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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 8/3/2005 7:17:50 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/3/2005 7:22:03 AM EDT by jthuang]
Situation: I scan and store a lot of my financial documents on my PC's hard drive.

This means tax documents, paystubs, credit card statements, bank statements, brokerage statements, stock option reports, EOBs from medical/dental plan, retirement account statements, and so on. I also store my digital pics on my hard drive.

I currently back up everything on CDR (no DVD drive) and put the CDs in a safe deposit box. That said, my 60 GB hard drive (20 GB free space) is making CDRs a tough method to back up that data.

I am not all that tech-savvy so I was wondering what people use. My first thought was a external hard drive, one that would be small enough to fit in my safe deposit box. My box is not a standard sized one; it's a good bit taller than most (for those pre-ban mags).

Newegg.com had this to say about using external hard drives for backup:

"One drawback to using external hard drives for backups is that they are still relatively new for home computer use. They come with Windows drivers; should Windows fail, you will not be able to access your external drive through DOS. There are DOS drivers available but they can be difficult to find and most manufacturers do not provide support for them."

which is giving me a bit of pause for using an external hard drive as a backup. I checked out some of the tape drives but they seem to be a lot more expensive and my computer may not have the requisite expansion slots to use one.

Current system:

Dell 8100 Dimension 1.7GHz P4
PCI expansion slots. USB 1.0 ports, no FireWire, no USB 2.0.
256 MB DDR RAM
60 GB 7200 RPM hard drive (EIDE?)
48x CDROM
16x CDR
GeForce 32MB video card
Sound Blaster Live! sound card

So what would you use as a backup (that can fit in an oversized safe deposit box) for the above system? Thanks in advance.

PS yes I know my system is outdated but it's >4 years old. It was top of the line back in 2001. I will be either building a new one or upgrading the components in the 'puter shortly.
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 7:19:29 AM EDT
RAID1 backup to external drive every now and then.
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 7:21:05 AM EDT
I would use an external drive that is stored off site.
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 7:36:40 AM EDT
jthuang: How are you going connect the external device(s) to your computer? I'm assuming through the 1.0 USB ports? IF so, connecting anything thru the USB port is going to be real slow.

I don't under what is the problem with burning a CDR?
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 7:38:04 AM EDT
I have a Maxtor eternal HDD.

80gb cost like $90.

Connects via USB
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 7:57:13 AM EDT

Originally Posted By warlord:
jthuang: How are you going connect the external device(s) to your computer? I'm assuming through the 1.0 USB ports? IF so, connecting anything thru the USB port is going to be real slow.

I don't under what is the problem with burning a CDR?



Yeah, it will have to be through the USB port because there is no other alternative. I would like to upgrade the MB later to accommodate USB 2.0 but it's questionable whether I can put a standard motherboard into a Dell case (which is supposedly sized such that stock motherboards cannot be used).

With CDRs, it takes too many of them. At around 20 GB of data, that's 29 CDRs.
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 7:58:26 AM EDT
I burn data DVDs as backup storage currently. It's a bit limiting, as it's only 4.4 GB per DVD, but once double-layer DVDs become more available and cheaper I will switch to those.
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 7:59:23 AM EDT
I use an exteranl USB hard drive. Cheap, fast, and portable.
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 8:00:19 AM EDT
External hard drive connected via USB.

Maxtor makes them, and makes them well. I have a 250GB drive I use to back up all my systems. I actually need another one.

Maxtor USB
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 8:02:50 AM EDT
I would go with a external hard drive. You shouldn't be worried about DOS functionality because with a external drive you can just plug it into another system or use knoppix to read the drive. I would still encourage you to back up financial data to CD or DVD and place it off site. If the exteranl drive you buy doesn't have backup software take a look at Syncback SE it rocks.
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 8:19:54 AM EDT
RAID arrays are expensive but VERY good at protecting data.

My law office uses RAID 5 off of three disks with a large controller card based write cache to help with the asymetrical data transfer rates (i.e., slower on write). We can lose a drive, and simply replace it, the system wil still have ALL data present and will "rebuild" the data redundancy structures on the replaced drive automagically.

If we drop two hard drives at once, we're fucked.

So we do a nightly tape backup of our documents and e-mail data. 6 sets of tapes are rotated, five nightly, with the sixth tape rotated to a 30 day storage container on every 4th saturday (i.e., we always have a tape that is 30 days older than the others to deal with the "overwrite" problem).

For lots of data, look at tape backups. They're still not a bad way of doing things in terms of bulk data backup.



Link Posted: 8/3/2005 8:21:36 AM EDT
Punch cards
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 8:23:08 AM EDT

Originally Posted By jthuang:

Originally Posted By warlord:
jthuang: How are you going connect the external device(s) to your computer? I'm assuming through the 1.0 USB ports? IF so, connecting anything thru the USB port is going to be real slow.

I don't under what is the problem with burning a CDR?



Yeah, it will have to be through the USB port because there is no other alternative. I would like to upgrade the MB later to accommodate USB 2.0 but it's questionable whether I can put a standard motherboard into a Dell case (which is supposedly sized such that stock motherboards cannot be used).

With CDRs, it takes too many of them. At around 20 GB of data, that's 29 CDRs.



Instead of replaceding the mobo you can just add in a PCI USB2.0 card for under twenty bucks.

Then get an external USB DVD-RW.
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 8:23:48 AM EDT
CDs or external USB drive
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 8:23:51 AM EDT

Originally Posted By macman37:
Punch cards



I think we may still have a nine track tape unit somewhere around the shop.
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 8:24:28 AM EDT
(I use DVDs, backed up wholesale when every 6 months or whenever I add a bunch of stuff - digital photos or freelance work)
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 8:33:33 AM EDT

Originally Posted By jthuang:

Originally Posted By warlord:
jthuang: How are you going connect the external device(s) to your computer? I'm assuming through the 1.0 USB ports? IF so, connecting anything thru the USB port is going to be real slow.

I don't under what is the problem with burning a CDR?



Yeah, it will have to be through the USB port because there is no other alternative. I would like to upgrade the MB later to accommodate USB 2.0 but it's questionable whether I can put a standard motherboard into a Dell case (which is supposedly sized such that stock motherboards cannot be used).

With CDRs, it takes too many of them. At around 20 GB of data, that's 29 CDRs.


Wow, that is lot of bits & bytes. It appears that you're dealing with a LOT of money, and I would break-away a few bucks to buy an updated computer system so that you can keep your records straight.

First of all, for an updated computer, get a dual-layer DVD burner and burn daul layer DVDs, this would cut down your handling of an extreme number of disks down to about 3. But dual-layer DVD media is running about $3 each on sale. Single layer stores about 4.5GB and costs about $0.75 each on sale, but you're going to need 4-5 of them, I don't know if storage space is at a premium, but the dual-layer maybe worth it since you're keeping them in a safe deposit box.

I am not sure that you want to go to an external harddrive because to me it is pretty slow, unless of course you want to store the drive with your records off-site, but nevertheless, I would still back up your financial data on to non-volitile media, ie that you can't delete(ie DVD-Rs). This is because sometimes if you're fatigued, you could hit the delete button by mistake, and wham! Believe me, "been there, done that," and you only do it once. External drives are pretty cheap though, but they too could also fail. BTW: hard drives have dropped in prices, you can get a 160GB for around $40, I bet if you watch the sales you can probably get 300GB at a pretty decent price.

It sounds that your financial records are fairly important, I would have 2 backups, one on a non-deleteable DVDs and another on a backup HD.
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 8:38:24 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/3/2005 8:44:08 AM EDT by NewbHunter]
I have found a really good, cheap solution for backing up data. It's not as fast or as good as RAID, but it's much cheaper.

What I did was is buy an external hard drive enclosure similar to one such as this. It can do USB2.0 as well as Firewire. Firewire is more reliable than USB2.0, or so I hear, so that's what I use, but this way you get the option of both.

Then, buy a sychronizing program such as SyncBackSE. It costs $20 and is worth it. I use it to sync my laptop with my desktop.

The key is to make sure that the hard drive you buy to put in the external enclosure is the exact same model as the one in your PC. This way, if your PC hard drive crashes, simply pop the one out of the external enclosure, put it in your system and you're back in business. That is, assuming your internal storage drive is a seperate hard drive than the drive that the OS is installed on (a good idea, if you don't have your PC set up this way already).

You could also use this setup to completely mirror the hard drive that your OS is installed on, but it requires a little more extensive knowledge. I don't exactly know how to do it, but I know that the network admin here at work figured it out and is currently using this setup on our file server. It has been working great for over a year now.

ETA: This solution also allows you to store the external drive off site for more secure storage.
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 8:42:29 AM EDT
RAID isn’t that expensive my RAID1 card was about 80$ but it isn’t a good backup solution. If your data gets corrupt or you get a virus it just corrupts the data on the other drive(s). You will still need a copy on an external drive offsite in case your house burns down.
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 8:44:31 AM EDT
We use La Cie with our Macs- works with PC as well. Our model has a USB/Firewire interface. I think we got the 60 Gig model, not so much for backup as to boot from to run a copy of Norton Anti Virus on multiple Macs. I also squirrel some data on it via the Firewire, and it scoots. Under 200.00 for ours, about the size of a deck of cards (thinner).

FWIW. They have a new model that uses biometrics for access. Up to ten fingerprints can be entered. Pretty cool for your tax records- you can slug your accountants prints on it.
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 8:52:29 AM EDT
StorageTek L5510 tape silo with LTO2 media. Make 2 backup copies of everything, ship one to offsite storage and keep the other in the silo.

Really, what I do at home is keep backup tapes. I'm currently using a 4mm DDS4 drive I bought online. The media is relatively inexpensive and I can put the tapes somewhere safe.

Depending on how much data you're backing up, the DVD media is probably fine. I'm an old unixhead so I have been using magnetic tape for years for backup and archival purposes. Depending on how much you need to back up at a time, the DDS4 will hold 20G native - you get some extra with compression.

Also, if you're using Windows XP Pro, it comes with a backup/recovery software that is, essentially, Veritas Netbackup Business Server. If you right click on a drive, click properties, go to the tools tab, the back up files feature is good for archival purposes. I believe I've used that with DVD/CD media as well as network attached storage.

I wouldn't worry too much about a windows destruction event keeping you from being able to see your external drive that you took off and stored off site. Assuming that you have gone to the safe-deposit box to recover your data, I would also assume that you got a new PC and installed windows on it before you are ready to put your data on that spanking new hard disk drive. I highly recommend the external hard disk drives.

As far as not deleting your external hard disk drive data, like I said, if you use the backup/recovery tool in Windows XP Pro, it creates your backup file in what amounts basically to a TAR (Tape ARchive) format file on the hard disk drive. As long as you don't delete that file, you're good. If you need to recover a single file from it, you can use the GUI to do so.

Good luck!
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 9:45:26 AM EDT
Firewire external drive--they have gotten cheap and Firewire is a lot fatser than USB-2.

I still like external SCSI tape drives. You can find nice used HP DAT-3 tape drives very cheap on Ebay and I have a lifetime supply of DAT tapes.

GunLvr
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 9:53:37 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 10:05:32 AM EDT
USB DVD RW drive, or go with a USB Hard drive.
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 10:10:16 AM EDT
I use a WD 80GB USB 2.0 drive. $75 shipped off Ebay.

I do it about every two months or so.



Link Posted: 8/3/2005 11:29:49 AM EDT
I use an Iomega 160 gig HDD with USB 2.0 port. It takes about 20 minutes to back up my 20 gig or so of data.

$160 about 3 months ago from Newegg and came with Auto Backup Pro software.

USB 2.0 port cards are available from Newegg for about $13 each. They have 4 external and 1 internal 2.0 ports; takes about 3 minutes to install one in a PC.

Merlin
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 1:35:39 PM EDT

Originally Posted By warlord:
Wow, that is lot of bits & bytes. It appears that you're dealing with a LOT of money, and I would break-away a few bucks to buy an updated computer system so that you can keep your records straight.



While it's true that I have financial info going back to 1993, not all of the 20 GB is financial stuff. Each financial document (per page) is scanned at B&W 150dpi so it's only like 200-300kb. My digital photo/mp3 collection takes up a lot of space too.
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 1:36:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SmilingBandit:
Instead of replaceding the mobo you can just add in a PCI USB2.0 card for under twenty bucks.

Then get an external USB DVD-RW.



I totally forgot they made those. I am looking at a $50 PCI card from Best Buy that will give me both FireWire and USB 2.0. Great tip!
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 1:37:52 PM EDT
External Dvd RW at 4.7 Gb per disc they can hold a whole lot of data
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 1:37:59 PM EDT
BTW thanks to all for the responses. I am getting a 80-100 GB external hard drive and the Sync software. I have to go measure the safe deposit box to make sure it's not too small for the drive I buy.
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 1:38:39 PM EDT
75GB DLT External Tape Drive.
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 2:27:40 PM EDT
tagged for late night.
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 2:37:00 PM EDT
high capacity tape drive
that way you can still store them in the safe deposite box
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 2:49:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By jthuang:
BTW thanks to all for the responses. I am getting a 80-100 GB external hard drive and the Sync software. I have to go measure the safe deposit box to make sure it's not too small for the drive I buy.



I like to use tiny, cheap enclosures like this one for a laptop drive, since I tend to have extra drives left over due to swapping them out for larger ones. While you can get 80GB laptop drives, the ones I use now have 12GB HDs, which is usually enough unless the customer has a very large pr0n collection. They work great for backing up and recovering data off client's systems after they've corrupted their file system or installed some nasty malware.

I can't tell you how many times I've shown up to a job site with everyone in an absolute panic, then merely boot off of a Knoppix or WinPE CD, run some diags or recovery app, and copy all their important files over to the USB drive. After that I can transport the data to any other machine they want and they're set to go. And it all fits in a shirt pocket.

And it's cheap!!!! Like me!!!
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