Backup Best Practices: Read This First!

Do you have a question? Post it now! No Registration Necessary.  Now with pictures!

Threaded View
Backup Best Practices: Read This First!

By Robert P. Lipschutz

The terms we throw around in this story—incremental backup, system
versus data protection, single-file restore, and disaster recovery—may
make the whole idea seem daunting. But backing up your data
(documents, photos, Quicken files, and such) is not an option; it's a
necessity. And we recommend you back up your OS and applications, too,
so you can recover from a disaster that wipes out or corrupts your
hard drive.

In truth, both the Home and the Professional editions of Windows XP
come with simple backup functionality. The problems are: No one knows
where to find it; it doesn't do single-file recovery; and the
Automatic System Recovery (ASR) available in Windows XP Pro requires a
floppy disk to use (many systems don't have floppy disk drives

Here, we present our tips and recommendations to guide you in setting
up a backup plan that makes sense for your needs.

Quoted text here. Click to load it
should save data files on a separate drive or partition. This will make
protection easier in many ways, and it could save your bacon. For example, you
can restore your system to a previous state without reversing your data to that
point in time. Our favorite partitioning tools are Acronis Disk Director Suite
9.0 and Norton PartitionMagic 8.0.

Quoted text here. Click to load it
investment that pays for itself with one system recovery. Dedicate the drive to
backup; don't use it for anything else.

Quoted text here. Click to load it
applications), so you can recover from a crash, and protecting your data
(documents, digital pictures, music, settings). Some backup tools work better
for system files; some work better for data.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

protection. Multiple solutions, such as continuous backup and traditional
backup, give you both quick recovery and long-term protection.

Quoted text here. Click to load it
does) makes them easily accessible but won't protect you from a physical
disaster. If you need this kind of protection, keep a system backup off-site,
either online, on an external drive, or on optical media. We fit our Windows XP
OS and a hoard of applications (about 9GB total) on two DVDs.

Quoted text here. Click to load it
they see your whole mailbox as a single file. (As a safeguard, make sure your
e-mail accounts keep a copy of every message on the server.)

Quoted text here. Click to load it
your mail file, or you keep a status-report spreadsheet open all the time, it
may never get properly backed up.

Quoted text here. Click to load it
that they were backing up properly only to find that nothing was actually
written to the disk.

The specific method you choose will depend on your appetite for risk,
your budget, and the value of your data based on time, real dollars,
and sentiment. Only you can choose the right solution. Here are some
combinations that we like:

Quoted text here. Click to load it
DVD storage gives you the best of most worlds—data protection and system

Quoted text here. Click to load it
features for interim image creation, but make sure you have a full image, not a
baseline with incrementals, for a reliable full-system recovery. If you want
easy single-file access and version storage, combine Ghost with a simple backup
product like Argentum.

Quoted text here. Click to load it
< back       next >,1759,1847366,00.asp

     "The pressure is outrageous.  Everyone is picked apart and it's so
superficial and not real.  I'm not superskinny and not overweight.  I'm just
             -- Hilary Duff

Re: Backup Best Practices: Read This First!

The message is absolutely right but as usual it takes a good spill to get it
across for the majority of computer users. If one doesn't back up it's like
driving one's car across the country back and forth with no spare tire.
Sooner or later a tire will go flat and the driver will be stuck.

Jan Alter
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Re: Backup Best Practices: Read This First!


Quoted text here. Click to load it

There is only one good solution to backup, namely removeable drive
bays. Put two Kingwin KF-23 3-fan units (or equivalent) on the primary
IDE channel and use 3 disks of the same size. When you plan to do
something that could corrupt your boot disk, such as
installing/removing an application, cleaning the Registry, defragging,
etc, then make a clone with your Acronis TrueImage CD. Eventually you
will have two kinds of clones - one recent and one less recent. That
should cover your needs for disaster recovery.

You can put a disk in the lower bay when you are not using it to clone
a boot disk where you can keep old stuff like MP3s, pix, etc. You can
even make a backup of that if you want.

This method has the advantage that you can recover from any kind of
disaster, either disk failure or corruption. The removeable bays cost
about $25 and come with one tray. Extra trays cost about $15. Of
course you have to buy 3 disks, so this is not the cheapest solution
possible, but it is the most practical because it covers all possible

You could get by with only 2 disks, but I do not advise it. I have
cloned a boot disk only to find that it would not reboot, which means
the clone is no good. So I had to reach back for the 3rd disk.

Re: Backup Best Practices: Read This First!

Good point Bob,

But remember that if you need to back up you data frequently, the two
backup disks will most probably bear the same corrupted file, or any
other problem.

On the other hand, Relative Rev Backup by DataMills , can backup to any disk, creating archives
that go back months, enabling swift recovery of file/folder to a
selected time point that can be many months old, and it does so without
multiplying the backup space.

That way each of your backup disk contains many versions of you data,
and you would not need to keep adding backup disks just to increase the
backup history.

Joe Rom King

Bob wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Re: Backup Best Practices: Read This First!


Quoted text here. Click to load it

That's why I have 3 disks. One is from a period long enough ago not to
be corrupted.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

I have never liked software backups because they either don't backup
everything or they screw up enough to make them worthless.

I will stick with hardware only - that way I know what I have.

Site Timeline