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Author Topic: Tip: Don't Just Keep a backup of your latest files  (Read 7162 times)

mouser

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Tip: Don't Just Keep a backup of your latest files
« on: June 28, 2007, 10:51:08 PM »
In the backup guide i wrote a long time ago i emphasized the need to keep older copies of your files.

Today i discovered that a programming project i had worked on several years ago was no longer in my directory where i keep my programming projects.  Somewhere along the line in the last two years i had deleted it mistakenly, probably thinking it was junk.  Thankfully i had an old copy of my documents and was able to retrieve it.

This is my way of reminding you, do NOT simply keep a single backup of your latest stable system.  You need to keep older copies of your files going back years.  You don't have to keep such backups of your entire pc, but at least of your document directories.

Perry Mowbray

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Re: Tip: Don't Just Keep a backup of your latest files
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2007, 01:51:37 AM »
It's great advice: for my project base files I generally slowly migrate them off my PC as it becomes obvious that I really don't need them on my hard drive. For example:

Step 1: Move the files to a single Folder in a dedicated location ( e.g.: "old work/Project One/")
Step 2: Archive the Folder into a single File (e.g.: old work/Project One.zip)
Step 3: Move the Archive File to a CD/DVD

Generally I hate throwing anything away (even rubbish: as Murphy would say, "as soon as I call something rubbish and chuck it, I'll need it")

Armando

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Re: Tip: Don't Just Keep a backup of your latest files
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2007, 10:50:15 AM »
There are several ways of doing that. I used to do what Perry is doing -- which is probably the best way : most projects fit well on a DVD/CD. But, for me, it became a mess when I quickly needed some files from an archive, changed them, etc. But this is just me and my absentmindedness. Since 2004, I just compress an image of my documents partition, split on several DVDs, every 6 months (or when I start to feel nervous about loosing something  :) ) and archive them in a big drawer I hope I'll never have to use...

My backup strategy is pretty much in line the "tao of backup" advices ( http://www.taobackup.com/ ).


Edit : of course, what I've explained here is only the archiving part of my backup strategy... the whole thing is more sophisticated and involves multiple HDs, images, increments, etc.

« Last Edit: June 29, 2007, 12:10:09 PM by Armando »

f0dder

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Re: Tip: Don't Just Keep a backup of your latest files
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2007, 07:17:27 PM »
For source code specifically: subversion. Of course you need to keep, as mouser says, multiple copies of your repositories, not just "the latest and greatest" :)
- carpe noctem

mouser

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Re: Tip: Don't Just Keep a backup of your latest files
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2007, 07:25:35 PM »
Armando, that tao of backup is a nice find  :up:

Armando

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Re: Tip: Don't Just Keep a backup of your latest files
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2007, 10:18:08 PM »
Armando, that tao of backup is a nice find  :up:

Yes, I like it too, even if it was first meant to publicize a now abandoned software (I believe -- I might be wrong). It summarizes all the fundamentals (and more) in a simple and humoristic way. Some advices might be a bit too much for the home user (it's not always easy to backup off site everyday-- because of bandwidth limit, connection speed, etc.), but it’s better to know what could happen if you’re not careful with your backups.

This link, http://www.taobackup.com/sanctuary.html, is better than the one I first provided (which makes the site map almost invisible at first sight).

Clive

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Re: Tip: Don't Just Keep a backup of your latest files
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2007, 09:44:36 PM »
Something which I don't seem to ever get right is the re-install process after a catastophic event. Over recent months I've suffered a "C" drive failure & a motherboard failure at different times. I keep backups on an internal drive and a clone of the "C" drive at a remote location.
For both the above events I've been able to restore everything without loss.  The clone was no help with the motherboard failure as the new MB was different from the old one and the clone was no help with the HDD failure either as there was some glitch (Yes, I did omit checking the clone worked when I made it :down:).
So obviously I'm learning from my mistakes and striving to have a better solution for the next event.
I'm currently recovering from the HDD failure with a brand new computer :D
It's all so slow though and I wish there were a way to streamline the process. I've made a clone at the 50% re-install stage and checked to see if it works - no it doesn't >:( What to do now?

I'm no geek (no offence meant ;)) and the hours spent re-installing I would rather spend doing something else. (Paying someone else to do the task is not an option)

Has anyone thought about these issues and developed a solution that works?

Armando

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Re: Tip: Don't Just Keep a backup of your latest files
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2007, 10:56:37 PM »
I feel sorry for you...

I've made a clone at the 50% re-install stage and checked to see if it works - no it doesn't >:( What to do now?

What do you mean exactly... You can't use a previous image?

That's tricky.

In some cases, it's possible to use an image from and other computer. Steeladept gave me some very useful advice :

http://www.donationc...49.msg61210#msg61210

Maybe he’ll know what to do if you’re stuck with an image which contains drivers which won’t allow installation??

What I did (but I had access to my old computer... and you most probably don't) :

So, on the old computer...

1- uninstall the NIC driver (don't reboot)
2- uninstall HD driver (don't reboot)
3- SHUT DOWN (don't reboot!)
4- Image your drive from a CD -- if you have access to Acronis Universal Restore, use it. But I don't know if it will make a difference or not.

After :
5- use the cloned image on the new computer

You might have to reactivate windows though.

Clive

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Re: Tip: Don't Just Keep a backup of your latest files
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2007, 03:15:51 AM »
Thank you Armando & SteelAdept.
I've tried cloning using:
1) DiscWizard from the SeaGate site - it couldn't find the second drive which I was cloning to!
2) An old copy of DriveCopy by powerQuest - it was semi successful as I was able to boot as far as the password screen, but as soon as I entered "next" the boot process flipped over to "Windows is logging off" >:(
I plan to try the free version of XXClone next. The author of this software has written heaps of supporting documentation which looks helpful.
My fingers are crossed.

Armando

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Re: Tip: Don't Just Keep a backup of your latest files
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2007, 10:06:00 AM »
Acronis works well.
BootitNG too.

I think there has been some posts about a free version of acronis somewhere??

Good Luck and post baxk!


tomos

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Re: Tip: Don't Just Keep a backup of your latest files
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2007, 02:17:25 PM »
http://www.donationc...32.msg68567#msg68567
for a couple of links for Acronis deals
also if you google Acronis true image I think you'll find a couple different places offering version 7 for free

Here's one I came across -
Acronis True Image 10 Home for $29 instead of $50
http://www.ugr.com/TrueImage.html

Anyone bought from them?
Says something about user groups http://www.ugr.com/index.html - maybe you have to join as you buy?? - I got the link from Windows secrets newsletter I believe..
Tom

Lashiec

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Re: Tip: Don't Just Keep a backup of your latest files
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2007, 04:19:04 PM »
If you have a Seagate or Maxtor HDD (and thus you can install DiskWizard) you can also get the full version of Acronis for less money (if I remember correctly, it was 29$ as well)

mikiem

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Re: Tip: Don't Just Keep a backup of your latest files
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2007, 02:58:21 PM »
In case it helps at all...
For reinstall or problem restore ops...
In cases where you have a working copy of Windows but the hardware has changed (i.e. m/b failure etc.), if you can get into Windows Safe Mode, then delete those devices (i.e. Device Mgr) with incorrect drivers, if you're lucky Windows will obligingly install the missing devices on start-up, saving from having to do a complete re-install. While I've gotten this to work with XP, my record is a win98 SE install that lasted >5 years, over 3 CPUs & 2 m/boards.

Since XP it's often easier to use the repair install, but that's not foolproof either. I've found it useful to not only export sections of the registry beforehand, but to have copies of the actual older registry files available. Regedit lets you import hives (for HKLM & HKUsers) & being able to look up & opt. export old keys has saved a LOT of time when getting everything working again.

Even if you opt for a re-install, a backup of your last good installation can work wonders. I work a lot with media, & have read dozens of complaints where after a re-install files won't open or play etc... Running MS's WinDif or similar compares files & versions between folders, like system32 for example, and can literally save days of troubleshooting.

In many situations, especially dealing with system files, I've found it very useful to store portions of disc contents as zip files. I'm not going to do a full disc restore of anything but the latest backup. For older backups it's usually difficult to look at let alone extract a few files from the often special formats -- assuming I even still have the backup prog installed, or that it will install on my current OS.

For critical apps, or when un-installing something I might want/need someday in the future, I'm almost religious about exporting and saving relevant keys in the registry. This has turned out to be a great habit with the arrival of Vista, since run compatibility is great, but install compatibility isn't.