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Author Topic: Anyone actually use rewriteable media?  (Read 16157 times)
Carol Haynes
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« Reply #25 on: May 06, 2006, 02:00:08 PM »

Bleh on your DVD player really - most DVD players will read DVD-RW discs if they are recorded in video mode and finalised. Many of the newer models will also read DVD-VR mode discs provided they are finalised too.

Advantage of vidoe mode = don't need to convert the ripped files if you want to make a proper menu driven DVD and edit out the rubbish as it is already in compliant MPEG 2 format.

Advantage of VR mode = you can edit on your player, you can reopen the disc after closing it.
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« Reply #26 on: May 06, 2006, 02:54:52 PM »

i use cdr and cdrw and dvd+/-r and dvd+ rw and i have had problems with the cdrs burnt on one machine being read on another
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« Reply #27 on: May 10, 2006, 12:53:28 PM »

Carol said:
" Why do people feel the need to use CD-RW and DVD-RW as large floppies with the need to format them??? When I use DVD-RW (I don't bother with CD-RW these days at all - partly because of compataility issues with CD players) I just use it as a standard DVD-R disc."

Which is kind of my point, except for the reformatting part. If you are just using a CD-RW like a CD-R, why bother with it - why not just use CD-R? The ability to re-use disks by reformatting is a plus, but traditionally I want to be able to add to and delete from a removable disk as I go, like the floppys and zip disks I used to use with such ease. I've got a thumb drive now, and it works great, but size is an issue and it's pretty expensive on a per MB basis.

As for the "bleh" issue, from everything I've read on the subject, compatibility between computer DVD burners and consumer DVD players is still spotty at best. It depends on a number of factors, including the drive used to burn the disk, the media, the type of player, burn speed... there's no universal compatibility. Even with combinations that "should" work, sometimes it just doesn't work.

This is based on articles I've read, though. My actual DVD burning experience is pretty limited. But I just bought my first DVD burner a few weeks ago, so hopefully that'll be changing.
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« Reply #28 on: May 10, 2006, 01:57:22 PM »

I use DVD+RW for my monthly disk images

no problems until now Thmbsup
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #29 on: May 10, 2006, 02:55:44 PM »

Quote
Which is kind of my point, except for the reformatting part. If you are just using a CD-RW like a CD-R, why bother with it - why not just use CD-R? The ability to re-use disks by reformatting is a plus, but traditionally I want to be able to add to and delete from a removable disk as I go, like the floppys and zip disks I used to use with such ease. I've got a thumb drive now, and it works great, but size is an issue and it's pretty expensive on a per MB basis.

You can with CD-RW??? Just use multisession writing (ie. don't finalise the disc between sessions).
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Scott
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« Reply #30 on: May 10, 2006, 07:08:43 PM »

I've never tried DVD rewriteable technology, but I assume it's just as bad.

No, it's not.  It's worse, much, much worse.  They pack so much more data into the same overall amount of space, problems arise as a result.  I do work for a backup software vendor, and DVDs are probably the #1 support issue:  "The burn doesn't work."  "The disc can't be read." "I'm getting errors." "What does this sense code mean?" To which the reply is generally:  "Try new firmware ... Or a different brand or type of media, or, hell, even a different lot of the same media.  Did you check nomorecoasters.com?  Try a slower burning speed ... Enable the MY HARDWARE SUCKS setting in the BIOS ... Fart out magic pixie dust and sing a chant under the light of the full moon..."

DVD sucks, period.  It's unreliable and problematic as hell, and not nearly as long-term stable as the liars told us it would be during early adoption.  (Tape media is actually much better in that regard.)  The relative storage capacity is a complete joke.  Anyone who disagrees has a mystical, magical combination of hardware, software, and ordained luck that I could only dream of attaining.

I utterly despise all current optical media technology.  The capacity sucks.  The process is horribly slow and unreliable.  The inter-device compatibility sucks.  The media is fragile and a pain in the ass to handle.  I mean come on, why are we stuck with technology that requires sites like nomorecoasters.com to exist?  Media that you can't even write on the reverse side of, or it may screw up?  Media that you are advised to store standing up, not lying flat, because even a slight bend, introduced over years, could also screw it up?

And writing the data is only half the battle--you have to then cross your fingers and toes that it'll actually be read correctly, too.  And, of course, if you read it using different hardware and/or firmware, your results may vary wildly.
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« Reply #31 on: May 10, 2006, 09:36:13 PM »

Scott - I'm a little unclear on your opinion.... so you're are you saying you don't like DVD   Grin

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superboyac
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« Reply #32 on: May 11, 2006, 12:00:16 PM »

Scott, I can't say I disagree with you.  But what backup storage do you recommend besides hard drives?  Do you think Bluray will be any better, or probably worse?  Remember magneto-optical disks that were encased in hard plastic cases?  Were those more reliable than these optical devices?  I had the feeling that they were a little more reliable and easier to work with.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #33 on: May 11, 2006, 12:16:40 PM »

I would have thought on the basis of what Scott said that almost all future optical drives can only get worse as they pack more and more info into the same area.

Having said that I don't really see a big problem (personally) with CD-R, DVD-R or DVD-RW. The only type I have had problems with is CD-RW and that is mainly because of buggy software from Roxio and Nero as far as I can tell. Nero allows discs to be verified at the end of writing which is great (too many burning packages don't) and so the handful of coasters (and it is really only a few out of hundreds burned over the last 5 years) have been spotted instantly. Touch wood (... thumps head ...) I haven't had problems reading discs at a later date once they have been verified after the initial burn.
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Scott
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« Reply #34 on: May 11, 2006, 12:19:57 PM »

Scott, I can't say I disagree with you.  But what backup storage do you recommend besides hard drives?  Do you think Bluray will be any better, or probably worse?

The only thing I use for backup are hard drives.  They're not entirely ideal, but they're better for my purposes than optical media.  Too early to say how Blu-Ray will turn out, I think, since not too many average users have begun using it.  The best solution for you depends on how much cash you have.  The consumer-level stuff really blows.  There are some really good solutions if you happen to have a social circle that includes Warren Buffet and Bill Gates.  The rest of us get crap.

Regarding what Carol said...  Even if CDs and DVDs work well for you, there's no escaping the abysmal capacities they offer.  I backup a couple hundred GB of stuff regularly.  DVDs aren't even an option.  The people who request tech support related to DVD writing often mention things like "...I get an error on DVD number 9..."  Yeah, OK, I have better things to do with my life than babysit my DVD drive and watch a little LED turn on and off for eons.  (And my favorite thing is when the damned tray ejects with no warning, just to entice my dog or little girl to run into it or inspect it.  And even if that doesn't happen, I get a nice influx of dust.)

And as far as reading discs at a later date, well, better be careful not to scratch those discs in the slightest.  DVDs are really touchy about that.
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superboyac
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« Reply #35 on: May 11, 2006, 12:35:03 PM »

You know what, Scott, I think you're right.  I think I'm going to start devising hard-drive based backup solution.  There's this company, Addonics, that makes interesting products, and I also think I may start using some SATA drives for some RAID duplicate backup.
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JavaJones
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« Reply #36 on: May 20, 2006, 02:07:47 PM »

Ooo, interesting thread! A lot to say here.

First off it's quite clear to me that the problems most people are having with RW media stems from believing the hype about "drag and drop, use it like a floppy". That was my first thought reading the very first post and it became increasingly clear that was the case as I read down. Those who have no problems with RW's (like myself) use it through a regular CD/DVD burning interface like Nero, those who do have problems are trying to use InCD, etc. Folks, the thing is InCD and similar programs *tell you* that they can't necessarily be read on other machines! In fact InCD has a special "InCD reader" thing you can install on computers that don't have the full read/write suite on them, just so you can read the disk. The fact is that this kind of read/write/multisession/use-as-a-regular-disc technology hasn't been perfected, much less standardized. So any disk you make with any program - whether it's Nero or Adaptec's version of direct CD writing, or the one built into Windows XP - is likely to have problems being read on another system. Your best bet if you know other systems are going to have XP on them (possibly a reasonably safe bet now) is to just use the built-in burning functionality in XP. InCD doesn't really offer any advantages over it, and what's worse it is all but requires a special reader engine be installed in other computers.

OK, moving on. Scott, have you considered that your experience of DVD and other optical media might be just a tad biased by such an extensive experience in the support field? cheesy I'll bet you mechanics who work in Honda shops could tell you about millions of stupid problems that happen all the time with Hondas, but they're still demonstrably some of the most reliable cars on the road. Likewise if you look around for opinions on the 'net you'll often find actually *more* complaints about Honda, Toyota, etc. cars than others. The reason however is not because they are more problematic, but because A: more people buy them than a lot of other cars and B: more of those people expect extreme reliability and thus they have higher standards for how reliable their car should be. Some people go a little too far in believing the Honda/Toyota reliability and expect that they should just never have to change oil or even do regular maintenance. tongue

That being said it is an inevitable fact of life that increasing optical media densities will mean decreasing media reliability and tolerance to damage, given that the disc size remains the same, the data density increases, and the damage causing factors remain constant. In other words DVD discs are not less likely to get scratched and since they have more data in a given area any normal-sized scratch is bound to have a worse effect on a DVD as compared to a CD. And yes folks this will only get worse with HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. A *lot* worse in fact. This is probably one of those "dirty little secrets" that the industry isn't going to talk much about, yet I could easily see it becoming a class action lawsuit in a few years.

One of the big things the HD-DVD crowd was talking about as an advantage over Blu-ray was that HD-DVD has a much thicker protective layer on it, meaning it should be more durable. Blu-ray is apparently fairly fragile by comparison, which is why a lot of earlier prototypes, and the higher density discs in general (50GB), show a protective sleeve on Blu-ray discs. My understanding is that this is not standard and probably won't be used in normal Blu-ray discs. I'm not even sure the players coming out now are compatible with the sleeve/cartridge. If anyone has more info about this I'd love to hear it though as I'm really not sure this is the case.

At any rate it's true that DVD is not a good candidate for backup for a few major reasons, mostly already mentioned. First, the average user doesn't really have that much stuff they truly need to back up. Sure you want all your music, which a lot of people do keep in digital format now - everything you've *bought* from iTunes, etc. in particular. This stuff *is* worth backing up. Most people however haven't bought more than 4.5GB of music. At iTunes' current rate and a few MB per song that's a fair load of cash. cheesy Other than that most people don't have a lot of large stuff to backup unless they're unsensibly backing up their entire drive, with multi-gigabyte games, applications, etc. installed. So for most people 1 or 2 DVD's should be able to back up their entire system.

Still there are many power users like myself, Scott, and others here that do have 10's or even 100's of gigabytes they want to backup, either regularly, or at least once and then do incrementals on it going forward. Even one marathon session of burning 10+ DVD's will put you off it for a while. As Scott said the data rates, if nothing else, are just not that great. Even with high speed media and a quality drive it takes 30+ minutes to burn a DVD if you have data verification on (and if you're doing a backup you damn well better!).

Then there is the much more serious and wide-affect issue of data integrity and vulnerability to damage. As discussed above DVD's just aren't as durable as CD's for a given amount of data, because that data is packed into a smaller area and thus for the same size scratch more data will be lost. Scratches haven't changed size lately, so we're bound to be at greater risk with our data. If you're doing backups your best bet is to get some nice, soft-plastic DVD-type cases (believe it or not the hard plastic CD cases, as well as the "soft" binder-style CD/DVD cases can both damage your discs) and then keep the backups on a shelf, in a closet, or better yet in a safe, never to be used again unless absolutely needed. Keep at least 4 generations of backup around. If you're using RW's (which is not a bad idea for those doing regular backup), then you start with 1 disc, when you get to the 4th disc your next backup goes on the first disc again, and you continue rotating like that. If you're doing rotation it would generally be advised to use more than 4 though, depending on how frequently you backup. And always keep an extra copy of your very first backup around.

Finally, we come to alternative backup methods. Unfortunately there really isn't anything that is both cost-effective and convenient to use. Hard drives really do come the closest, believe it or not. Tape backup continues to suck, being a linear backup system it can never do anything but I'm afraid. Well, unless you just don't ever use your backups (ideally you won't have to). If you do use tape backup you never want to delete anything you might use just because it's backed up. Retrieving it from your backup will be more annoying than you probably want to deal with. Tape is really only acceptable for pure backup mirroring purposes. I wouldn't use it for archive, for example. And it's also prone to deterioration over time, although so are CD's and DVD's. Yes folks, little-known to many, but if you just burn a CD and then stick it in a closet for a few years, it *will* deterioriate. Probably not to the point where it will be unreadable, but it's likely it will read slower due to more error correcting data having to be read. And the longer it's in there, the more it will deteriorate. Some people say 10 years, some say 20 or 30, for consumer-level writable media. Obviously factory pressed discs have longer lifespans, fortunately.

In any case hard drive does seem to be the best way to go, especially with drive prices getting quite reasonable. These days you can buy a 200GB drive for little over $100 and then get a USB/firewire external enclosure for another $30-50 and you have yourself a great big external drive. Alternatively you can just buy a purpose-built external backup drive for not much more (especially if you happen to catch a rebate - Seagate has a lot of them these days). 1 backup drive should do if you don't keep it connected all the time and keep it in a safe place away from your computer while you're not backing up (stick it in a fire-proof safe if you're really concerned, ideally away from the house). If you're really paranoid you'll need 4 or so drives *not* in a RAID configuration (all external drives, use them in a rotation as described with the RW's above). If your data is important enough to you, the cost shouldn't be a big concern. $600 or so and you should have all the backup you need for a good standard 4 generation rotation.

Speaking of RAID, I wouldn't trust it for "backup". That's really not its purpose. If realtime data integrity is of key importance to you then RAID is great. But it's designed for uptime reliability and running data loss prevention, not to avoid catastrophic failure (your entire computer dies due to power surge for example, or fire). Do *not* substitute any form of RAID for backup under any circumstances, and generally, for the average person, don't even consider RAID, the advantages aren't worth it for 99% of people, and the hassles and overhead cost will generally outweigh those advantages anyway. After all, which would you rather have, a $100 drive in your same vulnerable computer mirroring your data in realtime, or a $100 drive in an external enclosure, locked in your fire-proof safe away from danger with the same data? Do you even know what to do if/when one of your RAID drives dies? It's easy enough to just perform a restore from your external backup, but what about replacing a dead drive in your RAID array...

- Oshyan
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superboyac
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« Reply #37 on: May 20, 2006, 02:17:31 PM »

Javajones, you have the longest posts I have ever seen!

So you don't think RAID is a good idea for backups of files?  Ok, I'll buy that.  What if I have my original data on my computer, and I have two additional external hard drives.  One I keep in the fireproof safe, and I use to backup my original data once a month, and another one to backup my original data once a week, but I leave that one attached to the computer and don't put it in a safe.  That's pretty good, right?  What are the chances of 3 hard drives in 3 different locations going bad all at once?  That's why I thought Raid would be a good idea, because the information is duplicated across drives, but it sounds like it's more complicated and not really for the simple purpose which I intend to use it for.
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« Reply #38 on: May 20, 2006, 02:30:06 PM »

great post javajones, and superboyac, this is very similar to what i do (except no fireproof safe!), and it seems very reasonable to me.
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JavaJones
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« Reply #39 on: May 20, 2006, 03:05:14 PM »

Superboyac, I think your system sounds fine for most uses. It's really a question of how much the data is worth to you though, how important it is. Although a lot of stuff on computers can't necessarily be put in pure monetary terms, it can still generally come down to a question of money at the end of the day.

So what you have to do to properly determiney your backup needs is to do a valuation of the data you're backing up. How much is it *really* worth to you? There are several ways to do this, but one particularly useful one is the following simple exercise: if there were a significant data loss incident where all of your data was lost, and you sent your drive with all data on it to a recovery place who examined the drive and reported that they could recover 100% of the data, how much would you be willing to pay to have all the data recovered? If you don't have proper backup standards this may be a question you'll actually have to ask yourself one day, and data recovery places are not cheap. cheesy Think in the range of $1000 and up. If $1000 is not worth it to you for the data you're backing up, then your backup solution should be well under that. Various sources will given various advice for an exercise like that - some people say if you're not willing to spend the recovery price on your backup solution then you're not serious about your data. I tend to think 10-25% of the recovery cost being spent on backup is perfectly fine. So if you spend $100 - $250 on a backup solution for data that you would pay no more than $1000 to recover, you should be fine.

As for RAID, it is a lot less complicated than it used to be, but it still is far from a guaranteed smooth process under Windows, especially if a drive ever goes down and has to be replaced. Usually you have to completely rebuild the array. You won't lose any data but you have to back it all up to other drives in order to redo your array anyway, so you might as well just have your backup solution able to handle that much data in the first place and forget the RAID. As long as you backup regularly RAID doesn't give you much benefit.

- Oshyan
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Scott
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« Reply #40 on: May 20, 2006, 04:53:32 PM »

Scott, have you considered that your experience of DVD and other optical media might be just a tad biased by such an extensive experience in the support field? cheesy I'll bet you mechanics who work in Honda shops could tell you about millions of stupid problems that happen all the time with Hondas, but they're still demonstrably some of the most reliable cars on the road. Likewise if you look around for opinions on the 'net you'll often find actually *more* complaints about Honda, Toyota, etc. cars than others. The reason however is not because they are more problematic, but because A: more people buy them than a lot of other cars and B: more of those people expect extreme reliability and thus they have higher standards for how reliable their car should be. Some people go a little too far in believing the Honda/Toyota reliability and expect that they should just never have to change oil or even do regular maintenance. tongue
You're right, I am biased.  Biased heavily against current optical technology.  But "biased" doesn't mean "baseless" or "wrong".  It's precisely because I see so many support relating to various storage devices that I know what sucks and what works about each of them.

The Honda/Toyota analogy isn't a fitting one.  That implies I only have opportunity to see support requests relating to CD/DVD drives.  I don't--most customers use hard drives, many of them use external hard drives using IEEE 1394 or USB 2.0 interfaces.  So I'm not a Honda mechanic; I'm a general mechanic (or perhaps more aptly, just an "industry observer" smiley) who has taken it all in, and figured out what sucks and what doesn't.  CDs and DVDs really do have more problems.  It's not too often that I see people being advised to upgrade the firmware in their hard drive, or to try writing to it slower, or trying a different platter maker for it.

Even if you could explain away the constant miserable failure and problem rate of CDs and DVDs (which, sorry, you can't), you're still left with the slowness and the miserably-lagging capacities.  Consumer hard drives are very close to reaching the 1-terabyte level, and you're honestly defending 700-MB and 4.37-GB removable media technology?  I wouldn't care if it was dead-nuts reliable, and blazingly fast; I'd still avoid it just because the capacity sucks.  I can't even fit more than about 17 normal-length songs onto a CD, unless I use lossy compression, and then screw around using a compatible playback device for it.  The next-gen (non-)solutions still suck, too.  What are they going to offer, 30- or 50-GB capacities?  The level that tapes and fixed disks had met eons ago?

Quote
[M]ost people don't have a lot of large stuff to backup unless they're unsensibly backing up their entire drive, with multi-gigabyte games, applications, etc. installed. So for most people 1 or 2 DVD's should be able to back up their entire system.
Well, I back up my entire hard drive, to the tune of around 120 GB (much of it music), and I feel it is completely sensible.  My time is too valuable to me to risk spending on reinstalling applications and all that nonsense.

Quote
Still there are many power users like myself, Scott, and others here that do have 10's or even 100's of gigabytes they want to backup, either regularly, or at least once and then do incrementals on it going forward.
And if that one original full backup gets lost or damaged, all your incrementals are meaningless, or pretty close to it.

Quote
Keep at least 4 generations of backup around.
Backing up 120 GB, that's 28 DVDs each.  You think I'm going to store 112 DVDs for backup?  And hope they all work when I need them to?  Despite the fact that a mere plastic CD case is a threat to their very survival?  No thanks!

I actually made the mistake of relying on a DVD backup not too long ago.  The backup was done with a byte-for-byte comparison done, meaning that it was stored with definitive accuracy.  Yet, after restoring from it, my system was flaky.  I suspected that something had gone wrong in the restoration process.  So, I restored from an older backup that had been stored on a hard drive (non-shit technology, in layman's terms).  Bingo, everything was fine once again.

Quote
And [tapes are] also prone to deterioration over time, although so are CD's and DVD's.
Tapes are a lot more stable in storage than DVDs are.

Quote
These days you can buy a 200GB [hard] drive for little over $100
You can actually get a 320-GB hard drive for very little over $100 ($106 as I write this).
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JavaJones
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« Reply #41 on: May 20, 2006, 07:32:06 PM »

Quote
You're right, I am biased.  Biased heavily against current optical technology.  But "biased" doesn't mean "baseless" or "wrong".  It's precisely because I see so many support relating to various storage devices that I know what sucks and what works about each of them.
Bias implies prejudice or impartiality. It doesn't mean you're wrong, but it does call your conclusions immediately into question, as opposed to a more even-handed presentation of pluses and minises of different approaches.

In general I agree with you though re: CD and DVD media, mostly in terms of capacity and speed though. As a private computer support technician for the last 8 years I think I've seem my fair share of the ups and downs of writing CD's and DVD's from a customer's perspective. I can tell you that very few of the calls I've had have related to difficulties with burning. I've watched the industry in general and yes there are probably more issues than there should be. But for the most part things do seem to work, as long as people aren't expecting too much of the systems.

All that being said again I agree that things can and should be better, and that optical discs are not the best for backing up data larger than a few GB at most. But again it's questionable how many people really have that much data to backup, too. Most people get their music already in a lossless format these days anyway, or don't know how to rip to a lossless format, or wouldn't likely care even if given the option.

Ultimately it's all a matter of who the customer is and what their needs are. *Everyone* should be doing backup, but the vast majority of people don't need to backup their entire drive like you do. Even if many of your customers want that, I don't think a large percentage of people really need that. Part of an effective backup scheme is also determinig what is really worth backing up - how much hassle and cost is involved with every extra GB that you backup, and how much the data you're backing up is worth in return. Obviously there are other factors like the time involved and how much that's worth to you. Clearly for you your time is a big concern. For others it may not be. Neither perspective is right or wrong, just different needs and priorities. I tend to concentrate on what the average person needs, but if anyone asks me for advice on their particular situation it's vital to get good information about their particular needs. Giving advice like "DVD sucks" as a blanket response isn't really very productive as it may be an ideal solution for their needs. Not that you said that per se, but your response could easily be perceived that way. I don't suppose that would bother you, but it bothers me. I hope you'll forgive me. Wink

Quote
Quote
Still there are many power users like myself, Scott, and others here that do have 10's or even 100's of gigabytes they want to backup, either regularly, or at least once and then do incrementals on it going forward.
And if that one original full backup gets lost or damaged, all your incrementals are meaningless, or pretty close to it.
Er, well I don't know about anyone else but I do a new full backup every 5 incrementals. That's only sensible. I use Cobian Backup and it serves me quite well. Lots of options and nicely free. smiley

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Backing up 120 GB, that's 28 DVDs each.  You think I'm going to store 112 DVDs for backup?  And hope they all work when I need them to?  Despite the fact that a mere plastic CD case is a threat to their very survival?  No thanks!
No, of course not. I don't think I ever suggested you personally should use DVD. I do think your backup needs are a bit larger in scope than most people however.

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Tapes are a lot more stable in storage than DVDs are.
Yes, that's true. But both are subject to deterioration. Just something that people should keep in mind.

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You can actually get a 320-GB hard drive for very little over $100 ($106 as I write this).
God bless the arrival of SATA and various space-increasing technologies. We're down to 30c/GB! cheesy Still, you wouldn't want to just buy the drive and toss it into your machine and leave it there to backup to. If you get a virus it can easily infect both drives and kill data anywhere on the system. Power issues can still affect both (yes, even a good surge protector can be compromised/fail). And the more it runs, the closer it will get to failure. You really want an external drive, which is an additional cost, or a removable drive, again a bit more cost. Yes it's still very cheap! I would definitely recommend HD backup for those who need to backup anything more than what would fit on say 2 DVD's. But I don't think that is most people. That's all I'm really saying. Oh, and that CD's/DVD's aren't so bad either. cheesy

- Oshyan
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The New Adventures of Oshyan Greene - A life in pictures...
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