and simplest strategy is to pay for an account with a company like Mozy or Carbonite. Both install a program on your computer that automatically backs up the folders you choose. The advantage of this approach is that once you set up the backup process and select the folders, the rest of the work is automatic.

Alternatively, you can get decent amounts of free storage on various cloud services like Dropbox and Onedrive. Those give you 4-5 gigs for free, which is a lot of room for ordinary documents but won’t hold a ton of photos or very many videos at all. For photos, there are some specific services like Google Photos which allow unlimited backups of good-but-not-professional-quality photos.

Now with “free” there’s no guarantees. Notably, OneDrive just went from offering 30 gigs for free down to 5 gigs. This was preceded by plenty of warning, and after a lot of backlash they let current users keep the previous 30 gigs if they jumped through a hoop. I can’t say what happened to people who lost some of their storage, but I assume that OneDrive just stopped permitting new uploads until you cleared out some space. I can’t imagine that any of the larger services will actually delete your files without tons of warning.

IMO, cloud storage is perfect for “lazy gits”. All your files are in a folder that is seamlessly synced to every computer you own, and your phone for good measure.

Another vote for cloud backup; I have used Crashplan without complaints, although I never needed to restore from it. It will murder your internet bandwidth while the initial backup is taken, but after that it should be fine, as it does incremental backups (this is probably true for all online schemes). Crashplan has a free offering, although I’m not sure what the restrictions are.

One advantage of a true cloud backup service (whichever one you choose) over a cloud storage facility like Google Drive or OneDrive is that if you accidentally DELETE a file (as opposed to something happening to your computer) in a storage service, then once that change is synced up to cloud the file is gone (there may be version control going on, but there may not as well). With a true backup plan, that’s not a risk.

Also note that Cryptolocker-type malware will encrypt any attached USB storage, so a big USB disk isn’t a great backup strategy (at least, not on its own). Cloud protects you from this risk because it isn’t directly connected to your computer.

If you
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Oops, ignore the words “if you” at the end of my previous post. I’d edit them out, but I can’t work out how to do it in Tapatalk.
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At least it wasn’t “FU”. :slight_smile:

I like a multi-layered approach: in addition to the cloud backup, have some sort of off-line backup. The easiest way to do this is to have a USB 3 HDD and back up your files to that once in a while - every month or three - and keep it in your car.

For what it’s worth, Crashplan can do this automatically (I sound like a salesman now, but it just happens to be the service I’m familiar with). You can set different “destinations” for your backups; the free service allows those destinations to be either a locally connected device such as an HD, or - interestingly - another Crashplan user’s computer - the idea being you back up to each others’ PCs. Paying for the service ($60 per year) adds true cloud backup, which is what I have. You can target more than one destination at once, so it would be easy to set up backups to both a local device and the cloud, as per Quartz’s recommendation, and it would be completely automatic and hands-off once it’s up and running.

Hope that helps ! I changed computers recently, and this thread has prompted me to get Crashplan installed on the new one and get my backups up to date, so thanks for that :).

I have a server running WSE 2012. It backs up my PC automatically. In addition to that I periodically backup to an external hard drive.

Buy 3 small ( since you mention 100 GB ) external drives, of differing makes.
Copy all the static stuff that will never be changed to a directory ( split into sub-directories if you wish ) on one drive.

On another directory put new stuff as if arrives. You can move any of this to the first whenever you want to review the collection.

Duplicate the 1st drive to the other three.

Ask someone far away from your house to hold on to No. 3.

Add new stuff to No. 1 whenever and then duplicate that to No. 2. If one goes wrong you will always have the other two.
I use Grsync as a gui for Rsync both for duplicating files and incrementally updating them so one needn’t update by re-copying everything, only the new files. One can save the sequence ---- copy drive-home/. to drive02/ as a session, which means in essence you attach the external drive and hit a button to update all.

I have two USB hard drives. One gets connected for a fresh backup every week, then disconnected when done; it’s velcroed under the edge of my desk for convenience. The other drive gets connected every few months for a fresh backup, then it goes back in a Zip-loc bag in a fire-resistant safe that’s bolted down in the basement.

I have approximately 100GB of stuff to back up - MP3s, photos, etc. - but there’s only one 8GB directory that changes with any frequency, so that’s the only one that I bother backing up every week (unless I know I’ve changed something in one of the other directories). That means the weekly backup doesn’t take long.

I know my approach seems kind of Luddite compared to the automated approaches people are suggesting here, but it meets my needs without having to trust my files to some outside entity. If my computer dies or gets Cryptolocked, my first backup is (at most) a week old. If there’s a fire or tornado that obliterates the second floor of the house, I’ll still have the copy in the safe, which will be (at most) a few months old. If there’s a fire so bad that it incinerates the safe in the basement, then Something Very Bad has happened and I expect that the loss of my data will be the least of my problems.

I have an autoscheduled backup running at 3 AM every night to an external hard drive; the backup is bootable and if the internal HD goes kaflooey I install a new utterly blank HD, boot from the backup, format and partition the new internal, then run the backup software (Retrospect) in the reverse direction and it’s as if the hard-drive face plant had never occurred. Probably takes ~3 hrs to restore and verify.

This is good stuff. Many thanks guys

FWIW, I also use Crashplan. You can set it to automatically backup to an external hard drive, another PC in another location and the cloud. I got the “family” subscription, which allows up to 10 PCs, and installed Crashplan on all of our PCs and laptops. Thankfully, I’ve never had to recover everything from the cloud, but I have recovered individual files that I screwed up and saved wrong.

I am also running SyncBackFree, which backs up whatever files/folders/directories onto my external hard drive every night. So, the SyncBack is my primary backup, and Crashplan is the backup to my backup in case something really bad happens like a house fire.

ps. I run my business from my home, so my needs are a little more extensive than just personal stuff.