Need recommendation for backup program.

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities

Need recommendation for backup program.

Postby Jerilynn » Mon May 07, 2012 5:51 pm

What is the current Boglehead backup program du jour for PCs?

I'd like something that backs up everything so in the event of a bad hard drive, all I would need to do is buy a new one and restore everything back to it.
Any ideas?
TIA
Cordially, Jeri . . . 100% all natural asset allocation. (no supernatural methods used)
User avatar
Jerilynn
 
Posts: 1940
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: USA, Earth

Re: Need recommendation for backup program.

Postby bobcat2 » Mon May 07, 2012 6:21 pm

ShadowProtect Desktop.

ShadowProtect costs more than Acronis True Image (ATI) or Norton Ghost and it doesn't do as many flashy things as ATI does, but ShadowProtect is very fast and more importantly, very reliable. The same cannot be said of some of my past experiences with ATI.

Link to review. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2365691,00.asp

BobK
Last edited by bobcat2 on Mon May 07, 2012 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
In finance risk is defined as uncertainty that is consequential (nontrivial). | | The two main methods of dealing with financial risk are the matching of assets to goals & diversifying.
User avatar
bobcat2
 
Posts: 4214
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 4:27 pm
Location: just barely Outside the Beltway

Re: Need recommendation for backup program.

Postby SSSS » Mon May 07, 2012 6:26 pm

The backup program that came with Windows XP was good.

The backup program that comes with Windows 7 is very different, but also good.
User avatar
SSSS
 
Posts: 1866
Joined: Fri Jun 18, 2010 12:50 pm

Re: Need recommendation for backup program.

Postby madbrain » Mon May 07, 2012 7:11 pm

Jerilynn wrote:What is the current Boglehead backup program du jour for PCs?

I'd like something that backs up everything so in the event of a bad hard drive, all I would need to do is buy a new one and restore everything back to it.
Any ideas?
TIA


Acronis True Image home will do what you want.
madbrain
 
Posts: 2447
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:06 pm
Location: San Jose, California

Re: Need recommendation for backup program.

Postby orlandoman » Mon May 07, 2012 7:27 pm

GFI Backup 2012 ... Free & great!
http://www.gfi.com/pages/backup-freeware.asp
"If You Are The Smartest Person In The Room ... You Are In The Wrong Room"
orlandoman
 
Posts: 275
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:27 am

Re: Need recommendation for backup program.

Postby Lacrocious » Fri May 25, 2012 12:30 am

Recommend CrashPlan. Can choose to backup to your own computers (or friends) for free or to their cloud for a fair, low price. Has family plans for multiple PCs.

- L
Lacrocious
 
Posts: 236
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:45 pm
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Need recommendation for backup program.

Postby archbish99 » Fri May 25, 2012 12:36 am

If you want an image backup to a second local hard drive for a single PC, use what's built in to Windows 7. If you want image backup of multiple computers (and you're a geek :) ), consider Windows Home Server. If you want file backup of one or several computers, use CrashPlan.

The big difference is that with an image backup, you take a blank hard drive and boot from a restore disk, point it at the backup and the new hard drive, and when it's done you can boot and pick up where you left off. With a file backup, you take a blank hard drive, reinstall the OS, reinstall all your programs including the backup software, then point it at the backup and get all your documents back. The personal files are generally the most irreplaceable things on your computer, but there's something to be said for being able to get your PC back exactly as it was after replacing the failed component.
I'm not a financial advisor, I just play one on the Internet.
User avatar
archbish99
 
Posts: 1288
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:02 pm

Re: Need recommendation for backup program.

Postby jebmke » Fri May 25, 2012 10:31 am

I tested Crashplan for about a month. The Windows service randomly stopped working rendering the automated backup unreliable. Further, the service did not automatically start when the computer rebooted despite the fact that the service was set to automatic. Emails traded with their tech support produced the recommendation to make some fairly obscure tweaks to the memory settings in the ini file. I elected not to make these changes and test further. A consumer based product should not rely on the consumer to intervene like this (even though I am perfectly comfortable making these changes).

IMO a good back up system should have bulletproof reliability on backup and restore. Features are nice, speed is nice but if the back up doesn't work reliably and the restore is uncertain, the system is useless for its intended purpose. Once a backup system is deployed, the user should do test restores, frequently at first and then less frequently (but regularly) once the restore is proven and the user is comfortable that he/she knows how to restore the data.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
jebmke
 
Posts: 2823
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:44 pm

Re: Need recommendation for backup program.

Postby lwfitzge » Fri May 25, 2012 10:34 am

I use cloud back-up Carbonite....$59/yr, unlimited data
lwfitzge
 
Posts: 311
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:01 am

Re: Need recommendation for backup program.

Postby Padlin » Fri May 25, 2012 3:51 pm

In our shop at work we use Acronis Backup and Restore and Ghost PE, both work fine with Acronis being the choice of us techs and Ghost being the corporate standard. Acronis is more refined, Ghost is kind of basic but both work. The Black Armour USB hard drive (Seagate) I bought for my home pc's backups came with BlackArmour software for one touch backups. It also works fine (remember to burn a boot disc) and was free with the drive. BlackArmour is the easiest to use of the bunch.
Regards | Bob
User avatar
Padlin
 
Posts: 604
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:46 pm
Location: W Mass

Re: Need recommendation for backup program.

Postby ilisira » Fri May 25, 2012 9:22 pm

On the windows machines, I backup to the Windows Home Server which has redundant hard drives (incremental daily backups, and it keeps weekly/monthly full backups). For the Mac I am using, I connect an external hard drive once a week or so to use the Time Machine.
ilisira
 
Posts: 38
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 4:04 pm

Re: Need recommendation for backup program.

Postby climber2020 » Fri May 25, 2012 9:39 pm

In addition to standard backup procedures, I keep 2 separate 32 gig USB drives containing only my photos and important scanned documents. One stays in a small fireproof safe in my apartment, the other stays in the trunk of my car. Hopefully both don't burn down on the same day :D
User avatar
climber2020
 
Posts: 321
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:06 pm

Re: Need recommendation for backup program.

Postby bertilak » Fri May 25, 2012 10:10 pm

At least check out CrashPlan before settling on anything else. Be sure you understand their unique features:

  1. Block-level incremental backup (as opposed to the less efficient and more common file-level)
  2. De-duplication (recognizes identical blocks across multiple files and only needs to upload one copy)
  3. Near continuous backup (defaults to every 15 minutes)
  4. The three backup strategies supported:

    • Cloud backup to their servers (This is the only one you have to pay for, otherwise the program itself is free.)
    • Internet backup to anyone else who has CrashPlan installed (with their permission, of course)
    • Backup to local hard drive (presumably an external drive, but not required)
  5. Files *never* deleted from backup destination unless you explicitly allow it
The first two items above make the third practical and make the backup process completely unobtrusive.

Note that Carbonite does not support *any* of the above. Most importantly, files you delete are not saved past 30 days, nor are versions of the files over 30 days old kept if there are newer versions (within 30 days).
No-one really listens to anyone else, and if you try it sometime you will see why. | -- Mignon McLaughlin
User avatar
bertilak
 
Posts: 3235
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 6:23 pm
Location: East of the Pecos, West of the Mississippi

Re: Need recommendation for backup program.

Postby Lacrocious » Sat May 26, 2012 2:24 pm

jebmke wrote:I tested Crashplan for about a month. The Windows service randomly stopped working rendering the automated backup unreliable. Further, the service did not automatically start when the computer rebooted despite the fact that the service was set to automatic. Emails traded with their tech support produced the recommendation to make some fairly obscure tweaks to the memory settings in the ini file. I elected not to make these changes and test further. A consumer based product should not rely on the consumer to intervene like this (even though I am perfectly comfortable making these changes).

IMO a good back up system should have bulletproof reliability on backup and restore. Features are nice, speed is nice but if the back up doesn't work reliably and the restore is uncertain, the system is useless for its intended purpose. Once a backup system is deployed, the user should do test restores, frequently at first and then less frequently (but regularly) once the restore is proven and the user is comfortable that he/she knows how to restore the data.


Hmm... Never had those problems - but I agree with you - it needs to be working all the time and you need to be comfortable with it. I have been using CrashPlan for ~2.5 years now and never experienced what you are experiencing. I have my parents PC's backed up to my server for free. When they travel to their vacation condo, things continue to be backed up. I have the CrashPlan+ plan - backing to their cloud. Other than the slow backup at first, I have been happy.

- L
Lacrocious
 
Posts: 236
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:45 pm
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Need recommendation for backup program.

Postby Lacrocious » Sat May 26, 2012 2:29 pm

One BIG thing to do, regardless of what tool you choose to use is:

Periodically restore files to to validate that the backup and restore process works.

A Backup that has never been tested should not be considered a backup. Backup Tools fail on occasion or your Hard Drive fails or something glitches. Test Test Test.

- L
Lacrocious
 
Posts: 236
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:45 pm
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Need recommendation for backup program.

Postby jebmke » Sat May 26, 2012 4:04 pm

Lacrocious wrote:One BIG thing to do, regardless of what tool you choose to use is:

Periodically restore files to to validate that the backup and restore process works.

A Backup that has never been tested should not be considered a backup. Backup Tools fail on occasion or your Hard Drive fails or something glitches. Test Test Test.

- L

This is usually overlooked by many. Years ago (more than I wish to think about), I worked at a company that had a large VAX cluster in use by engineering for critical engineering data. Someone finally decided to check the back up tapes and discovered that despite the good news messages from Mr. VAX ("backup complete"), there was nothing on the tape. They had been religiously running nightly backups and having an offsite service come and pick up the tapes daily. All the tapes were blank. Fortunately they found this before they actually needed to recover lost data.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
jebmke
 
Posts: 2823
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:44 pm

Re: Need recommendation for backup program.

Postby chaz » Sat May 26, 2012 4:30 pm

Acronis is good.
Chaz | | “Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons." Woody Allen | | http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page
chaz
 
Posts: 13152
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:44 pm

Re: Need recommendation for backup program.

Postby grabiner » Sat May 26, 2012 5:09 pm

climber2020 wrote:In addition to standard backup procedures, I keep 2 separate 32 gig USB drives containing only my photos and important scanned documents. One stays in a small fireproof safe in my apartment, the other stays in the trunk of my car. Hopefully both don't burn down on the same day :D


Similarly, I back up my important files manually to a CD every year (usually, just after doing my taxes), and keep the CD in a safe deposit box. I have used several different backup programs, but this CD has exactly what I put on it, and it isn't in the same place as the computer.
David Grabiner
User avatar
grabiner
Advisory Board
 
Posts: 13128
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2007 12:58 am
Location: Columbia, MD

Re: Need recommendation for backup program.

Postby HardKnocker » Sat May 26, 2012 5:48 pm

I use SyncBack Free. http://www.2brightsparks.com/freeware/freeware-hub.html

It's a free program that backs up to your external hard drive. Works very well.
“Gold gets dug out of the ground, then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility.”--Warren Buffett
User avatar
HardKnocker
 
Posts: 2011
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 12:55 pm
Location: New Jersey USA

Re: Need recommendation for backup program.

Postby dratkinson » Sun May 27, 2012 7:49 pm

On my old system(s) (currently Win98SE), I've backed up my data using tape drives (Irwin, Colorado, Iomega), a glass disc drive (Syquest), DVD/RW, and the resident OS system backup.

I haven't liked any of them as the process required:
(1) a deliberate step to initial the backup or to retrieve the data,
(2) or media handling was required,
(3) or the media degraded or the system was too fragile,
(4) or a proprietary data structure prevented my directly accessing my data.

I wanted something more automatic to initial, required no media handling, was more reliable, and natural to retrieve my data.

I found my ideal solution in the old DOS utilities and a second HD. (I don't believe these old utilities are included on newer PCs.)

For more than a decade, I've used a DOS batch file in my system startup directory to automatically xcopy32 all of my parent data directories (MyDocuments, Utilities,...) to a second HD.

With my system CDROMs, my backup HD, and a checklist.txt (also backed up), I've rebuilt my old system many times.

And if I accidentally delete something, it is immediately and directly accessible on the second HD.



N.B. The need to frequently rebuild my old system ended when I began using SpinRite (v6) to regularly recondition my HDs. (I'm a happy customer.)
d.r.a, not dr.a.
User avatar
dratkinson
 
Posts: 2445
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:23 pm
Location: Centennial CO

Re: Need recommendation for backup program.

Postby Lacrocious » Sun May 27, 2012 8:36 pm

@dratkinson - I did many of the same things you have done. I now use Crash Plan. Some people don't like cloud backup or proprietary backup formats. I would suggest moving beyond XCopy, although it is still present in Win7. You could use Robocopy and have a slight improvement (standard on all Win7, earlier Windows OS's needed it added via Windows Resource Kits from Microsoft). Better yet would be something like SyncBackSE that HardKnocker recommended. I have used the paid version for years as well. It let you make mirror copies of your files. It also allows for versioning - so you can keep 3 or 5 or more copies of files that change. You can also have it hang onto deleted files for period of time (in the same place the versions are stored). That way, you can restore a deleted file if you don't realize it is gone until your xcopy has already run. I don't remember the differences between SyncBackSE Free or Paid - but it is ~$30 - so not too expensive and very useful. See: http://www.2brightsparks.com

I also like that you can have it compress files. It can use windows compression or if you want more advanced compression or encryption - you can use a WinZip compatible format. If you use the Zip or Zip + Encryption - you can use most WinZip utilities to unzip the archive - you are not locked into a proprietary format. ( I guess i don't consider Zip format to be proprietary).

As always - test your backups

- L
Lacrocious
 
Posts: 236
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:45 pm
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Need recommendation for backup program.

Postby Toons » Sun May 27, 2012 8:41 pm

I am currently using Apple ,Amazon,and Google cloud storage (each 5gigs free ,don't need that much yet) to back up all personal DATA files.Picture and Video files are backed up to one of several computers
If the hard drive fails its no big deal ,computers are a commodity these days and you can pick up one for a few hundred dollars,personal files are what matter to me :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee
User avatar
Toons
 
Posts: 4217
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 11:20 am
Location: Hills of Tennessee

Re: Need recommendation for backup program.

Postby RedJones » Mon May 28, 2012 12:12 am

Start with the requirements for adequate backup:

1. must be able to restore all files and the OS in a single step to a replacement drive, i.e. not necessary to re-install and re-patch the operating system
2. must be able to verify the backup without additional hardware. This means you should be able to restore an individual file from time to time from the backup. Since you need a bootable backup you should also boot from it occasionally. All this should be easy and safe, which is to say, does not endanger your source disk or files.
3. more efficient if software can do an incremental backup after an initial image backup.

Requirement #2 precludes using backup systems with proprietary storage formats like Acronis. When I last used Acronis a few years ago the only was to verify the backup was to perform an actual restore, which makes such a product useless. Backups fail. If you never verify it until you need it, there is a very good chance that it will have failed without your knowing.

I run Windows as a virtual machine on a linux box and use free linux tools to achieve the backup. These products may be useful for meeting the requirements, but I haven't used them:

clonezilla
carbon copy cloner
RedJones
 
Posts: 72
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2011 2:39 am

Re: Need recommendation for backup program.

Postby dratkinson » Mon May 28, 2012 1:00 am

Lacrocious wrote:@dratkinson - ... Crash Plan ... Robocopy ... SyncBackSE ...


Thanks, I was wondering what I could use that would keep my old simplicity and direct access when I moved to a new(er) system. I'll look into them.
d.r.a, not dr.a.
User avatar
dratkinson
 
Posts: 2445
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:23 pm
Location: Centennial CO

Re: Need recommendation for backup program.

Postby k-slice » Mon May 28, 2012 2:47 am

Apple, buy time capsule, use time machine. Time capsule=external hard drive.
Dropbox, SugarSync, microsoft skydrive, etc. are kind of cool too.
k-slice
 
Posts: 152
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 4:13 pm

Re: Need recommendation for backup program.

Postby TomatoTomahto » Mon May 28, 2012 1:06 pm

lwfitzge wrote:I use cloud back-up Carbonite....$59/yr, unlimited data

+1
User avatar
TomatoTomahto
 
Posts: 2787
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:48 pm


Return to Personal Consumer Issues

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: a010z, Google [Bot], jared, nwrolla, Teetlebaum and 43 guests