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Date: 12/29/23 18:02
Computer Backup
Author: hotrail

So given that many of you have substantial libraries of photos, videos or other documents (not to mention the ever growing amounts of personal finance, tax or business info we accumulate) stored on your PCs, what are the "smart railfans" using as a backup strategy?
  • OneDrive (if I understand, its really designed and intended as a file sharing tool, not a backup tool)?
  • Online backup services (ie., Carbonite or others)?
  • External HDDs or SSDs?  If so, how many?  How frequently backed up?  And how do you store them securely?
  • Other?
Interested to learn what to do here.  I don't ahve any big collection of photos, but it would be really miserable to lose a lot of data.



Date: 12/29/23 18:18
Re: Computer Backup
Author: chessie7602

I back files up on multiple portable hard drives.

one hard drive is used to make backups of all my files every 6 months and is kept in a safe deposit box
another hard drive backs up all my files every 6 weeks
a memory stick backs up all my financial files every 4 weeks

I have had to use these backups on two occasions and faired pretty well as far as recovering any files that I have lost.
I have over 170,000 files in my railroad folder.

I also don't use my computer's internal hard drive to store any files, it is all done on another external drive that stays connected to that computer.  I have lost computers and it made it very easy to just connect that external drive to my laptop and have access to all my most recent files instantly.

I don't trust my files in the cloud.  



 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/29/23 18:22 by chessie7602.



Date: 12/29/23 19:29
Re: Computer Backup
Author: DocJohn

I started my consulting business in late 2004 after 34 years in industrial R&D.  After I had my first clients, and was putting in much time on reports, I realized that my office and PCs could be lost the next time there was a serious storm or other disaster.  Since that time, I have been using DataDepositBox (datadepositbox.com).  It is not cheap as I have much data there.  However, it is reliable and uploads changes to your files as you make them.  It is a Windows based app, but you can download your data from LInux-based PC's as well as iPhone.  I have used it from overseas, when I have needed to pull down data I needed for reports and presentations I was writing while traveling.  Technical support is very good, and no loss of data in over 20 years.

For my Linux-based systems, I use SpiderOakONE.  It is much cheaper and believe there is a Windows version available.  I did have a data loss a few years ago.  Now, all my PCs are dual boot with the data partitions in formatted to exFAT so they are available to both Linux and Windows.  BTW, all my email accounts are IMAP, so I am not relying on local storage for email.

John

 



Date: 12/30/23 04:09
Re: Computer Backup
Author: E25

For most digital photo collectors, I think that chessie7602 has the most practical solution... i.e., keep your photos on several good quality hard drives in multiple, environmentally safe locations, with back-ups at regular intervals.  Use a good directory organization scheme so you don't unintentionally over-write previously-stored files.  Don't forget to keep a written / printed index of your collection that can be easily accessed in case of your sudden absence from life on planet earth.

Don't use your everyday Internet-connected computer for your photo collection.  Avoid using flash drives for long-term storage as it is thought that they tend to loose data over time if not regularly accessed.

As for slide collections, best to use polypropylene pages stored in light and air-tight binders kept in an environmentally safe location... probably not your house.

With all of the hacking, harvesting, data loss, carelessness, etc., that affects the Internet on a daily basis, I wouldn't store anything in a "cloud" facility.

Greg Stadter
Phoenix, AZ



Date: 12/31/23 10:01
Re: Computer Backup
Author: cchan006

E25 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Don't use your everyday Internet-connected
> computer for your photo collection.  Avoid using
> flash drives for long-term storage as it is
> thought that they tend to loose data over time if
> not regularly accessed.

Flash-based storage (USB sticks, SD cards, SSD) have read/write cycle wear, specifically write cycles. I haven't heard of the "loss of data from non-use" as a problem with flash-based media.

There are algorithms to distribute writes to different physical area of flash media, so accelerated wear won't happen to a specific area. Much less of a problem is wear from read cycles, where adjacent physical area suffers from eventual degradation.

But this enforces your advice that flash or magnetic, separate drive to store the photois a good idea. Lots of writes (especially caches) on primary media of a PC, and photo storage should be physically separated from that.
 



Date: 12/31/23 15:04
Re: Computer Backup
Author: furious_toad

I use this https://www.westerndigital.com/products/network-attached-storage/wd-my-cloud-pro-series-pr4100?sku=WDBNFA0240KBK-NESN​ it comes in 8, 24 and 64tb capacity. I have it connected to my home network via the router and have it configured for real-time backups of files. 



Date: 12/31/23 15:27
Re: Computer Backup
Author: ts1457

furious_toad Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I use
> this https://www.westerndigital.com/products/netw
> ork-attached-storage/wd-my-cloud-pro-series-pr4100
> ?sku=WDBNFA0240KBK-NESN​ it comes in 8, 24 and
> 64tb capacity. I have it connected to my home
> network via the router and have it configured for
> real-time backups of files. 

What happens in a disaster for your house?



Date: 12/31/23 20:24
Re: Computer Backup
Author: furious_toad

ts1457 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> furious_toad Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I use
> >
> this https://www.westerndigital.com/products/netw
>
> >
> ork-attached-storage/wd-my-cloud-pro-series-pr4100
>
> > ?sku=WDBNFA0240KBK-NESN​ it comes in 8, 24
> and
> > 64tb capacity. I have it connected to my home
> > network via the router and have it configured
> for
> > real-time backups of files. 
>
> What happens in a disaster for your house?


The same thing that would happen to your house in a disaster.

Unless you spend the money to backup to the cloud. All data would be lost. Of course an EMP would level the field for every one.

Posted from Android



Date: 12/31/23 20:38
Re: Computer Backup
Author: ts1457

furious_toad Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The same thing that would happen to your house in
> a disaster.
>
> Unless you spend the money to backup to the cloud.
> All data would be lost. Of course an EMP would
> level the field for every one.

I wasn't trying to be a wise guy. Seems like it is best to have several forms of backup with at least one being off site.



Date: 01/01/24 11:27
Re: Computer Backup
Author: JayK

I have been shooting digital since about 2001 and gave up film in 2004 when 6 MP DSLRs came on the scene.

Early on I saved my out of camera "digital negatives" and the processed photos on my internal hard drive and backed up on CDs, migrating to DVDs as the file sizes grew larger. I later migrated to external hard drives for back up.

I currently have all my data on a dedicated internal 5TB SATA drive. My C: drive is for programs only. When I get a new computer I just install my data drive in the new machine.

The 5TB data drive is automatically backed up each night to an external drive. Every week or so that primary backup drive is manually backed up to another external drive air gapped from the computer. When I perform that backup I exchange it with a drive stored off site and update that drive. With this system I have four copies of 99% of my data. Two of which are not connected to the internet and one is off site. This is all managed by a program called Sync Back Pro from 2Bright Sparks.

Another important practice is providing ample data in the file name and a logical filing system for each photo. A photo without information is just a pretty picture and will be of little use to historical societies, or even you when you forget when and where the photo was taken. I used my slide labeling system when I started shooting digital: Date, time, railroad, lead locomotive number, symbol (if known), town, state or province.
Example: 2003-04-14 0850 CP 5838 WB Morant's Curve, Lake Louise, AB. After 20 years It continues to serve me well. Recording the date in this fashion allows you to sort any images that get copied or moved to other folders chronologically, All my railroad photos are in a master folder, there are sub folders for each year, and each year has sub folders for each day or railfan trip.

I'll be interested to see what other photographers are doing to keep their images safe and organized.
 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/01/24 11:31 by JayK.



Date: 01/01/24 11:38
Re: Computer Backup
Author: engineerinvirginia

In home nas (network accessible storage) Apple Time Machine backup software which is baked into MacOs



Date: 01/01/24 19:09
Re: Computer Backup
Author: clem

cchan006 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> E25 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Don't use your everyday Internet-connected
> > computer for your photo collection.  Avoid
> using
> > flash drives for long-term storage as it is
> > thought that they tend to loose data over time
> if
> > not regularly accessed.
>
> Flash-based storage (USB sticks, SD cards, SSD)
> have read/write cycle wear, specifically write
> cycles. I haven't heard of the "loss of data from
> non-use" as a problem with flash-based media.

Flash memory uses static electricity, which can leak over time. (Static electricity can keep balloon stuck to a wall, but not forever.) The usual solution is to rewrite the data periodically. Here's a short piece on NAND decay: https://www.simms.co.uk/tech-talk/nand-flash-leakage-why-you-could-lose-data/.  "If a consumer-grade card is ‘at rest’ and has not been used for a number of years, the card will eventually become corrupt and unreadable."

Another consideration is the number of positions in a cell that an electric charge can occupy. The more positions, the more data can be stored in a drive, but the easier it will be for the charge to move a little bit and change the value it represents. As one might expect for consumer products, "more gigabytes" sells better than "less likely to lose data." Here's a discussion of the different types: 
https://www.kingston.com/en/blog/pc-performance/difference-between-slc-mlc-tlc-3d-nand.



Date: 01/02/24 13:53
Re: Computer Backup
Author: jimB

I use a removable hard drive and a cloud backup both.

The removable drive is easier to use for recovery but would be vulnerable to fire, flood or theft. The cloud costs $$ and can lag depending on your upload speed, but is not vulnerable to the above.

I do have experience in disaster backups during my IT career, where we also used RAID disk configurations, which protect against losing data to a drive failure, but that is a bit pricey for home use. The removable drive can be stored off site when we go on vacations.

Jim B



Date: 01/02/24 14:10
Re: Computer Backup
Author: longliveSP

Having over 20 years in IT as a network administrator, both as an employee and as a consultant, the 3-2-1 rule is the best way, but is also flexible to your circumstances.

3 copies of the data (original and 2 backups) 
2 different media (disk, tape, cloud, etc)
1 off-site location

At home, for my home/consultant workstation, this is what I do:
A) Carbonite cloud backup for all documents and critical files
B) EaseUS ToDo Backup that does a weekly FULL and a daily incremental backup of the entire hard disk to a seperate disk.
C) A daily script that COPIES the EaseUS backup files to a rotating set of external USB hard drives. Every Saturday afternoon, I swap them. One is kept in an electronic media fire-safe.



Date: 01/04/24 10:30
Re: Computer Backup
Author: jimB

>Having over 20 years in IT as a network administrator...

When I was a rookie back in pre-historic times, we were told to either have a current backup or a current resume.

Jim B



Date: 01/22/24 11:24
Re: Computer Backup
Author: dcorreia

I like that style of thinking. You do not know the issues when emails are requested for a pending lawsuit and your email server took a dump and the backup tape was also ruined in the process.



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