Backup hard drive advice

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by flounder021, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. flounder021 macrumors member

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    #1
    Hi everyone, I am just thinking that i need to be safe and backup all my music and pictures and school work... even though i know a mac would never crash :) (knock on wood haha) so should i get something like time machine or something smaller (gb size) and cheaper like the western digital 160gb back up??? any advice is appreciated. thank you in advance!!
     
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #2
    Any external hard drive that you can backup all your data and then some is more then enough for Time Machine.

    I just use a FireWire 300 GB hard drive to backup my laptop.
     
  3. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #3
    Another option is to clone (backup) on a regular basis.

    Since I have a 500GB in my MBP, I use two external 500GB HDs that are in one enclosure. I alternate the clones (backups) between the drives on a weekly via FW800 which works great.

    Two popular cloning apps are Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) and SuperDuper (SD).
     
  4. jmann macrumors 604

    jmann

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    #4
    I have a western digital 320gb hard drive and I love it. I would recommend just getting one of those. You can use time machine with it, and just for extra precaution you can create a bootable backup of your hard drive with the free app carbon copy. I wouldn't recommend doing a restore from a time machine back up. I heard that it doesn't work quite right. But I have never had to do it that way.
     
  5. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #5
    It worked perfectly for me.
     
  6. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #6
    A buddy tested numerous restores from Time Machine.

    None worked.

    Granted that is based upon his testing and computers. However, it was enough to make me consider other means that I know that work such as Carbon Copy Cloner for making copies to restore from.

    Where TM is good, is the incremental copies between clones.
     
  7. jmann macrumors 604

    jmann

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    #7
    I personally would partition the hard drive and do a carbon copy on one partition, and use the other partition for your time machine backups incase you lose a file or something. Every once in a while you can do a new backup up, and keep it current. That is my advice. :D
     
  8. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #8
    I've had to restore from Time Machine several times due to flaky OS X updates from Apple. I've also used Migration Assistant from a Time Machine drive with success.
     
  9. Thiol macrumors 6502a

    Thiol

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    #9
    The main flaw with Time Machine is that it doesn't back up logs or caches and other similar files. This makes getting some applications going up again a little slow some times. In the end, that's the major difference with a cloned backup.

    Someone suggested two partitions, one with a clone and one with Time Machine. That's what I do as well. If I need to recover a modified or deleted file/folder, I use Time Machine. If I need to reinstall the system, I work from my clone. Having both can be nice, so get a big enough hard drive...
     
  10. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #10
    If you clone as your primary backup method, then you should have two external HDs instead of having one HD that is partitioned.

    So if you have a 200GB internal HD that you want to clone. You should get two external 200GB HDs for cloning and not one 400GB HD that is partitioned. By having 2 HDs you increase your redundancy. If you only have 1 HD, and it dies mechanically, both partitions (clones) will be unusable.

    Likewise if you decided to have only one external HD to hold your clone, you are now vulnerable during the cloning process. So for example, during your cloning, the external HD fails mechanically. You say to yourself, no worries, I have my internal HD and it's working fine. The next day you go to your local computer shop and purchase a replacement HD and begin the clone process. Unfortunately, your internal HD decides to fail mechanically. Now you have no backup.

    BTW, this happened to me.

    Data recovery places are expensive. Plus they may not be able to recover all of your data depending on the type of mechanical failure. Ever see a HD that is scratched? :eek:

    The best way if you are going to cloning as a backup method is to have two separate HDs and then clone alternating between each one on a regular basis such as weekly, or more often.

    I know that it works for many. But to me, my backup system has to be 100% otherwise why do it.

    I've tried it as well, although not to the extent that my friend did, and it failed on me as well.

    I do not trust Time Machine. For me cloning is the way to go.

    Also, one nice thing about cloning is that you can boot from the external and do drive maintenance on the internal. Much faster and easier than booting from CD.
     
  11. Bengt77 macrumors 68000

    Bengt77

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    #11
    Or, alternately, get a dual drive enclosure, buy your own internal drives (with better warranty than you get with pre-built external drives) and set the thing up in RAID1 mode. That way, what's written to one drive, is also written to the other. When one of the two dies and, in a worst case scenario, so does your internal drive, you still have one fully functional backup left.
     
  12. davidg4781 macrumors 68000

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    #12
    Mine crashed on Sunday. It's not fun. I lost everything. Thankfully, I had my original Apple HDD in an enclosure. It was from April, but it's better than starting from scratch...and no, I had no backup. I actually came in here to ask about external drives, but I'll start a separate thread for that.

    What my plan to do is, keep the original 60GB and have a clone on there. I think I should be able to keep everything on there. If not, maybe I can exclude pictures or iTunes or something. I then want to purchase a 250-320GB external for Time Machine backups. I'm also going to have my important stuff (Budgets, Quicken, Resumes, etc) synced to my Blackberry Curve, so I'll have a mobile copy, in case something happens at home.

    The best thing is to keep your backups away from each other. If you have a flood or fire in your home, even having them on separate drives will be useless. I used to keep a copy of mine in my car, when it was backed up onto CDs.
     
  13. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #13
    I would say the worst case scenario would be all three die.:D
     
  14. MM07 macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    I use the same. I have been using it as my Time Machine back up since March. I have only used 60 gb since then.

    Using the Time Machine as a restore worked well for me, too. I used it when I upgraded my internal hard drive for my MacBook to a 320 gb.
     
  15. Mugwumper macrumors regular

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    #15
    I think the answer to this depends on how "irreplaceable" your data is. Personally, I'm paranoid about losing all my photos, music, e-mail, business files, and financial data, and have opted for what I'm sure some would consider "overkill": I have a TimeMachine drive and 2 clone drives for my 250GB internal drive. I have used both CarbonCopyCloner and SuperDuper, but switched to Synchronize X Pro when the others had transition difficulties to Leopard. Super Duper is fine . . . ;^)

    And I have had both a power supply and a hard drive failure in the past year that resulted in me having to start from scratch with a totally clean drive twice. The first time I used my clone drive and the Migration Assistant, and after the more recent HD failure, I used TimeMachine. Both cases were relatively painless, and each took about 3 hours to mostly restore all my files. There always seem to be "issues" with some 3rd party apps not migrating over, so they needed a reinstall.

    So if you want total peace of mind, do both. But remember that hard drives fail, so having 2 (or more) is reasonable insurance for me.

    Hope this helps . . .

    Forgot to add: my TimeMachine drive is USB and the clone drives are FireWire . . .
     
  16. Bengt77 macrumors 68000

    Bengt77

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    #16
    Never, ever exclude your pictures in a backup. They are the most important files on your hard drive. You might not believe me now, but you'll think otherwise once you've lost them all. At least, when you mention pictures, I take it you mean photos?
    Okay, you've got me there... :p
     
  17. davidg4781 macrumors 68000

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    #17
    Yeah, I know. I'm going to have them backed up on another one. I don't think it'll come to this, and hopefully by then I'll have a more permanent solution. I'm looking for a new job, and if I move, I'm going to HAVE to buy a new router, and, well, Time Capsule seems like a good choice to backup wirelessly.
     
  18. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #18
    Yes, you can set up a mirror RAID were both drives are identical. However, I would suggest that this is not a good way to clone.

    During the cloning process you will erase the external drive that you will be cloning to. This means the external HD RAID no longer has a cloned copy. So during the cloning process you are vulnerable to a HD failure on the internal and you will have no external clone to restore from.

    BTW, as I mentioned before, this happened to me so I speak from experience.

    Sorry to hear. The first time is always the worst.

    Cloud storage for your important data might be a good option as well.

    Very true.

    I rotate my backups between home and work.

    I also store real important files in the Cloud.
     
  19. davidg4781 macrumors 68000

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    #19
    Ahh, yes, Mobile Me is going to be one of my backups too. As for now, I'm just waiting for my new hard drive to come in.

    I hope it's ok to boot off an external and use it just as an internal. I can't see a problem, but I have seen some slowdowns...may be a USB 2.0 bottleneck.
     
  20. flounder021 thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 15, 2008
    #20
    ok soo...

    i bought a WD extra hard drive and i am using the TM to back it up.. i basically connected the USB cable and it pretty much started by itself from there.. and its taking a good amount of time (obviously i knew it would) anyways, it will back up everything correct?? photos, music, school work?? and also lets say my internal hard drive does crash (knocking on wood) how do i go about uploading everything back on assuming i lose it all? use time machine like a few of you said? and i dont really understanding the cloning stuff that a lot of you are talking about where does that get put on to an external drive like the one i have??
    thank you thank you thank you!!!!!
    :apple: forever!
     
  21. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #21
    After cloning, I always reboot using the clone that I just made.

    Then I use Disk Utilities to repair permissions and the HD.

    Then I reboot to the internal and then disconnect the external.
    I recommend an external HD with FW400, or even better, FW800.

    You will find that in most cases FW400 is close to twice as fast as USB2.0 to clone and FW800 is 2.5 to 3 times as fast.

    The FW interface works differently than the USB one, so for sustained file transfers FW ends up being faster.

    Please see comments above.

    TM and cloning are somewhat different.

    In simple terms, cloning a HD creates an exact copy of your internal HD to an external HD for example. If you internal HD fails, you can then boot from your external HD and your computer will be the same as if you booted from the internal HD.

    TM machine backs up files that are changed. It creates an initial back up of your files, but not an image of your HD like cloning does. Then from that point forward it creates incremental backups of files that are changed.

    I think both can be beneficial.

    Personally, I do weekly clones (backups) to an external HD. I alternate my backups between two external HDs. Works well for me and provides redundancy.
     
  22. flounder021 thread starter macrumors member

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  23. Bengt77 macrumors 68000

    Bengt77

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    #23
    Might be true if you do a new clone every time. I don't. I use SuperDuper! for incremental cloning. It updates the backup clone to the exact same state of my internal drive. So even when the cloning process is interrupted, at least the clone from last time would mostly still be there.

    Also, with a dual drive enclosure, you could set it up as JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks), where the drives would be seen by the computer as two seperate ones. That way, you have what you swear by in one handy package. The only downside would be a or theft. If one backup is gone, the other will be too. So maybe two physically separate drives isn't such a bad thing after all. Backup/clone to one of both of them, take one with you and store it at work. Then, when you update the drive you left at home, take that one with you, leave it at work and take the other one back home. Switch them like that on a regular basis (say, weekly) and you'll be safe beyond measure. The only way to be even more safe, is to also use a (small) external for Time Machine backups. That way, even your most recent file mutations will be reversible.

    Lesson: Time Machine + cloning (be it to one or two drives) = king.

    EDIT: Ah, my bad. The JBOD-thing is exactly what you suggested in post #3.
     
  24. ra noodle Guest

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    Mar 14, 2008
    #24
    sushi

    how is your 500GB working in your MBP15....i have been thinking of that much in mine a MBP15 2.0/2GB and am wondering is it too much for my MBP?
     
  25. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #25
    I just got a LaCie 500GB external drive. It came with FW800, FW400, USB 2.0, and eSATA cables. Hooked it up, and Time Machine did the rest.
     

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