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'[OT:] Backup Software - Your favorites?'
2004\04\09@232336 by Robert Ussery

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Hi, Folks.



After losing some pretty important data recently, I decided it's finally
time to get some backup/version control software. I googled around a bit,
and found that there're hundreds of options out there. Here are my basic
requirements:



- Periodic backup of selected files and folders, preferably to DVD

- Version control, so that each backup doesn't overwrite earlier backups

- Preferably invisible operation (i.e., I don't want to have to take part in
the process. basically just leave my computer on and let it back itself up
once in a while)

- Free! (I'm just a hobbyist/home user - no need for anything fancy or
enterprise level!)



Do any of you have any suggestions? With the plethora of options, I don't
really know if there are any really standard/prevalent or superior packages
out there. Thanks!



- Robert


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2004\04\10@014329 by Robert L Cochran

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Well you do need to have some sort of involvement in the backup process.
Backing up need not be a painful, all-encompassing effort that
overwhelms you for weeks on end. I do sufficient backups in about 15
minutes for each machine per week. But you still must involve yourself
by thinking through what to backup and then testing your process for
restoring backup files.

I keep all my user documents in a given directory. I also have a sense
of what other directories contain important data. Depending on which
operating system platform I'm using, I do the following:

* archive the important directories to archive files using tar or
WinZip. There is no need to pay for software to do this -- I guess I
could also use Java's jar if I wanted to. The important bit here is that
archive files preserve directory structures and filenames. Notice that I
say archive important directories. Don't waste your time hunting for
specific files to archive with some silly idea of saving space on your
drive or the CD. Instead, just archive entire directories even if they
contain only 1 or 2 files of interest. As a bonus, you will probably
archive files you forgot/didn't think about/didn't realize were important.

* If I'm on a Linux system, create an ISO image of the archive files
using mkisofs. On Windows, just launch Roxio Easy CD Creator software.
You can escape paying for the Roxio product if you download Cygwin,
install it, and install the 'cdrecord' application.

* Write the archive ISO image to a CD.

* Really really important files I should probably put on a disk key --
that is, a USB flash drive, and wear the thing around my neck.

Is my system perfect? Well, I still have some learning to do when on
Linux filesystems. I've gotten smart and tarred up my /home directories.
But usually I forget very important config files in /etc, and end up
kicking myself for it because I test a lot of Fedora Core betas. In fact
I have Fedora Core 2 running on one machine right now and it is looking
great. It has PHP5 RC1, MySQL 4.1.1 and so on all installed and running
on it. But I need to remember to tar up /etc before I overwrite it with
the next beta.

Once you are practiced at backing up your data, it should only take
10-15 minutes once a week or so.

I'm assuming that you only need to think of yourself and one or two
machines at most, and that your needs are pretty basic and simple. If
your responsibilities exceed these, you should do some serious book
reading. The book "Unix Backup & Recovery" by Curtis Preston is required
reading for anyone doing backups on large Unix networks. Be sure to
visit his web site for updates because the book is a bit old now, but
still well worth buying and reading.

I'm not sure if Preston or others authored something equivalent for
Windows machines. Google and amazon are your friends.

Bob Cochran


Robert Ussery wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2004\04\10@015820 by Bob Blick

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rsync?

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2004\04\10@092856 by Dennis Crawley

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----- Original Message -----
From: "Bob Blick"
Sent: Saturday, April 10, 2004 3:04 AM
Subject: Re: [OT:] Backup Software - Your favorites?
> rsync?

1.- Buy the same HDD.
2.- Install it removable.
3.- Download Total Commander (~35U$)
4.- Use Synchronize Directories Module

Synchronize after a week or so.
Synchronize after a mayor (and well done) soft installation.
Save important and frequently modified data on a CD-RW.
Don't leave connected the removable HDD during a normal session.
Put the HDD in a save(*) and dry place
(*) Mechanically and electrically
The restoring process is a simple plug on!

Try Taskzip. But I don't like background processes. I do prefer leave a
unique task and go to read something... or use my wife's computer. :)

Dennis Crawley

PS: Backup processes are about strict discipline. That's all!

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2004\04\10@095551 by Gerhard Fiedler

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> Here are my basic requirements:
>
> - Periodic backup of selected files and folders, preferably to DVD
>
> - Version control, so that each backup doesn't overwrite earlier backups
>
> - Preferably invisible operation (i.e., I don't want to have to take part in
> the process. basically just leave my computer on and let it back itself up
> once in a while)
>
> - Free! (I'm just a hobbyist/home user - no need for anything fancy or
> enterprise level!)

You need to add at least the OS to the list of requirements :)

With Win2k/XP, the backup utility that comes with it works ok. I keep an
almost automated up-to-date backup of the whole system on a separate drive.

Whether to use classic backup media like tape or DVD or a separate drive
depends on what you want from your backup. My objective is to have a
safeguard against data loss. For that, I don't need to keep backups from
last year around -- it's more important to have them fresh from the last
day. And this is better done with a hard disk -- a lot faster, no media to
shuffle etc. (And besides, with the prices of 80GB and up disks, HDs are
not much more expensive as _media_ than many other options.)

I recycle this once a week, so that I always have two weeks of backup.
Never had a case where I had to go back further. But of course, I keep old
projects and the like in a separate storage, but wouldn't refer to this as
"backup" -- that's more an "archive".

ge

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2004\04\10@115233 by John J. McDonough

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----- Original Message -----
From: "Gerhard Fiedler" <@spam@listsKILLspamspamCONNECTIONBRAZIL.COM>
Subject: Re: [OT:] Backup Software - Your favorites?


> You need to add at least the OS to the list of requirements :)

You got that right!

For WinXP I use Norton Ghost ... neither automatic nor free, but I have
spent enough time recovering from crashed Windoze systems to know that a
partial backup just doesn't cut it.  Yes, it can save you from loosing data,
but rebuilding a Windoze system can take weeks.  I write the Ghost savesets
to a DVD because XP is fat enough that CD's are a pain.  I do copy active
projects off to a file share using Briefcase any time I do significant work,
so the full backup is only about once a month.

For Linux, I simply tar the directories into savesets of CD size and write
them to another partition.  A little later I write them to CD.  Linux is
slim enough that CDs are feasible, even though I use one of my Linux systems
as a file server for the Windoze systems.

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2004\04\10@123709 by Herbert Graf

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> For Linux, I simply tar the directories into savesets of CD size and write
> them to another partition.  A little later I write them to CD.  Linux is
> slim enough that CDs are feasible, even though I use one of my
> Linux systems
> as a file server for the Windoze systems.

       I used to do the same with Linux, however these days the data I need to
back up makes CDs a real pain (around 3-4GB), so I've switched to DVDRAM. An
excellent format, it's like having a 4.3GB floppy drive! TTYL

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2004\04\10@141233 by Spehro Pefhany

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At 12:36 PM 4/10/2004 -0400, you wrote:
> > For Linux, I simply tar the directories into savesets of CD size and write
> > them to another partition.  A little later I write them to CD.  Linux is
> > slim enough that CDs are feasible, even though I use one of my
> > Linux systems
> > as a file server for the Windoze systems.
>
>         I used to do the same with Linux, however these days the data I
> need to
>back up makes CDs a real pain (around 3-4GB), so I've switched to DVDRAM. An
>excellent format, it's like having a 4.3GB floppy drive! TTYL

Extra HDD + copy data files to DVD-ROM regularly & archive off site.

Best regards,

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2004\04\10@144137 by Herbert Graf

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> At 12:36 PM 4/10/2004 -0400, you wrote:
> > > For Linux, I simply tar the directories into savesets of CD
> size and write
> > > them to another partition.  A little later I write them to
> CD.  Linux is
> > > slim enough that CDs are feasible, even though I use one of my
> > > Linux systems
> > > as a file server for the Windoze systems.
> >
> >         I used to do the same with Linux, however these days the data I
> > need to
> >back up makes CDs a real pain (around 3-4GB), so I've switched
> to DVDRAM. An
> >excellent format, it's like having a 4.3GB floppy drive! TTYL
>
> Extra HDD + copy data files to DVD-ROM regularly & archive off site.

       Well I do something similar. The last three backups are stored on a hard
drive in another machine.

       The last backup is burned to DVD-RW.

       The current backup is written to DVD-RAM.

       Every once in a while I burn a backup to DVD-R and take it offsite.

       It's not 100% coverage, but it has served me well so far! I've survived two
HD crashes using this method. TTYL

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2004\04\10@150911 by Robert Ussery

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Yep, I'm running WinXP... No need for a backup on my Linux box.
Does the WinXP backup utility support writing to DVD? Where can I find this?
I'm running WinXP Home Edition, and I can't find it on the Accessories menu
anywhere.

Thanks!!

- Robert

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2004\04\10@152155 by Dave L

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part 1 2115 bytes content-type:text/plain; x-avg-checked=avg-ok-1C1E56; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed (unknown type 8bit not decoded)

Once a month or so I GHOST the whole partition onto a separate drive.
This separate clone drive is temporarily connected via a separate Promise
IDE card for IDE hardware redundancy.
The Promise card stays plugged in  and I take away the second drive
In case of crash just swap drives and I'm back in business.
CD image of basic OS and key apps plus critical files as a second line of
defense.

At 11:50 AM 4/10/04 -0400, John J. McDonough wrote:

>{Original Message removed}
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2004\04\10@152610 by Harold Hallikainen

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On Windoze machines, I'm running BackUpTime, a low cost utility where you
can schedule copies. I think it will also create a zip copy, though I just
duplicate the whole hard drive as a backup. This is done weekly to a 120
gig USB hard drive. Once a month the drive is swapped with another and
Norton Ghost creates a drive image.

On Linux, I have a cron job that creates a gzipped tar file of each
directory from root (ie, /home, /var, /etc ...). These then go through
Samba to the USB hard drive on the Windoze machine described above. The
cron job also does the backup once a week.

Norton Ghost will also create an image of a Linux file system, but I have
not done that since I'd have to take the machine off line for several
hours. I'd like to have some sort of "bare metal" backup of it, though.

I am looking at doing a USB hard drive RAID array on the linux machine.
That way, the "box" would have only a motherboard and a power supply in
it. Should it fail, it'd be real quick to swap out. The RAID array would
not lose any data on the loss of one drive. I plan on messing around with
this idea this summer when I'll supposedly have more time (no teaching at
night...).

Harold

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2004\04\10@153027 by Anthony Toft

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> Extra HDD + copy data files to DVD-ROM regularly & archive off site.

On the XP box all "My Documents" are pointed to the file server, means
that 90% of all files are on the fileserver. The fileserver, router,
mailserver and my other desktop are backed up via "AMANDA" to tape.
Every night.

Configuration management and project files get stuffed into CVS hosted
on the fileserver, makes backing out changes easy.
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2004\04\10@164117 by Jason S

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Most motherboards these days have a version with an integrated Promise Raid
IDE controller for about $10 more, or PCI card with the controller is about
$30.

If you're going with 2 hard drives anyway, get the RAID controller; it's
even cheaper than Total Commander.  Configure the 2 drives for Raid 1
(mirroring).  The 2 drives will be bitwise duplicated of each other (done in
hardware, so there is no system overhead like a software solution).  The
Raid controller can also read from both drives concurrently since they're
identical on a bit level anyway, so your read rate will double.  If one
drive fails, you still have a perfect copy on the other.

{Original Message removed}

2004\04\10@171655 by Robert L Cochran

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I've done this in the past and it works great on Gigabyte motherboards
that have the feature -- Gigabyte boards offer you either full Promise
20276 RAID-1 or ATA emulation, whichever you prefer, from the extra RAID
or ATA connectors. (Asus boards only give you the 'Lite' version of the
Promise RAID controller, so you can't use the connectors for non-RAIDed
or ATA drives.)

My approach was to use the extra connectors for their ATA functionality,
then I set up software RAID using Linux. I'd plug one drive into the
primary master IDE connector and the second drive in the green RAID/ATA
connector. Then installed Linux using the software RAID option. This
worked great, I got my money's worth, but it bothered me having an extra
120 GB disk mirroring the first disk when I could put it in another
machine and install a Fedora Core bets on it instead...so that is what I
did.

Bob Cochran


Jason S wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> {Original Message removed}

2004\04\10@172731 by Robert Rolf

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And if you have a software glitch, you have two
identically trashed hard drives. Been there, been burned.

A "BACKUP" is just that. You make a copy and then you
tuck it away somewhere safe using removable media (HD case)
or a separate computer and network mount the drive for use
only when backup is being done. At least you then have
something from which you CAN backup.

Any disk trashing virus will just toast your
hard drives faster if you have raid.

What you should consider today is a removable SATA or
USB2 or Firewire drive since the newer controllers
support hot swap,
so you can mount and remove the drive without rebooting.

It is also a question of how valuable your data may be.
If your house/office burns it is likely that the
hard drives will not work too well for recovery.
A removable dive (or two) that you rotate back and
forth between two safe locations is the only really
GOOD backup. And with big drives being as cheap as
they are, there is no reason not to have a few (like
I do).

Robert

Jason S wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> {Original Message removed}

2004\04\10@175504 by Harold Hallikainen

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I agree about RAID making perfect copies of trashed disks. Since Windoze
crashes a lot more than hard drives, what we need is redundancy for the OS
instead of the hard drives (or run linux). Here at work, we have a pair of
drives mirrored through hardware RAID, and Windoze has messed them both up
nicely several times. I've been able to get back to where I was from the
USB hard drive backup (images from Norton Ghost). For off site storage, I
haul the extra backup drive from work to home and the backup from home to
work. Both then have off site backup.



Harold


{Quote hidden}

>> {Original Message removed}

2004\04\10@182653 by PicDude

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Similar to what I do.  I don't back up the applications, but only my personal and data files from many different directories using a custom script that tar's and copies the files to another HDD, which is now on another machine.

I also mount my Windows directory onto a Linux machine and have the Linux script copy the files to a third machine (the backup machine & file-server).

Cheers,
-Neil.


On Saturday 10 April 2004 01:21 pm, Spehro Pefhany scribbled:
> >         I used to do the same with Linux, however these days the data I
> > need to
> >back up makes CDs a real pain (around 3-4GB), so I've switched to DVDRAM.
> > An excellent format, it's like having a 4.3GB floppy drive! TTYL
>
> Extra HDD + copy data files to DVD-ROM regularly & archive off site.

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2004\04\10@194652 by Richard

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More to the point. Human error is usually more of a problem than either
windows or the hardware failing.

people deleting things by mistake or just wanting older versions of files
they just messed up.

Another issue for me at work is, we use pro-desktop 3d cad which is VERY
prone to bugs and several times now we have upgraded to new versions of the
software only to find its more buggy than the original, but the real killer
is
that the software wont be backwardly compatible....





{Original Message removed}

2004\04\10@222143 by William Chops Westfield

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On Saturday, Apr 10, 2004, at 13:44 US/Pacific, Jason S wrote:

> If you're going with 2 hard drives anyway, get the RAID controller;
> it's even cheaper than Total Commander.  Configure the 2 drives for
> Raid 1 (mirroring).

Of course, this does little to protect your data from whole-computer
catastrophies like fire, flood, theft, nasty viruses or runaway
software, 2-year-olds, etc...  A drive identical to the one you have
your data on can hold SEVERAL backups in a non-raid configuration
(external, IDE bay, some other system...)

Raid gives you (in theory, anyway) the ability to recover more quickly,
but I don't think I believe that anything short of the multi-drive (5?)
redundant error correcting version is really very helpful.  More often,
it just doubles your chances of something going wrong (2 drives...)

BillW

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2004\04\10@223839 by Jake Anderson

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it halves the odds as a rule
baring software problems

in your ide raid setup if one hdd dies (generally) the computer will
shutdown anyway or freze or some such so anyway all you have to do is pull
the drive and restart and its running again. no data loss just a bit of
time. you can also rebuild the array pretty quick. if you get a high end ide
raid card you can do all that while online, no data loss, no down time (bit
of a performance hit while rebuilding the array) persionally i think the 3
drive raid (2 drives + parity) gives you the best
performance/reliability/cost ratio.

at home we have 3 computers, 2 desktops and a router, important stuff that
is messed with all the time is backed up via network onto the router at
shutdown (IE every night) with straight xcopy. less often messed around with
stuff is done via removeablle hdd

archiving is done with compression onto 2 identical cd-r's (we have
bucketloads of csv files (think tens of GB) which with winrar we get
something daft like 99% compression) which are then taken offsite.

I don't bother backing up the OS it only takes a few hours to do a reinstall
and get everything up to date.

{Original Message removed}

2004\04\10@224708 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
It seems to me there are at least two aspects to backup:

1) Preserve important and/or irreplacable user data.
2) Allow quick return to work in the event of computer damage.

The methods for backup are somewhat different, unfortunately.  Here are
some things I've found useful:

A) Partition your disks/data.  On C drive, I tend to keep only "system"
files and data.  Windows, web browsers, utilities, etc.  Even with
modern operating systems, this is usually not very much (5-10G?)  It
can be backed up relatively unfrequently, since it's main purpose is to
get back the system quickly in the event of failure.  It doesn't matter
if you didn't get quite everything; you can get whatever is missing
again from your original source.  I use norton ghost, and back things
up to a separate drive (sometimes external, but also internally...)

On the USER drive, I keep non-system "Work" software (Eagle, MPLAB, AVR
Studio, etc, etc), and all the user data that I generate (including the
"My Documents" folder.)  You can separate the data and utilities, but I
don't.  I'm less happy with my backup procedures for this area.
Versioning becomes more important, and I'm not sure how to do it
cleanly.  Individual directories I copy periodically to other media
(USB drive, CDROM, etc), and the whole drive gets ghosted again.

A third partition holds all the crap.  Games, downloads, all the stuff
I probably don't need at all and can get off the net again if I really
want to anyway.  On my systems, this is by far the largest partition.
(no comments, please! :-)

If you have more than one computer, back them up to each other, or just
duplicate individual files.  I don't know how many places I have my
email archives (dating back to the 80s.)  I hope they match :-)  Note
that most user data you'll generate is REALLY tiny compared to the size
of modern disk drives (expcetion: pictures and video.  Sigh.  I'm still
not sure what to do with them.  Hey Russell?  How do you back up your
umpty-thousand multi-megabyte pictures?  Are there utilities
specifically aimed at this sort of backup?  I mean, things rapidly grow
too big to manage on an individual CD, but then content doesn't
actually CHANGE, either...  I guess it's a problem that around here CDs
tend to be less reliable than hard drives :-( )

Windows makes it tough, though.  Applications are forever putting
SOMETHING they need off in the windows directory, even if you install
them on a separate partition.  Many applications don't default to
saving per-user data in the My Documents area (or indeed, in any user
specific
area.)  Applications that deal with a path for "semi-private" data
(like the parts libraries for Eagle) are even rarer.  Sigh.  You'd
think there would be an application that you could run before and after
a major installation effort that would backup everything that was added
or changed, whereever it happened to be.   Or perhaps separately for
each disk.  (ok, I did an install.  Back up everything that changed on
the C drive only...)  (I think Norton has something that claims to do
this, but by efforts to get it to work on something like the
8-install/10disk full "Sims" installation were unfruitful (ok, maybe I
should have read the manual.)

BillW

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2004\04\10@233804 by Harold Hallikainen

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> Windows makes it tough, though.  Applications are forever putting
> SOMETHING they need off in the windows directory, even if you install
> them on a separate partition.


    This is a major problem I have with Windows. Applications spew files
all over the hard drive so you can't just back up the application
directory and get it running again if something dies. Last week
Norton Anti-Virus stopped running. I'd double click on it and nothing
would come up. Symantec knowledge base says, "uninstall it and
install it again." Tried that. Didn't work. Knowlege base then tells
us to edit the registry (why didn't uninstall do that?), then wander
all around the hard drive deleting this file and that (again, why
didn't uninstall do that?). I FINALLY got it working after a day's
work, though the live update still doesn't work. The little dealy is
flashing that an update is available. Double click on it and nothing
happens...  Pretty neat!

Harold


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2004\04\11@070346 by Gerhard Fiedler

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> Yep, I'm running WinXP... No need for a backup on my Linux box.
> Does the WinXP backup utility support writing to DVD? Where can I find this?
> I'm running WinXP Home Edition, and I can't find it on the Accessories menu
> anywhere.

I don't know whether it supports writing to DVD. If you have a driver for
your DVD that makes it look like a normal drive (there are those for CDs at
least, so there could be some for DVDs also), it will support it.

Do a search for ntbackup.exe somewhere in or below the Windows main
directory. If it doesn't have a scheduling option through the GUI, it can
be scheduled manually (it actually does have many command line options).

NetMeeting (conf.exe) is another nice app that's not on the menus but
usually part of the system. It is worth spending an hour or so discovering
the many command line tools in the Windows and the Windows\system32
directories, if you haven't done so yet. (Most of them don't appear on a
menu anywhere :)

ge

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2004\04\11@120416 by Robert Rolf

picon face
Gerhard Fiedler wrote:
but
> usually part of the system. It is worth spending an hour or so discovering
> the many command line tools in the Windows and the Windows\system32
> directories, if you haven't done so yet. (Most of them don't

Ahhh, you must mean the ever so valuable "format c:\/u"
for when Winblows breaks yet again.

"On a clear disk you can seek forever" or install Linux <G>.

R

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2004\04\11@171010 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
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> > ... No need for a backup on my Linux box.

I HOPE that that either is a joke or means that you have nothing of value on
your Linux box. Linux may break less but all computers will certainly break
sooner or later. And even a Linux computer can break sooner.

When you rely on a reliable systems reliability, you become far more exposed
to damaging loss of data than on a  less reliable system where you back up
regularly..


       RM

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2004\04\11@192758 by Mike Harrison

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The one most important thing for absolutely any backup system - it MUST be easy and hassle-free to
do. If it isn't, you won't bother doing it as often as you should.
That's why I like high capacity tape (i.e all the data on one piece of media) - just kick it off at
the end of the day, or before lunch, and it's done by the time you next want to use the PC.
Don't bother with incrementals - way too much hassle (see start of this message...!). Back up
everything, every time.
From my experience, the vast majority of times I've needed to access backed up data it's when I've
accidentally overwritten a file and need to look at the old version. It therefore helps to have a
few older versions available - a second HD is a tempting option but doesn't give you the 'several
versions' option unless you get in the habit of keeping multiple rotating folders.
Tape is relatively cheap, so you can happily have a dozen earlier versions.
Keep (at least some) tapes off-site - even if it's just another room. Remember that fire, theft etc
is probably as likely as HD failure, if not more.
On a similar subject, here's a suggestion for a really useful thing somebody needs to write, if they
haven't already : A utility which intercepts any file overwrite or delete operation in specified directories, and
stashes away a copy of the old version (EVERY old version) in an archive, which can then be
periodically burned to a CD. There are many times when I've wished I had every previous version of a file....

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2004\04\11@195945 by Anthony Toft

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> On a similar subject, here's a suggestion for a really useful thing somebody needs to write, if they
> haven't already :
> A utility which intercepts any file overwrite or delete operation in specified directories, and
> stashes away a copy of the old version (EVERY old version) in an archive, which can then be
> periodically burned to a CD.
> There are many times when I've wished I had every previous version of a file....

Digital's VAX VMS filesystem did this, you had ';x' on the end of each
filename (as in myprog.asm;23), denoting the version number, every time
you modified the file the filesystem incremented the number, be default
you accessed the highest version, or you could explicitly refer to a
particular version. There was a command (purge I think it was called)
that deleted all but the last 1 or 2 for you, you wouldn't believe how
quick you filled the disk up!

The ability to roll back changes is one of the things version control
offers, it is indispensable.

--
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2004\04\11@204621 by David Koski

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On Mon, 12 Apr 2004 00:29:11 +0100
Mike Harrison <EraseMEmikespamEraseMEWHITEWING.CO.UK> wrote:

> The one most important thing for absolutely any backup system - it MUST be easy and hassle-free to
> do. If it isn't, you won't bother doing it as often as you should.
>
> That's why I like high capacity tape (i.e all the data on one piece of media) - just kick it off at
> the end of the day, or before lunch, and it's done by the time you next want to use the PC.
> Don't bother with incrementals - way too much hassle (see start of this message...!). Back up
> everything, every time.

I absolutely agree. But the original post had a requirement to be free.

> From my experience, the vast majority of times I've needed to access backed up data it's when I've
> accidentally overwritten a file and need to look at the old version.

That is why I use cvs.

<snip>

david

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2004\04\11@205621 by Jesse Lackey

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My 2c, this is what I do...
1. mount a harddisk on an old win2k system to my linux laptop (main dev
system) via samba.
2. make compressed tarball over network to that machine:
tar czvf /mnt/whatever/backup/backupdate_dev.tar.gz dev/
3. repeat for email, misc documents, etc. in 4 separate tarballs.  I
*dont* back up anything linux related or re-installable.  if calamity
occurs I'll be reinstalling everything anyway.  This is for 'rm -rf'
typos or harddisk crashes.

takes awhile but everything gets written to a different harddisk.  I
have to do this b/c the laptop is aging and I'm outta disk space, can't
create the tarballs locally.

burn CD occastionally, delete backups occasionally (I keep the last 5).

I do this before taking laptop on a trip, after a significant milestone
reached, every 2-3 weeks, or when somebody tells me horror dataloss
story and I start to feel nervous.

Someday I want most of this to be done via CVS, having changelogs of
source is handy and I miss it.  So why not just use CVS for most
everything?  But that may not be practical, not sure, TBD.

I've survived zero harddisk crashes with this method.  Keeping fingers
crossed that the 'insurance' is never actually needed.

Best,
J

[jlackey ATsign celestialaudio period com]

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2004\04\11@222833 by PicDude

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On Sunday 11 April 2004 06:29 pm, Mike Harrison scribbled:
>
> On a similar subject, here's a suggestion for a really useful thing
> somebody needs to write, if they haven't already :
> A utility which intercepts any file overwrite or delete operation in
> specified directories, and stashes away a copy of the old version (EVERY
> old version) in an archive, which can then be periodically burned to a CD.
> There are many times when I've wished I had every previous version of a
> file....

You can do this with Linux pretty easily ... wrap your "edit" or "vi" command with a script that makes a copy first, then deletes the copy if the new version of the file is identical to the previous copy.

Cheers,
-Neil.

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2004\04\11@232410 by Robert Ussery

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Means I have nothing of value on my Linux Box... I still haven't been able
to get the modem working (it's a laptop with a proprietary modem), so I find
it's generally unproductive to attempt getting any real work done on it. I'm
considering plopping another HD in my desktop (I have an additional internal
IDE slot) and making it a dual-boot machine.
In the meantime, my Linux box remains my game machine (whoda thunk KRUD
(RedHat distro) comes with >50 games!!).

TTYL, and thanks for the help!

- Robert

>{Original Message removed}

2004\04\11@233900 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
On Sunday, Apr 11, 2004, at 16:59 US/Pacific, Anthony Toft wrote:
>>
>> A utility which intercepts any file overwrite or delete operation in
>> specified directories, and stashes away a copy of the old version
>> (EVERY old version)

> Digital's VAX VMS filesystem did this, you had ';x' on the end of each
> filename (as in myprog.asm;23), denoting the version number, every time
> you modified the file the filesystem incremented the number, be default
> you accessed the highest version, or you could explicitly refer to a
> particular version.

Yeah.  A blatant ripoff of tops20 and tenex, which predated VMS by many
years.  One of the few things even the vax people seemed to feel was
important enough to propagate to their new hardware...

The really annoying thing about microcomputer filesystems and backups
was how little was learned (or even noticed) from the old mainframe
days.  For instance, tops20 also have an offline archive feature.  If a
file was not accessed for "a while", it would get moved onto tape (as
part of the backup procedures, I think.)  But the directory info got
left behind, and if you tried to access an offline file, it would pop
up a message on the operator console "please mount tape 12 of archive
set X", and it would go and GET the file contents for you.  One of the
things I worked on in the old days was a modification to this that
allowed the retrieve and archive to happen via FTP (to a unix system
that had cheaper disks), which was of course much faster than waiting
for the operator to mount a tape.

I'm not sure how well that would all scale, of course.  In those days,
you were talking about 2 to 3 G of disk space, shared by 1000 users 100
at a time, and a full backup set was about 15 tapes and took something
like 10 to 12 hours to write (and as long to restore...)

BillW

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2004\04\12@011418 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
On Sunday, Apr 11, 2004, at 20:37 US/Pacific, William Chops Westfield wrote:

>>>
>>> A utility which intercepts any file overwrite or delete operation in
>>> specified directories, and stashes away a copy of the old version
>>> (EVERY old version)
>
>
oh yeah.  I had a point, other than ranting about old OSes.

Aladdin systems (http://www.aladdinsys.com) has something that seems to be like this:

FlashBack™ - Add unlimited undos to your favorite software.

FlashBack allows you to recreate any document just as it was when it was saved. Every time you save a FlashBack-protected file, you create a permanent record that you can go back to any time you want. Now your ability to "undo" changes is limited only by how often you save! Save as often as you like without falling victim to "saver's remorse!"

I haven't used it.  I think someone on Piclist mentioned it back during one of the source code control discussions...

BillW

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2004\04\12@083428 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
>> On a similar subject, here's a suggestion for a really useful thing
>> somebody needs to write, if they haven't already :
>> A utility which intercepts any file overwrite or delete operation in
>> specified directories, and stashes away a copy of the old version (EVERY
>> old version) in an archive, which can then be periodically burned to a CD.
>> There are many times when I've wished I had every previous version of a
>> file....
>
> You can do this with Linux pretty easily ... wrap your "edit" or "vi" command
> with a script that makes a copy first, then deletes the copy if the new
> version of the file is identical to the previous copy.

You can do _that_ just as easily on pretty any current desktop system. But
it only protects changes through those commands. Therefore, to be really
useful, you'd need something that hooks into the file system call.

Gerhard

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2004\04\12@085756 by cisco J. A. Ares

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what about a "CVS" or "Subversion" system?

Francisco


Gerhard Fiedler wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2004\04\12@145607 by Brooke Clarke

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Hi Mike:

I just got a new computer that's running XP.  I think the problems with
my prior computer were mother board related, not hard drive related.

My new C: drive is in a Mobile Rack, as is the D: drive.
Norton Ghost can clone the entire C: drive to the D: drive as a backup.
With System Works >= 2003 this can be scheduled as a Windows task.
On my prior computer I made the mistake of only using 2 drives C and D,
but one time I cloned a defective C: drive to the D: drive, not good.
Now I will clone C: (holding D1) to D: (holding D2).  Then move D2 into
the C: slot and use it as my main drive.  That way I'll know immediately
if there was a problem with the clone or C: drive.  Move D3 into the D:
slot and store D1 somewhere else.

At the next backup rotate the drives.

Another way that a friend uses is RAID.  My mother board supports RAID
and it's a good solution for protection against hard drive failure, but
offers no protection for mother board failure or virus caused disk problems.

The software you are asking for is called "Go Back" and works for all
files on your computer.  It's part of Symantec's Norton System Works.
I haven't yet turned it on so cant' tell you for sure.

Have Fun,

Brooke Clarke, N6GCE
http://www.PRC68.com

Date:    Mon, 12 Apr 2004 00:29:11 +0100
From:    Mike Harrison <spamBeGonemikespamKILLspamWHITEWING.CO.UK>
Subject: Re: [OT:] Backup Software - Your favorites?

The one most important thing for absolutely any backup system - it MUST =
be easy and hassle-free to
do. If it isn't, you won't bother doing it as often as you should.=20

That's why I like high capacity tape (i.e all the data on one piece of =
media) - just kick it off at
the end of the day, or before lunch, and it's done by the time you next =
want to use the PC.
Don't bother with incrementals - way too much hassle (see start of this =
message...!). Back up
everything, every time.=20

=46rom my experience, the vast majority of times I've needed to access =
backed up data it's when I've
accidentally overwritten a file and need to look at the old version. It =
therefore helps to have a
few older versions available - a second HD is a tempting option but =
doesn't give you the 'several
versions' option unless you get in the habit of keeping multiple rotating=
folders.
Tape is relatively cheap, so you can happily have a dozen earlier =
versions.=20

Keep (at least some) tapes off-site - even if it's just another room. =
Remember that fire, theft etc
is probably as likely as HD failure, if not more.=20

On a similar subject, here's a suggestion for a really useful thing =
somebody needs to write, if they
haven't already :=20
A utility which intercepts any file overwrite or delete operation in =
specified directories, and
stashes away a copy of the old version (EVERY old version) in an archive,=
which can then be
periodically burned to a CD.=20
There are many times when I've wished I had every previous version of a =
file....
=20

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2004\04\13@063737 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
> what about a "CVS" or "Subversion" system?

I think there are a number of different objectives for what often is called
"backup" which are to be solved efficiently by different tools, usually.

1- quick and complete system restore (often to a different disk or
partition) in case of disk failure (RAID is probably the most user-friendly
for this one)

2- quick and complete system restore in case of a bigger thing like a fire
in the office (needs off-site storage of the above, therefore some media --
which could be one disk of a RAID array that gets exchanged once a day)

3- quick and complete system restore in case of user or system error
(usually to the same disk or partition, just going back in time a bit --
RAID wouldn't help here, this needs an actual backup and therefore a method
for rotating the media, or unlimited budget)

4- archiving of files that are not needed frequently (doesn't usually have
to be quick, as it supposedly is not a frequent thing, and can even be
spread over different media -- which shouldn't be the case with the methods
above --, as long as they are properly catalogued)

5- version control of files with which people work (that's the cvs thing --
very useful, but not quite a possibility for the whole system -- and the
version control repository itself needs backup through the former methods)

Having all that integrated in a file system doesn't seem to be impossible
with today's hardware capabilities and prices. From what the mainframe
people say, something like that has already been done.

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2004\04\13@064814 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
{Quote hidden}

I second that. A RAID array using mirrors is only a keep you going
arrangement if you have a physical failure of a hard drive.

A backup is a must for important data. Kept offsite in case of burglary or
fire or flood or plague or tempest or ....

Having been a computer engineer when a customer had a fire in their plant
(it was a paint factory, there wasn't much left) and seen the results when
smoke from a failed air-conditioning went through a machine (water and smoke
dust are highly corrosive) and had customers back running again from
backups, you never want to go through it yourself. Keep the backup in some
sort of vandal and fireproof safe, preferably off the premises as a "belt
and braces" recovery system.

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2004\04\13@112654 by Ed Browne

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Do a Google on Docushield.  Some friends of mine have designed this backup
system for lawyers and doctors for HIPAA, etc., which requires better
management of patient data.  I've told them they are missing their market -
I'm the market they should be after!  A couple of hard drive crashes and I'm
a believer.  They've been letting me connect to their corporate Docushield,
where I save my files to CVS.  It's then mirrored to another Docushield
off-site.  CVS is mirrored on my local machine as well so I don't have to be
connected to get my data.

The Docushield system has a patented backup system which will allow it to be
unplugged in the middle of a data write, then picks where it left off when
power is reconnected.  It has a local LAN, a secure Internet connection for
the mirroring, and uses an electronic key carried on the owner's key ring to
completely lock the system.  The data is encrypted on one hard drive, then
periodically encrypted and compressed onto a second drive.  It's smaller
than most notebooks and uses a web browser as the user interface.  Sweet...

Ed Browne
Precision Electronic Solutions

{Original Message removed}

2004\04\13@135039 by Peter L. Peres

picon face
>> On a similar subject, here's a suggestion for a really useful thing
>> somebody needs to write, if they haven't already : A utility which
>> intercepts any file overwrite or delete operation in specified
>> directories, and stashes away a copy of the old version (EVERY old
>> version) in an archive, which can then be periodically burned to a CD.
>> There are many times when I've wished I had every previous version of a
>> file....

Get, and run openvms ... ;-) Otherwise on a reasonably set up
linux/openbsd etc system the system setup and binary directories are not
writable by default for normal users, so you have to try hard to clobber
something (but if you try hard enough, you will succeed). The normal
method to keep track of changes, barring a tool, is ls -lR >ls-lR.txt. If
you suspect changes run the command again and diff the two results. diff
will tell you what changed. There are much more elaborate tools for that.

Peter

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2004\04\30@205213 by Howard Winter

face
flavicon
picon face
Robert,

My all-time favourite backup software is sadly no longer
around.  It was called Palindrome, and it ran on (at
least) Novell Netware servers.  It did all its own tape
management and always knew where the latest version of a
file was, as well as all of the previous versions.  It
told you which tape(s) to load each day, and if you
didn't, it coped and revised its strategy accordingly.
If you wanted a particular file restored, it would offer
you the various versions of it, and tell you which tapes
they were on, and restore from any one which had the
version of the file you wanted.  It was a truly
excellent piece of software, and I rarely say that!

It fitted all of your requirements and vastly more,
except for being free!  I believe the firm was taken
over by Seagate Software, who pretty-much killed it off.
Tragic!  I've never seen anything else that came close
in all the years (at least 12) since I first saw it.

Cheers,

Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


On Fri, 9 Apr 2004 21:23:15 -0600, Robert Ussery wrote:

> Hi, Folks.
>
> After losing some pretty important data recently, I
decided it's finally
> time to get some backup/version control software. I
googled around a bit,
> and found that there're hundreds of options out there.
Here are my basic
> requirements:
>
>
>
> - Periodic backup of selected files and folders,
preferably to DVD
>
> - Version control, so that each backup doesn't
overwrite earlier backups
>
> - Preferably invisible operation (i.e., I don't want
to have to take part in
> the process. basically just leave my computer on and
let it back itself up
> once in a while)
>
> - Free! (I'm just a hobbyist/home user - no need for
anything fancy or
> enterprise level!)
>
>
>
> Do any of you have any suggestions? With the plethora
of options, I don't
> really know if there are any really standard/prevalent
or superior packages
> out there. Thanks!
>
>
>
> - Robert
>
>
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'[OT:] Backup Software - Your favorites?'
2004\05\07@203756 by Michael O'Donnell
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A little late, but there is a system out there that does a pretty good job of backing up over a network... it is called reByte (http://www.rebyte.com)... basically, it is a compact flash drive with linux on it that plugs in as first HDD on an old computer.  Fill the other 3 IDE channels with HDD (they must be identical) and it will set them up as RAID... it has a utility to come in over the network to backup files you specify.

The system is buggy, no doubt about it, and there are plenty of security issues to think about since you have to share all of your folders... on the other hand, it works pretty well.  I use it as the recipient for my files from Windows backup utility.  No affiliation with them, and anyone who knows what they are doing with Linux can probably set up something similar for a lot less money, but I had a system up and running before the anger had died down from losing files in a HDD crash!

cheers,
mike


Jesse Lackey <TakeThisOuTjsl-mlKILLspamspamspamCELESTIALAUDIO.COM> wrote:My 2c, this is what I do...
1. mount a harddisk on an old win2k system to my linux laptop (main dev
system) via samba.
2. make compressed tarball over network to that machine:
tar czvf /mnt/whatever/backup/backupdate_dev.tar.gz dev/
3. repeat for email, misc documents, etc. in 4 separate tarballs. I
*dont* back up anything linux related or re-installable. if calamity
occurs I'll be reinstalling everything anyway. This is for 'rm -rf'
typos or harddisk crashes.

takes awhile but everything gets written to a different harddisk. I
have to do this b/c the laptop is aging and I'm outta disk space, can't
create the tarballs locally.

burn CD occastionally, delete backups occasionally (I keep the last 5).

I do this before taking laptop on a trip, after a significant milestone
reached, every 2-3 weeks, or when somebody tells me horror dataloss
story and I start to feel nervous.

Someday I want most of this to be done via CVS, having changelogs of
source is handy and I miss it. So why not just use CVS for most
everything? But that may not be practical, not sure, TBD.

I've survived zero harddisk crashes with this method. Keeping fingers
crossed that the 'insurance' is never actually needed.

Best,
J

[jlackey ATsign celestialaudio period com]

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2004\05\08@005042 by Frank

picon face
I use an Open Source package called Bacula (http://www.bacula.org/).  If
you've got a *nix machine available, I think it's a great application,
with many of the features only found in a commercial backup program.  It
can back up to tape or to a file.  You can do full, differential, and
incremental backups.

The main system runs on the *nix host, and there are client programs for
each of the boxes you'd like to back up.  There's a Windows client that
runs as a service.  It just sits there until it's told to start
collecting changed files.

The install and config is a bit kludgy(sp?) right now, but it's not as
bad as other installations I've seen.  There isn't any GUI, but the team
is working on UIs for the restore process.

I've been running it for about six months now with great results.  It
backs up my main PC, my work laptop through a Samba-mounted drive, and
both my kids machines.  I even had to do a restore or two to get back a
file from several days earlier.

If you look at it, let me know if you need help installing.

Just my $0.02

Good luck,

-Frank

<snip>

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2004\05\08@113231 by Harold Hallikainen

face picon face
Will it do a "bare metal" backup where you can start with an empty hard
drive and restore back to where you were? Since Windows apps spew their
files all over the hard drive during an install, it's really hard to get
back a broken ap. I recently lost all my saved email in Mozilla. Restoring
the Mozilla directory did not bring it back. After a fair amount of
searching, the mail was found in the Windows directory. Also recently on a
Windows machine, Norton Anti Virus stopped working. Website says uninstall
it and reinstall it. Didn't work. Turns out the uninstall did not remove
all the files. I then spent several hours hunting down files it had left
behind, then reinstalling. It finally worked, but what a pain!

Right now for backups, I have a cron job on the linux machines that
creates a tar file for each directory off the root (some are pretty big).
These are stored on a USB hard drive under a directory name that includes
the date.

On the Windows machines, I'm running "backup time" that copies all files
to the USB hard drive (120 gigs), again in directories named after the
date. This is done once a week. Also on the Windows machines, I run Norton
Ghost at the beginning of each month to create a drive image (so I can do
a bare metal restore).

Finally, the USB drive is swapped out at the beginning of each month so
should it die, I still have last month's data.

So far I have not had to do much drive recovery. I hope all the backups
make it so I don't have to!

Harold

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