Author Topic: The Ultimate Home PC Backup Solution  (Read 12462 times)

Offline TriniXaeno

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The Ultimate Home PC Backup Solution
« on: December 04, 2011, 07:44:31 AM »
I have been feeling particularly complacent when it comes to backing up data these days.

My primary storage system is an SSD (Solid State Drive for the uninitiated)

As opposed to the regular mechanical hard drives, this unit contains no moving parts. Basically, there is nothing to "crash".

The drive and your data should be safe for a decade plus.

That said, there are still risks to your information like a  nefarious computer virus or an overzealous 3 year old pressing delete and enter a hundred times.

Enter the external hard drive.

They come in many flavours and capacities. Lower end models will just house a single mechanical hard disk or SSD.

Like this:




 Higher end ones will come with accommodation for several disks, network and raid support.

Like this:



Connected via USB or a network port to the computer, this drive serves as additional storage to supplement the SSD for less critical files (movies and music primarily) as well as a convenient backup location for important data.


For my own sanity, all such data is stored in an ongoing basis in one particular folder. Making it easy to always ensure they are safely synchronized to the external drive. Last thing you want is to scatter your files all over the computer and realize after a crash that you did not capture those wedding photos stored in "C:\Users\CaptainInternet\Desktop\Pix from Cousin Camera\Wedding in Las Vegas\"

The SSD I use is relatively small in both phyiscal size and storage capacity. Holding a modest 80GB of data. The external drive is far roomier, boasting 1.5 terrabytes of storage (1500GB). Nearly 20 times that of the SSD. You can comfortably use this as a backup drive for years to come.

Windows 7 comes with its own software to do the deed. Appropriately named "Backup and Restore". The menus are very easy to follow and in a few seconds you can configure it to routinely copy your "data" directory from the SSD to the External drive and sleep easy.




Note, if you are using Windows 7 Home Premium, this will not support network storage locations. If you bought a high end external hard drive with network support (often called a NAS, short for Network Attached Storage) it would typically come with its own backup software that you could use instead.

Complete steps to using "Backup and Restore" can be found here:
http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/1838/using-backup-and-restore-in-windows-7/


Keep in mind that external drives are usually mechanical and ironically, are themselves likely to crash. You can mitigate against this by going for one of the higher end units mentioned about with RAID support. Raid is designed to store your data across multiple disks for the purpose of increased performance or redundancy. Using the redundancy features will radically minimize the risk of your backup system failing on you.

If you are the really paranoid type and concerned about a nuke striking your home and obliterating both the SSD and External drive, you can go one step further. There are online services (as in internet based) that will store your data in the cloud. One I have used before is Mozy Backup. It's free up to 2GB. https://mozy.com/home/free/

Now storing all of your confidential information out in the cloud maybe counter intuitive for a paranoid person. There have been countless reports of data being stolen by hackers from some of the biggest (and you would think most secure) companies in the world. If exposing your data on the internet is a risk you are not willing to take, you can go with a more traditional approach. Take out a safety deposit box at a local bank and purchase yet another external hard drive, which you can periodically update and rest assured that the destruction of your home would not also mean the obliteration of your files. It is a pretty hard core option but this is a write up on the ultimate home PC backup solution after all.


For bonus points, if you have a home network (and most tech savvy users nowadays do). A pro tip is to share one storage location for everyone and extend the backup service to this folder. This way you can save the wife/sister/mother/father/etc... the grief of losing their critical data to a crash or virus attack. Mapping this shared folder to a drive letter makes it convenient and accessible.




Good to go

If you think you've got a smarter way of doing home backup, feel free to share.



« Last Edit: December 04, 2011, 08:06:12 AM by TriniWyatt »

Carigamers

The Ultimate Home PC Backup Solution
« on: December 04, 2011, 07:44:31 AM »

Offline QuickDraw

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Re: The Ultimate Home PC Backup Solution
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2011, 11:51:31 AM »
similar to what I do only problem with keeping everything in one physical location is if, god forbid, something happen to one, it could happen to both.

so some of my files are stored with
http://backup.comodo.com/   offering 5 gig of online storage free
http://www.dropbox.com/pricing offering 2 gig of online storage free and if you refer some friends u getting even more for free

amazon and microsoft and plenty others offer too.

is not big spaces but is enough to store yur important files, encrypt before uploading and yu good to go. for unencrypted files, yu could access dem from yur smartfone and have them on yur fingertips all d time!


Offline TriniXaeno

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Re: The Ultimate Home PC Backup Solution
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2011, 12:41:07 PM »
absolutely right about the risk of having the back up in one physical location.

These two paragraphs from the article address that issue squarely. (see quote below)

The Mozy Backup mentioned is very similar to the comodo.

I'm glad you spoke about encryption. That is one topic that was missed. TrueCrypt is a good opensource option but it doesn't exactly feature nicely with the backup system described above. What do you use for encryption?

If you are the really paranoid type and concerned about a nuke striking your home and obliterating both the SSD and External drive, you can go one step further. There are online services (as in internet based) that will store your data in the cloud. One I have used before is Mozy Backup. It's free up to 2GB. https://mozy.com/home/free/

Now storing all of your confidential information out in the cloud maybe counter intuitive for a paranoid person. There have been countless reports of data being stolen by hackers from some of the biggest (and you would think most secure) companies in the world. If exposing your data on the internet is a risk you are not willing to take, you can go with a more traditional approach. Take out a safety deposit box at a local bank and purchase yet another external hard drive, which you can periodically update and rest assured that the destruction of your home would not also mean the obliteration of your files. It is a pretty hard core option but this is a write up on the ultimate home PC backup solution after all.


Offline QuickDraw

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Re: The Ultimate Home PC Backup Solution
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2011, 01:59:24 PM »
both comodo and dropbox already use aes-256 so a lot of it i doh bother, but for the few truly sensitive files truecrypt first, then backup to cloud.

passwords for that are not recycled.

Offline abdalla2169

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Re: The Ultimate Home PC Backup Solution
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2012, 01:46:37 PM »
try a synology nas.............great inexpensive highly configurable device

Carigamers

Re: The Ultimate Home PC Backup Solution
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2012, 01:46:37 PM »

Offline TriniXaeno

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Re: The Ultimate Home PC Backup Solution
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2013, 12:38:04 PM »
As an update to this.

I have been toying with the concept of a "private cloud" backup solution.

Basically, you get the additional safety of storing your data at a remote location without the risk of it being in the hands of a third party.

Can save you a ton of money in cloud storage rental fees as well.

For this to be an option, you need a remote location with internet that you have access to, like an office or a family members residence for example.

For bonus points, I am going to make this solution even more robust by doing it router to router.

This way, you do not require additional computers to be on 24/7 for the backup to take place.

Watch this space for updates
« Last Edit: December 14, 2013, 12:39:41 PM by TriniSpartacus »

Offline woodyear99

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Re: The Ultimate Home PC Backup Solution
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2013, 05:30:23 PM »
For my office documents I just keep everything in a free Dropbox folder. Larger files would probably need a premium account.

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Offline TriniXaeno

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Re: The Ultimate Home PC Backup Solution
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2013, 07:51:17 PM »
Correct

But this is providing an alternative to those cloud backup options that were first recommended in the article.

That is, not allowing your documents to sit on a foreign server controlled by somebody else.

No limits on storage, no fees. You can do terrabytes+ of data!

Offline woodyear99

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Re: The Ultimate Home PC Backup Solution
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2013, 11:30:32 PM »
Indeed, sadly....laziness lol

Offline TriniXaeno

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Re: The Ultimate Home PC Backup Solution
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2013, 09:05:43 AM »
lol, the age old balance between security and convenience. You can never have both.

Laziness wins out 99.5% of the time. Just look at what is going on with facebook, android apps and cloud services in general. People are giving away their private information for convenience sake.

Whether it is access to their pictures, email, contact information for their friends, location, driving patterns, documents, likes and preferences, you name it.

The corporate world is paying attention. More and more I am seeing an invasive approach by apps and services as the new generation of internet users seem quite comfortable being liberal with their data.

A perfect storm is brewing...very interested to see where it blows.

Offline TriniXaeno

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Re: The Ultimate Home PC Backup Solution
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2014, 03:40:09 PM »
OK, the first piece of the "private cloud" backup puzzle has arrived.

Namely, the Asus RT N66u router.



It replaces my tried and true RT N16 router.

The N66U boasts a faster processor, twice as much memory and the inclusion of the 5Ghz band

More importantly, it offers a feature known as "router to router" sync, which we will be using to create our private cloud.

Stage 1: Setup an external hard drive on the router which will now serve as our central storage location.

Complete

Stage 2: Setup another RT N66 router at another location to sync the data over the Flow broadband network.

In progress...

Stay tuned for more.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2014, 04:04:32 PM by TriniSpartacus »

Offline TriniXaeno

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Re: The Ultimate Home PC Backup Solution
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2014, 08:05:54 AM »
Stage 2 is complete

Second ASUS RT-N66U router has arrived.



http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006QB1RPY/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B006QB1RPY&linkCode=as2&tag=g12n7-20

Installed the beastly device at my home and got to work implementing the "router to router" sync feature.


As many in the tech world are aware, routers can be made considerably more powerful by upgrading their firmware with third party versions. This unleashes capabilities that would cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars more off the shelf.

DD-WRT and Tomato are two of the most popular custom firmwares available. The Asus RT N66U supports both and notably, its stock firmware is based on Tomato itself.

That is fantastic news because it means you can have your cake and eat it too. Enabling advanced features without straying far from your "out of the box" firmware. Looking identical to the default interface.

The AsusWRT-Merlin does precisely that for your Asus router and can be found here: http://www.lostrealm.ca/tower/node/79

The list of enhancements are exhaustive but I was particularly interested in two.

1) Traffic monitoring by IP (great for figuring out which device on your network is using up all the bandwidth)
2) External Hard Drive spin down (important because you don't want your drives running 24/7 while not in use)

Updated both devices with the firmware and configured one router to share a folder from its hard drive with the other.



Voila....it works.

Like magic.

Look ma....no cloud

Now I have a shared folder at the office that is seamlessly synchronized at home over my Flow internet connections. (Got a Flow Turbo 20 at one location and Flow Turbo 10 at the other)

Should anything happen at either location....I can rest easy knowing the data is backed up off site.

Safe and up to date

Now you can roll your own "Offsite Online Backup" service for free. There are many companies out there charging top dollar for this if you plan to store a lot of data. Asus allows you to do it yourself. Limited only by the size of the hard drives you attach to the routers.

Pros:
1) Off Site backup. Data is safe in case of hard drive failure, theft, flood, fire or other natural disaster at one location.
2) Router with attached external drive serves as a Mini NAS, providing centralized storage for your networks at both locations
3) Free. No additional monthly fees for the service, for life.
4) Flexible. Since the backup storage is an external hard drive, you can easily unplug it and connect to another PC to transfer large amounts of data at blistering speed. Great if you need to restore a huge amount of files, back up a particularly large file or wish to share data with someone else.
5) You are in control of your files. It is not sitting on a server in the cloud where someone else may have access.
6) Always on. Because the backup process sits on your router, it is always operational. Not dependent on your PCs being turned on at either location.
7) Peace of Mind. Sleep easy knowing your files are automatically backed up.




Cons:
1) Uses your internet bandwidth to sync the data so while typical everyday files like Word and Excel aren't a problem, be mindful if you throw on a 50GB file on the shared folder. It will saturate your upload for sometime. (Use point #4 and some "sneakernet" in the Pro section above to mitigate)
2) Initial outlay for two new routers. (Unless you already own two of the ASUS RT devices)
3) Lack of "versioning". This is a pretty advanced backup feature that keeps not only one copy of a file...but previous versions of it as well. The "router to router" sync does not offer this at present.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2014, 08:25:24 AM by TriniSpartacus »

Offline Arcmanov

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Re: The Ultimate Home PC Backup Solution
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2014, 01:45:10 PM »
Now THIS is killer.




Don't have the need for this as yet, but I am glad that it works without issue.

Can you schedule backups at a particular time...say, like 5am when no one would be using the internet?
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Offline TriniXaeno

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Re: The Ultimate Home PC Backup Solution
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2014, 02:58:27 PM »
Yes, it works surprisingly well.

Was expecting a lot more shenanigans but this was a piece of cake.

I haven't tried scheduling as yet myself but I've read how it can be done.

Reason being, if I leave the office at 5PM and get home at 6PM, I want the latest files readily available, already synced.

Scheduling the backup to run @ night, say @ 2AM....will defeat the purpose as the files won't be at home when I get there.

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Re: The Ultimate Home PC Backup Solution
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2014, 04:09:35 PM »
Ok, that makes sense.  I guess you would want that backup to occur as fast as internet bandwidth would allow.

What's the average lag time between placing a file on the local drive and the copy showing up on the remote drive?





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Re: The Ultimate Home PC Backup Solution
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2014, 05:50:49 PM »
I guess that would depend on file size / upload speed.

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Re: The Ultimate Home PC Backup Solution
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2014, 07:25:54 PM »
Precisely.

It is near realtime for small files (typical 30 - 60k word or excel file)

A large 20mb file (like an Adobe Illustrator AI image) would take two to three minutes given the upload speed of my Turbo 20 which is 2 megabits per second.

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Re: The Ultimate Home PC Backup Solution
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2014, 09:48:33 PM »
So basically: wireless router with storage + vpn.  Nice to see enterprise features being scaled to home office solutions.

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Re: The Ultimate Home PC Backup Solution
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2014, 06:23:22 AM »
Precisely. That has been the promise of third party router firmware since the Linksys wrt54g hay days. Getting more and more powerful

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Re: The Ultimate Home PC Backup Solution
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2014, 06:23:22 AM »

 


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