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'[EE]: Longterm backup ..was USB power in paralle'
2008\07\07@234009 by Cedric Chang

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So what tis the best long-term backup method ?
paper ?
cc

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> --

2008\07\08@000354 by Harold Hallikainen

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> So what tis the best long-term backup method ?
> paper ?
> cc

I think the best long term backup is multiple external USB drives. If one
dies, you still have the others. It's unlikey they'd all die at once. I
use g4l to to image backups of the whole drive so I can recover from a
disaster. Those are done about once a month. Once a week, I do an rsync to
a drive, which copies whatever has changed. I have a small shell script on
the USB drive. I plug it in to any computer on the network, double click
to start it, and a little while later, all files are synched.

Harold

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2008\07\08@065820 by Alan B. Pearce

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>I think the best long term backup is multiple external USB
>drives. If one dies, you still have the others. It's unlikey
>they'd all die at once.

I wouldn't bet on it. We bought a bunch of USB flash drives for everyone to
have a means of moving files around, one for each employee in the division.
They all died within a very short time of each other. Don't know if it was a
batch or design problem, but they all went inaccessible. I haven't opened
mine up to see if it is a bad joint or anything, but intend to at some
stage.

2008\07\08@090455 by Harold Hallikainen

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>>I think the best long term backup is multiple external USB
>>drives. If one dies, you still have the others. It's unlikey
>>they'd all die at once.
>
> I wouldn't bet on it. We bought a bunch of USB flash drives for everyone
> to
> have a means of moving files around, one for each employee in the
> division.
> They all died within a very short time of each other. Don't know if it was
> a
> batch or design problem, but they all went inaccessible. I haven't opened
> mine up to see if it is a bad joint or anything, but intend to at some
> stage.
>

Sorry I wasn not clear! These are external USB hard drives, not flash drives.

Harold

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2008\07\08@091156 by Peter Todd

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On Mon, Jul 07, 2008 at 09:39:37PM -0600, Cedric Chang wrote:
> So what tis the best long-term backup method ?
> paper ?

Anything that meets three criteria:

1) Digital, so you can copy it indefinetely with no degredation. Note
that this assumes robust error correction and detection.

2) Well used, so people will notice when it craps out.

3) Well distributed and diverse, there should be many copies, in the
hands of many people in many places, stored in many ways.


The ultimate example of something meeting all three would be the
distributed revision control repositories of many open source projects,
especially the larger ons. They all tend to have extremely robust error
detection, given that they usually all work with cryptographic hashes of
the data they encode, they are in use constantly by dozens if not
hundreds of developers, and equally, thoses developers are all over the
world. You do run the risk of a bug in the system corrupting data in the
same way on multiple users however, though at least there are usually
lots of copies in other formats, like simple archives of releases.


I'd argue that the exact opposite of those characteristics is the film
libraries of archived movies kept around the world. Every copy made
degrades due to added dust and what not, but more importantly it's quite
common for their to be only a few, even just one, master copy of a film,
stored in a single vault. Another subtle issue is that unless what few
copies there are are made with different types of film, you can have
them all degrade in the same way in the same time span. Only a couple
of film technologies are color fast.


Of course, the "ideal" set of criteria isn't easy when your data set is
big enough that it's prohibitively expensive to make dozens of copies of
it, or confidential enough. Still for smaller things like source code a
workable solution would be for every employee to keep a full copy of
everything on their laptop and hope someone called in sick when the
office burns down!

- --
http://petertodd.org 'peter'[:-1]@petertodd.org
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2008\07\08@094541 by Alan B. Pearce

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>Of course, the "ideal" set of criteria isn't easy when your data set
>is big enough that it's prohibitively expensive to make dozens of
>copies of it, or confidential enough. Still for smaller things like
>source code a workable solution would be for every employee to keep
>a full copy of everything on their laptop and hope someone called in
>sick when the office burns down!

I still remember a colleague looking for a spare PCB to go service a
customers backup tape drive, very late on a Friday afternoon just before go
home time. It would have been all too easy to leave the job until Monday,
but he went and serviced their machine. Except that very early the next
morning the factory burnt down. Being a paint factory it burnt well. The
backup tapes were retrieved from the firesafe and we had their system up and
running on a machine on our premises by start of business Monday.

I can still see in my mind the picture that Chubb, the firesafe people used
as an advert for their safes - a pile of charred wreckage with badly damaged
disk packs sitting on top.

2008\07\08@125834 by Dr Skip

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Not to be pedantic, but there are decisions to be made at multiple levels. On
the physical level, I think CD/DVD is the poorest for all but passing files to
friends or AV media, where errors are overlooked. The industry is moving
towards using hard disks for backup, and flash drives are too small for
anything but bits and pieces (a modern day floppy).

Then, how will you use the hard disks? One has to prepare for the possibility
that they could fail, AND could fail while making the backup (so just a copy
command isn't good enough). Since failures tend to follow a bathtub curve, burn
in new drives with something like SysInternals sdelete with multiple passes.
It'll keep the drive busy and use the whole platter(s). Go for a few days
continuous.

Then, are you just taking a current snapshot all the time, or are you going to
 look for that accidentally deleted file from 2 months ago? How long do you
want to keep them? Some should be kept off site - weekly or monthly or yearly,
depending on your paranoia. More hard drives... An rsync mirror is a very
different resource than a complete backup from 2 months ago. If you will focus
on pulling old files off and replacing deleted ones, a mirror or an image
backup isn't as useful as a file-by-file backup. Remember windows uses locks
and locks system files for reading too. A full backup that's usable means
taking it offline. Of course, this doesn't include revision control type
methods where every version is saved. The finer points of each define their
usage, but one can engineer a process under combinations to fit one's needs.

I've made a short list of 'core' apps that are very useful in many situations
concerning file backup situations:

Thanks to this list, and after testing, 7-zip seems the most verstile and
useful zipper. Command line is best for zipping, and the portable-apps version
is convenient for getting stuff out. Optional, depending on your methodologies.

ERUNT is a very easy and reliable registry backup program with tools to restore
the registry as well in one click. Can run from command line too. I suggest a
daily reg backup from cron (yes, there's a pc cron) and on boot. That way, if
you mess up the registry, you can restore it. One can pretty much turn off the
system restore bloat this way.

http://corz.org/windows/software/checksum/
Very useful and easy hash generator/checker. One can even create a shortcut,
drop the dir on it, and it will create either a root hash, per folder hash, or
file by file hash. Tested on 100,000 files at a time and worked fine. Same for
a verify shortcut.

http://ice-graphics.com/ICEECC/IndexE.html
This creates ECC files and has convenience settings for CD and DVD. So, if your
hard disk or DVD start to go bad, this will use ECC code to replace the missing
bits. Very handy, useful, and compute intensive.

www.xs4all.nl/~edienske/abakt/index.html
This is a very detailed front end for setting up a zip (as in a whole drive
zip) and is 7-zip aware.

http://www.dfincbackup.com/freeware.htm
This will peel off recently changed files, per an instruction set, and zip them
or whatever you want done with them. Lots of ways this function can be done,
but this is an easy set-and-forget tool if you have other users.

Don't forget encryption. The backups can get physically stolen too, or if
you're in a country where the police like to take PCs, you might encrypt the PC
and not the backup. Not a good choice - the backup could be worse, depending on
what you save... Axcrypt is a good file encryptor, open source, etc., and while
it will do lots of files at once, zipping, then using it, might be good.

For images, Clonezilla is good, and their boot disk with Gparted is invaluable,
but it can have problems if writing the images to an ntfs drive, or ntfs
compression or encryption is on. BartPE is invaluable for a windows pc too. I
can't tell you how many unbootable pcs I've fixed with it. Booting with it will
let you get to all files, since none will be locked. If you run with portable
type apps, it's very easy to include them on the cd or one can run them from
any drive while booted into BartPE, since there are no demands on the registry
with a portable app generally.

One then is left with one's personal goals to sort out and apply these tools
with lots of hard drives. ;)

-Skip



Cedric Chang wrote:
> So what tis the best long-term backup method ?
> paper ?
> cc
>

2008\07\09@084330 by Gerhard Fiedler

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Dr Skip wrote:

> Remember windows uses locks and locks system files for reading too.

>From WinXP on there's the shadow copy service, that allows locked files to
be read and backed up.

Gerhard

2008\07\09@090043 by Dr Skip

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Isn't that only available via system calls and there are no general or command
line apps that make use of it (for the end user)? Just the bigger 'backup'
programs (and I believe ERUNT).

Gerhard Fiedler wrote:
>>From WinXP on there's the shadow copy service, that allows locked files to
> be read and backed up.
>
> Gerhard
>

2008\07\09@152522 by Gerhard Fiedler

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Dr Skip wrote:

>> From WinXP on there's the shadow copy service, that allows locked files
>> to be read and backed up.

> Isn't that only available via system calls and there are no general or
> command line apps that make use of it (for the end user)? Just the
> bigger 'backup' programs (and I believe ERUNT).

Yes, like most of the Windows API it's only available via system calls :)

I don't know what backup programs make use of it. AFAIK the Windows backup
application uses it, and Acronis TrueImage says it does.

Gerhard

2008\07\09@164830 by Dr Skip

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LOL. Something that resembled a command line copy but used VS would be nice and
useful... Given the lack of apps that use it, and not finding any simple ones,
leads me to believe the info on it is either hard to come by or complex.

How hard can a copy command be when you're just gonna pass it to the system
anyway? ;)


Gerhard Fiedler wrote:

> Yes, like most of the Windows API it's only available via system calls :)
>
> I don't know what backup programs make use of it. AFAIK the Windows backup
> application uses it, and Acronis TrueImage says it does.
>
> Gerhard
>

2008\07\09@165627 by Bob Blick

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On Wed, 09 Jul 2008 16:48:14 -0400, "Dr Skip" <.....drskipKILLspamspam@spam@gmail.com> said:
> LOL. Something that resembled a command line copy but used VS would be
> nice and
> useful... Given the lack of apps that use it, and not finding any simple
> ones,
> leads me to believe the info on it is either hard to come by or complex.
>
> How hard can a copy command be when you're just gonna pass it to the
> system
> anyway? ;)

You have to prove you have valid credentials, maybe you are allowed to
"move" not copy, or neither. Remember it's Microsoft :)

Cheerful regards,

Bob

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2008\07\09@174133 by William \Chops\ Westfield

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On Jul 9, 2008, at 5:43 AM, Gerhard Fiedler wrote:

>> From WinXP on there's the shadow copy service, that allows locked  
>> files to
> be read and backed up.

Really?  Our IT-installed fancy-and-expensive backup system is always  
complaining that it can't "complete" a backup because some file is in  
use...

BillW

2008\07\10@072423 by Gerhard Fiedler

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William "Chops" Westfield wrote:

> On Jul 9, 2008, at 5:43 AM, Gerhard Fiedler wrote:
>
>> From WinXP on there's the shadow copy service, that allows locked files
>> to be read and backed up.
>
> Really?  Our IT-installed fancy-and-expensive backup system is always
> complaining that it can't "complete" a backup because some file is in
> use...

Expensive maybe, but not fancy :)

Google for "volume shadow copy service" for more info.

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_Copy>
<http://technet2.microsoft.com/windowsserver/en/library/2b0d2457-b7d8-42c3-b6c9-59c145b7765f1033.mspx?mfr=true>

This free backup "system" doesn't complain about files in use:
<www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/setup/learnmore/bott_03july14.mspx>
:)

Gerhard

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