backing up computer data

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by HBFOXJr, Jun 20, 2002.

  1. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,712

    I've always preached data back up even to my friends and their personal PCs.

    I came into the office Monday morning to find a black screen on the data PC with the last line reading Boot Disk Failure. I was sick. I tried rebooting and the drive just clunked and failed again. EVERYTHING is on this drive.

    I've used Travan tape drives in the past but they don't seem to have a good life span. Last year I bought a CD burner to replace the tape drive even though it can't hold as much data. I thought I only lost a weeks work on this crash.

    Wrong. The back up for Quick books and QXpress were OK. But I had another back up that contained old data files of other programs dating back to 1986. Also many documents and my wifes Quicken personal finance stuff, my old acctg program files for 2001 and prior years were on this other back up. When I went to restore it I got an error message that would not give me access to the file. I was truly $%&*#!.

    I took the drive to the place I bouth the PC in DEC '99. The drive was under a 3 yr warranty from Western Digital. It clunked on their PC test and failed Western Digitals diagnostics.

    Today I took it to anothe PC house. The lady hooked it up as a slave drive and their PC read it and we got the files off. The drive was on its last leg.

    Moral of the story. Create multiple backups as recommended AND attempt a restore of each backup just to see if you can access the files. My CD back up software, NTI Back UP Now, could see files on the CD but there was some kind of naming problem that wuld not let me access. There was no rescue or diagnostic or disaster stuff available from the company.

    Todays PC lady (God bless her) told me that DAT tape drives and tapes are more reliable than Travan or Cds. They also cost 2 to 3 times more but that sounds cheap to me today.
     
  2. Harold,
    After a similar experience 7 years ago, I learned a big and the powerful lesson of using a system to back up.

    One of these days, I will build my raid system. This will create (at least the technique I'll be using) mirror image of my main data drive.

    Daily back up to zip drive of company files-most important.
    Weekly burn on cdrw and verify each week.
    Monthly cd-r burn of all data and company files.

    The key to back ups--only back up your data files and not the programs. If a hard drive failure occurs, better to do a fresh install of your software, then restore your data.

    John
     
  3. LawnLad

    LawnLad LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 738

    I run tape back up nightly - switch my tapes every morning. I store all data in data file so it's easy to identify. That data file is then shared over the network to another computer. I ghosted my main hard drive onto a partion on another hard drive on the server so if my main computer crashes - I'm still up and going with maybe only a day's loss of data. Not bullet proof, and not really tested under fire - but okay I suppose.

    Are there any auto-back up programs for the CD-R's? I hate relying on my memory to drag and drop for making a redundant back up on the CD.
     
  4. @ office depot or staples:
    My BackUp by Vieratas software, around $40 I think.

    I use this program to auto back up to both cd-r and cd-rw

    John
     
  5. yardboyltd

    yardboyltd LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 323

    Look to DVD for the futures of backup... They'll be able to hold 17gb... However most dvd writers are only 2x and arent' able to burn the higher capicity layered discs. Also the manufactures are locked in a dvd writing compatablity war...

    However tape backups are the standard and great.

    For those of you who are lazy, look into RAID. It's simply a Hard Drive configuration where two or more hard disks work back each other up... There are several configs of RAID... RAID 2 is the simplest but uses the most space. All that is needed to implement RAID 2 is two matched hard drives and RAID controller card... Not that expensive. When one drive fails you still be able to operate. The software will let you know if a drive has gone down and you should replace immediatly incase your last standing drive goes down.

    I run RAID 3 on my server, two drives store data and partial parity memory, when one drive crashes, the a backup drive installed spools up and is loaded with the crashed one's data automatically and transparent. RAID 3 does require extra syncing using software
     
  6. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,712

    I run 2 PCs peer to peer. I have enough room to duplicate each drive on the other or at least back up to the other drive. I still like a removable media. I had been using 4/8gig Travan till last year when that drive failed. I've restored from tape several times in the past. Just couldn't bring myself to by another throw away Travan drive. I'm going to investigate the DAT drives. I can deal with CD back up for now.
     
  7. KDJ

    KDJ LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 325

    I use a USB hard drive, and burn CD'S for backups.

    You can get USB drives CHEAP!!!

    www.pricewatch.com
     
  8. Old Guy

    Old Guy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    And how many of these tapes, CDs etc are off site? Many a backup has been burned in a fire while store in the computer desk's drawer. They sell off site backup services via internet at a reasonable price.
     
  9. LawnLad

    LawnLad LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 738

    With off site storage in mind I rotate one of my tapes once a week and take it to my house.

    Does anyone back up over DSL? This week I'm getting DSL at home - so I was thinking that I could upload the data file from home and save it on my hard drive - I think I'll be using "PC Anywhere". I know the upload of the DSL at the office will be the limiting factor for speed sake - but wonder if this is an efficient form of back up both in terms of time and making sure the data stays intact. Does anyone do this? Any recommendations?
     

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