Backup Help / Advice needed

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by confuzzed, Sep 18, 2013.

  1. confuzzed macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2013
    #1
    Hello,
    I am newish to the apple world and looking for advice. Can someone help? I'm pulling my hair out :(

    We have our first MBP, purchased mid2011 (running 10.6.8). I need to get some kind of backup system up and running - it's gone on too long that we haven't done so and I feel like I'm just waiting for something to happen. :/

    Right now, we dont' do much other than a few word/excel documents, internet, watch videos, storage for photos/music. We don't have a lot of data - but I don't want to lose all those photos.

    I keep having doubts about what to do. Everyone seems to have different answers - even apple support.

    USB External harddrive: I'm gun shy about getting another external. I have had one and it failed at the same time as my PC hard drive died. I lost all my data. As if losing all that data wasn't enough, I was scolded by the data recovery people not to use only external hard drive for backup.

    time capsule:
    the new one ($300 - 2TB): I need to upgrade to use it. I need to backup in order to upgrade...so I"m stuck. I also have issues b/c it's technically an external harddrive and, like I said, I am gun shy about External HDD. Also, depending on who you talk to, I may or may not benefit from increased speed/range. I like that it will backup wirelessly, while my machine is on.

    the refurbished older one ($200 - 2TB): cheaper but same basic issues.

    online backup: I don't know where to go or who to trust on this one.

    Can anyone give me guidance? I'm lost.
    Thanks,
    Jen
     
  2. FoxFifth macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    #2
    I backup to a USB external drive using Time Machine (note that is Apple's backup program and can be used without Time Capsule). I simply attach the USB drive once or twice a week and the backup is done automatically. It is extremely rare for an external drive to fail at the same time as your computer drive.

    I also backup to the cloud using MozyHome http://mozy.com/products which gives me an offsite backup in case of a fire or theft which would likely involve both my computer and my onsite backup. My backup size is less than 2GB so Mozy is free. There are a number of other online backup alternatives. Crashplan is very popular on this forum and that would be another good online backup to consider. http://www.crashplan.com
     
  3. Dave Braine macrumors 68040

    Dave Braine

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Location:
    Warrington, UK
    #3
    A lot, including myself do the following. One external drive to do a regular Time Machine backup, and another external to make a clone of your Mac. The reason for the clone is that you can boot your Mac from it if the internal drive fails.
     
  4. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #4
    The problem of using an external is not reliability. It is lack of convenience... and it means that you do not back up unless a human gets involved.

    I will back up to an external to have an extra independent backup during times like OS upgrades or system rebuilds.

    My recommendation:

    1) Local backup to a Time Capsule using Time Machine. This is the only (affordable) NAS backup officially supported by Apple.
    2) Cloud backup to a cloud service provider. I personally think Crashplan+ is best... but there are several good options
    3) Optional: Make a periodic clone (I use CCC) of either your system, or your media (ex: photos)... onto a pair of external HDDs with the most recent always off-site. I personally only back-up my media, because it is the only irreplaceable data that I have.

    IMHO, #1 and #2 are required. They give you automated backup every hour for TM, and whatever you want for Crashplan + (I backup every 15 minutes). Recommendation #3 is optional... and should only be considerd after you implement #1 & #2.

    So you need a Time Capsule ($300 or so), a Crashplan subscription ( $5/month or so)... and optionally, a pair of external HDDs ($200 or so).

    /Jim
     
  5. mrjosh macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    #5
    iDrive

    I use an external for time machine backups and iDrive for off-site backup. I'm pretty happy with them; I've never had to use a backup from them so I can't comment on that. I think they may also offer a service to ship files on usb drive or cd. Price depends on how much data you have.
     
  6. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #6
    If your external is large enough, can you partition it and use the same device for both of the above?

    And if you don't have much data, the price is zero. I think the limit for free storage is 2GB. Of course, you could get there in a hurry if you have lots of photos.

    My system is to copy files to a series of flash drives. I have one for files, one for photos, and one for music. They stay in a drawer in the computer desk. So, if there's a fire or other disaster that destroys the computer, all my "backups" would perish as well.
     
  7. hiddenmarkov macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Japan
    #7


    what trust issues are you having? And how much is it worth for you to get trust?

    Dropbox can work pretty decent and free. Like other pay ones if you need more you can pay more. Most of these service will have a common security hole however. If needed their admins can access your data for most providers.

    I use arq ( http://www.haystacksoftware.com/arq/ ) . during account creation you will create a password you'd best remember. If you forget it, even you don't have access to your data. PITA or really good security...depends on your outlook here. I view it as the latter. Their software side encryption is such that thier admins can't get in either.


    Arq with amazon web services is pay as you use. More space you use, more you pay. barring amazon making 100's of bad business decisions I don't see them going chapter 13 and vanishing anytime soon so the data backbone I'd say is solid as well.
     
  8. Oldmanmac macrumors 6502

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    Mar 31, 2012
    #8

    For me, a good question. Can you?
     
  9. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #9
    Bad idea.... why do you want two backups on the same destination? HDDs are so cheap now that just get different drives.

    /Jim
     
  10. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #10
    Yes, you can and it will work fine. The only issue is, as flynz4 alluded to, you then hove both backups reliant on one drive.
     
  11. GanChan macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2005
    #11
    I just signed on with Wuala and encrypted/uploaded my critical business files there. What a relief to know I'm not depending on my creaky old external HD for backing up and restoring that info, and that I finally have a genuine off-site solution....

    I store my music files on Google Drive. I can't play them from that source; I just wanted a cloud archive for them, and I had 100G there thanks to my Chromebook purchase. I still have the files copied onto a HD and a USB drive as well, just in case. (I am NOT buying all that music again!)

    I do back up my essential business files to a USB drive too, and of course they're stored on my office Mini.
     
  12. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #12
    One more "Technically possible, but bad idea."

    The whole point of creating backups is to create copies of your irreplaceable data that will survive the various bad things that can wipe out that data.

    Having one backup copy is much much much much better than having no backup at all. My guess is that 90% of the time the backup will be needed to recover from a simple HDD failure. Having a cloned backup and TM on the same external HDD gives you the same degree of protection (and a little more convenience) as having just one or the other.

    However, having both on one external gives you no protection from the other data disasters that can take out both your system HDD and an external drive. A small water leak from the bathroom upstairs can create a puddle around your system and external HDD (doesn't have to be directly overhead - water can travel for many metres before finding a route to drip down). The cat knocks a shelf over. You accidentally format an entire external Disk instead of just a Volume.

    Then we get to very rare - yet plausible - data destroyers. A small fire in the kitchen (happens more often than you'd think) - house is fine but the fire department uses a lot of water... where's your office? Lightening strikes the neighbourhood and a power spike takes out some electronics. Thieves break in - take the computer and the external HDD sitting next to it... etc etc.

    There is a some convenience for having both a cloned and TM backup on a single HDD, but also make sure you have another cloned backup tucked away somewhere - not near the computer. I use a safety deposit box. If your data is not totally critical cloning to an external once a week may be enough. If you are paranoid, keep in mind that during the weekly backup session all of your data will be in one place and connected to the same electrical circuit. In my case I have spare external HDD to put into rotation so that I can keep doing backups while I wait for a new external HDD in the case of an external HDD failure.
     
  13. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #13
    If you consider $120 cheap, then I guess they are. That's an advertised price for a 2TB drive at Office Max. I don't want two backups. I just want a drive big enough to hold two backups.* TechTool Pro is telling me to make a clone so it can optimize. (Yeah, I know many people say you don't need to do that.) So I figured if I bought an external, why not buy one big enough to also hold a Time Machine backup? Currently, I just copy files to flash drives.

    The other thing is that my Mini is running slow. So if I make a clone, then I can do a clean install. Then I suppose I need to restore everything except the OS from the clone. I'm not sure if that's correct, or how to go about it though.

    *Reminds me of the old joke... A guy tells his buddy he wishes he had enough money to buy two elephants. The buddy asks what he would do with the elephants. The guy replies that he wouldn't buy them, he just wants that much money.
     
  14. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #14
    I guess it is a matter of perspective. Yes... I consider $120 to be "free"... but I understand that others may look at things differently.

    BTW: Looking on Amazon, I see 2TB drives for $80... which is still "free".

    The real point that I am trying to make is that to protect your data... you need to back up to a variety of destinations. Backing up twice to a single destination is of minimal value over backing up once to single destination... however, there is some value.

    Also consider that you really should have offsite backup. I personally think that using the cloud is best for offsite... but in addition to cloud, I also use a pair of HDDs for my manual backup. Note that you need a minimum of two HDDs if you want one of these manually backed-up drives to always be offsite.

    /Jim
     
  15. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #15
    I think you mean "cheap". But yeah..

    Thanks for your concern, but I'm good. I do have my most important files stored on the "cloud" as well, using IDrive. Over the years, I've lost a few files that were on my "backup" but corrupted.
     
  16. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #16
    Follow up question (as it appears the OP's concerns were addressed in the first couple of replies):
    How much space is required for a Time Machine backup? That is, is there a rule of thumb for "extra" space needed beyond the accumulated size of all files being backed up? Say you just back up the Documents folder. Do you need to have more space available than the size of that folder?

    Having not used Time Machine as yet, I don't know what options are available. For those who use it, what do you back up? Then the "how much space is needed" question again...
     
  17. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #17
    If one wants to work with multiple backup drives (a good idea), one can spend as little as $20 and get a USB3/SATA dock. And then just use "bare" drives with the single dock.

    Many choices can be found by going to amazon.com and entering "usb3 sata dock" into the search box.

    For $20, you can find this:
    http://www.amazon.com/Syba-Docking-...395501341&sr=8-2&keywords=syba+usb3+sata+dock

    For $25, this:
    http://plugable.com/products/usb3-sata-u3

    There are dual docks, docks that can "clone" one drive to another, even 4-bay docks.

    For backing up or general "drive juggling", you can beat these things...
     
  18. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #18
    Time Machine is not just a 'back up' solution, it also allows you go back to an earlier version of file or to a file that you have recently deleted. Since it keeps both the current version of a file plus any changed version, as well as deleted versions - TM needs more space than the originals. I don't know the rule of thumb for how much bigger - but once a TM disk becomes full it deletes the oldest versions. The bigger the TM disk the longer a file will be kept before it is cycled out. Just to note... if a file is not changed, TM does not copy it each time...it merely makes a note of the file's location during each backup cycle.

    Unless you have very specific needs... just let TM backup the default set of folders... which includes far more than just your documents. The more you mess with OS X default behaviours - unless you know what you are doing - the more trouble you make for yourself. If you want a second copy of just your documents then you want a non-versioning backup solution. I use both TM and SuperDuper! (which creates a bootable cloned backup). A cloned backup HDD is also stored off-site. Besides SuperDuper! there is also CarbonCopyCloner. There is are probably others, but those are two most users here seem to talk about most.
     
  19. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #19
    Thanks for that explanation. I just did a quick search to try to discover what the default set includes, but although I was on Apple's Time Machine "manual" page, I didn't see it. I'm just trying to figure out what size external drive I would need if I decide to get one, looking ahead to my next Mac, which could have a 1TB hard drive.

    As my earlier posts indicate, I would want to partition off slightly more than 1TB as space for creating a clone with TechTool Pro. My only interest in doing that is so that I can fully use TTP optimization routines. The rest of the external I figured I could use for Time Machine backups. I will still have my Documents on flash drives and on IDrive online.
     
  20. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    California
    #20
    There is no hard rule here, but I can give some idea of how this works, then you can decide what you want.

    First of all, the size of the Time Machine (TM) backup drive is only indirectly related to the size of your Mac's internal drive. So just because you have a 2TB internal drive does not necessarily mean to you need a 2TB or larger for backup. All that matters is how much data you have, or plan to have, on the internal.

    So let's say you have a 2TB internal and it has 200GB of total space used. Say you don't save a lot to the drive and you figure in the coming years you might only add on maybe another 50GB or so in photos and music or whatever. So you would then potentially be using maybe 250GB of space. Time Machine keeps "versions" of changed files and stores deleted files also, so usually you would want to allow 1.5X to 2X the amount of space used on the internal for Time Machine backup space on the external. So using my example of a potential 250GB used a 500GB external drive would typically give you more than enough space for a full backup plus a good amount of versioning of old files.

    What happens as these versions accumulate and the backup drives gets full, Time Machine will start to purge out older versions of files, but it will always keep the most current version.

    A user like myself, I just add some MP3s and photos and add/change a document now and then, so not much Time Machine space is used up storing versions.

    But if say you work with a large 2GB video file and the original gets saved to Time Machine, then you edit and save that 2GB file over and over throughout the day, each saved version would get grabbed by the TM hourly backup and could really eat into the space used on the external. You could have maybe eight versions of this 2GB file taking up a total 16GB of space on the external. This is an extreme usage example just to help understand how TM works.
     
  21. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #21
    Thanks, that's useful. I'm a "light" user. So I'd say a 2TB external would be fine for my needs, which, to repeat, are 1.1TB for TechTool Pro to use as a clone partition, and the rest for Time Machine. (I'm assuming that the .1 would be enough extra space to clone a 1TB hard drive, especially one that is not maxed out.)
     
  22. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #22
    I don't use Tech Tool Pro, but from looking at their web site it looks like that clone tool would only need a partition as large as the space used on the source drive. So kind of the same issue as with Time Machine. If you drive is only using 500GB then the clone would only need that. It looks like Tech Tool Pro also loads some recovery utilities on the clone also, so you might want to check with them to see if you need to leave some space for that.
     
  23. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #23
    From the TTP manual:

    To create a Duplicate clone, select Duplicate Cloning from
    the drop-down menu. Only disks or partitions larger than
    the source partition will be available as a destination for
    the clone.

    I took that literally. But you're saying if I have a 1TB drive and it's only half full, all I need is 500GB. Of course, if it's half full now, it could need more space next year...
     
  24. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #24
    Exactly.
     

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