[time-nuts] While we're discussing backups...

Neon John jgd at johngsbbq.com
Sun Aug 24 15:50:33 EDT 2008

On Fri, 22 Aug 2008 22:47:12 -0500, Robert Vassar <rvassar at rob-vassar.com>

>I backup to a USB hard disk.  I plug it in, backup, unplug it, de- 
>cable and park it in a filing cabinet.  The disk spends 99.99% of  
>it's life powered off.  It should last a decade or more like this,  
>but I buy a new disk to replace it every 5 years, regardless if it  
>needs it or not.  Really critical stuff goes on a CD-R, stored flat  
>in a jewel case, and goes in the safe deposit box.

My laptop is may main computer.  My "backup" procedure consists of cloning the
C: drive using a freebie utility called "xxclone" (http://www.xxclone.com).
This one is one of the best cloning programs that I've tried and being free is
a double bonus.

The target drives are the same brand and size as what is installed in my
laptop.  The bare target drive is connected via a USB-to-EDIE interface cable
that I picked up somewhere on the net for about $20.  I use 3 drives in
rotation so that I have 3 generations of drive snapshots at any given time.
That has saved my cookies more than once when I realized after the last clone
that I'd deleted something vital.  The three "backup" drives stay in my
fireproof safe inside zip-lock bags.  The zip-lock bags are vital.  I learned
the hard way during a house fire that even though the fireproof safe protects
the media from heat, it doesn't protect it from the acidic smoke and steam
that are drawn into the cool interior.

If the drive in my laptop fails, I don't have to do a restore.  I simply get
the latest clone drive out of the safe and install it in my computer and I'm
instantly back up and running with the machine state being that of the last

I do a weekly clone and a daily differential backup to my linux file server
running SAMBA using another freebie utility called SyncBack. A flash drive is
another option for those non-networked computer users.
http://www.2brightsparks.com/.  Even when I've been very active, a week's
worth of changes easily fits on a 4 gig flash drive.

I still have the occasional nightmare when I think about tape backup.  More
accurately, the time wasted verifying each tape and even then, having the tape
not read about half the time when it was needed.  Never again!

John De Armond
See my website for my current email address
http://www.johndearmond.com <-- best little blog on the net!
Tellico Plains, Occupied TN
What do you call a blonde's cranial cavity?  Vacuum chamber?

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