What do you do for backups?

Mr Rob

Active Member
Apr 23, 2011
Fargo, North Dakota, USA.
Hello all:

Caine had some bad drive problems, and I know other people have had data on the Pandora memory card lost, or elsewhere, so it's probably a good time to talk about backing up your computers. I always rant about backups because it's fairly simple to do, but no one does it. :( I know people who have years of digital photos or business data, and they have no backups at all.

Here is my setup:

I have two external drives (as my main computer is an old netbook). I use rsync to run a backup to my main external drive every week or so, and that drive is always plugged into my computer. I have a second drive that I keep in my office at work, and every once in a while I'll bring it home and sync it with my other one.

Two drives are like $150 bucks these days. Should the drive in my netbook go bad, I have all the data on my external drive. Should theft/fire/tornado occur and the netbook and the drive in my apartment are lost, I'm still good, as I have the drive up in my office.

It's really simple to do, $150 for a couple drives and pretty much complete data safety is a pretty good deal.

What do people do to back up their computers? Or if you don't, would you like some advice?
I've got 2 internal 2TB hdd's and one external 2TB hdd. I do very little backing up, but when I moved my files from old 400gb, 500gb, and 120gb hdd's, I didn't format the old drives, so I guess that can be considered as backups, only doing it when installing new drives. I also have Usenet account which can easily be used to store personal data, although I'm not in the mood to backup 6TB of data at 1mbps upload
i just copy my sdcard contents to a folder named pandora every now and again.SD cards can be so bloody tempermental
For backing up my main computer, I just copy my home directory and its contents to an external hard drive every day or three. Said machine refused to boot yesterday (it issued a cacophonic series of beeps, proclaimed it had a problem, and shut off) and sometimes spews graphical garbage completely at random, so I suspect that it might soon be approaching the point where it's on its last legs. I think my heart almost leapt into my throat for a moment, there, as at that point I hadn't done a backup in a couple of days. :lol:

My MacBook is there for the rare things that I can't get done on Linux (i.e., certain commercial software and the like), and doesn't actually house anything, so I don't need to do anything there.

With regards to my Pandora's SD Cards, all of the stuff that's on them is on my main machine as well as being backed up, so I can just reconstruct those if anything were to go wrong. :p
@Prometheus: Sounds like a overheating problem, when's the last time you cleaned the inside from dust? :p

EDIT: Could also be bad RAM, but the former somehow feels more likely if it boots up fine after being shut off for a while.
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(Usually) I copy important data to USB sticks or external harddisks. I have neglected that lately and now I pay the price. Luckily I backed up my dissertation more properly than the rest. Still, it's a loss of about a week and a half.

Most data intended for consumption is easily recoverable (music, movies, books, games, etc..).

It is the content you create which is painful to recover. Documents, source-code, photos, videos, savegames, etc... the sort of stuff which you have a time investment in. Luckily, this tends to consume less space and is quite viable to store on a disk or two (except if you are seriously into creating photos or videos) . I've was planning to setup a home-server with git for backing up my source and documents, but ... well, too late.

Time to roll out an automated backup infrastructure and to start taking this stuff way more seriously than I did so far.

By the way, this is a great benefit of open-source. I still have my Pandora applications since they either reside in the firmware or in the repo :) .
@Prometheus: Sounds like a overheating problem, when's the last time you cleaned the inside from dust? :p
It's perfectly clean and never runs hot. Unfortunately it seems to be a known issue with this model. :(

Time to roll out an automated backup infrastructure and to start taking this stuff way more seriously than I did so far.
Taking it seriously is a Very Good Thing™. It's only a shame that the circumstances that prompted it, frankly, suck.
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I have a linux file/web server running several drives in raid 5 totalling 2TB. It was quite impressive several years ago, however now that drives are in the 2TB range It may be time to upgrade.
MrRob .. I do something essentially the same as you.

I actually keep a NAS in the house (D-link dns-323, cheap and great), and keep all long term storage on it (photos, music, documents, etc.) I keep a source code repository on another machine, which in turn backs up to the NAS, stuff like that.

So I rsync various machins to the NAS over wire or wireless.

Every month or two, I rscynt the entire NAS to a USB disk plugged into one of the wired-to-NAS machines; I keep two of those, alternating, and keep one of them off-site locked away. So any given time I've got say a few days to week old backup on NAS, and if the house burns down, I've got most of my data backed up to within a month or two.

Currently, doing offsite backup over the net (to a buddies NAS say, or one of the big-remote-disk servers, like tarsnap etc..) just seems to expensive.

I've considered setting up rsync but never got around to it. Any flags you can recommend for a quick run before diving into the manpage? I keep all my code on github, but I'm the picture archivist of the family, so if I lose specific pictures, nobody else has'em, so it's about time I make a good backup here soon...
well am a dick and when i got a new laptop didnt buy an extra external hard and waited a few months then purchaced an external harddrive. And the same day the damn thing shows up i turn on the laptop and bam a black screen. run a dignostics test and the hardrives completely failed.

Amazing 90GB of roms down the shitter