Backup Plan needed urgently

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Karlosthejackal, Apr 3, 2015.

  1. Karlosthejackal, Apr 3, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2015

    Karlosthejackal macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2015
    Location:
    Dublin
    #1
    Hi there, I only recently bought my Mac OSX after two PC laptops died in quick succession. The Mac has only 251GB flash storage, so I use a portable 2TB Seagate drive (formatted FAT32 so it would work on both the college Mac's and my PC at home) to store everything like my Lightroom catalogue and photos, Photoshop files, and Premier Pro Projects and movies, as well as all my documents and research for my dissertation. Just before the PC's died I bought a 3TB Seagate desktop drive (formatted to exFAT as FAT32 is limited to 2TB), and saved everything off them as well in the nick of time. When both PC's did die, I used drag and drop to transfer everything on the 3TB to the portable 2TB as well, which meant that a few months ago everything was successfully duplicated on the 3TB and 2TB drives. But in the past 3 months I've done quite a bit of work on the 2TB drive which I use to work between the college Mac's and at home on my own Mac. So if the 2TB did die anytime soon I'd be in trouble.

    Can someone help me figure out a backup plan that can backup from the 2TB to the 3TB regularly; because since nothing is saved on the Mac at home, I believe that means Time Machine is useless, yes? A tutor in college recommended ChronoSynch, but reading reviews it seems some operations that are simple in other programs are quite complicated here.

    Is there a way that I can tell a backup application to leave everything as it is on the 3TB drive, and just backup anything new on the 2TB drive? Or do I need to start with a freshly formatted drive before any program can make it's first backup?

    Sorry for the novel. Any help is greatly appreciated.

    [edit: I'm also looking for recommendations for cloud storage, just in case of the worst case scenario, eg: fire/theft/accident. I Again, my tutor recommended Crashplan, and I would like opinions on this. I've also considered Google's Nearline Cloud storage. Ideally what I need is for the cloud storage to backup the most recent files from either the 3TB or 2TB depending on which is most recent.]
     
  2. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #2
    I'll start with CrashPlan - for me it has been great. I have the family plan so it backs up all our computers as well as my brother's PC (I can't trust to do it himself). Works transparently in the background. I have 5 computers with over 2TB of data backed up on their servers. The plan wasn't cheap - $400+ for a 4 year subscription but cheaper than a bunch of drives and the hassle of dealing with my own off-site plan. I think a single computer plan is about $50 per year. You will need a good internet connection.

    The best backup is the one you don't have to mess with. That's why I use Time Machine. You will need a HFS formatted drive to use for it. My suggestion is to use the 2TB drive for archive and stuff too large to fit on your SSD in the Mac. Setup the 3TB drive as a Time Machine backup that covers both the internal and the external drive. At some point consider another large external drive and rotate between the two Time Machine drives for redundancy.

    The Time Machine backups help mostly with stupid user tricks where you accidentally delete the wrong files or overwrite them. The CrashPlan backup is for major disasters like my house burning down or all our equipment getting stolen.

    Does your university offer any storage for students? My alma mater provides a modest amount of storage so students can get to their work from any device on campus. My son's school offered something similar. Great for all those projects in progress.
     
  3. Karlosthejackal thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2015
    Location:
    Dublin
    #3
    Hi Glen, thank you so much for all the information. Can you clarify a few further things for me please?
    $50 a year is a pittance compared to the situation in 2 months when I'm ready to submit the fruits of 4 years of hard work for my degree and I lose everything in some sort of disaster.

    What I might not have made clear is that there is nothing on the Mac's internal drive (except the occasional word doc or something that I need to download in chrome so it can be printed as I cannot print directly from google drive). And there won't ever be anything on it either as I need the flexibility of carrying my 2TB portable drive between college and home to work in both places. The 2TB drive is therefore not just for 'archive', it is essentially the main drive with the lightroom catalog and photoshop and premier projects that are used daily. So does that make Time Machine redundant since what I need is an app that backs up my 2TB drive to the 3TB drive? It's the 3TB drive that is going to be my 'archive' or backup. If Time Machine can do this, then I have the other issue of formatting the 3TB drive and losing everything because it couldn't be HFS when I wanted to save everything off my PC's before they died, it had to be exFAT to circumvent the 2TB limit in FAT32.

    You mentioned getting another 3TB and rotating between the 3TB's for redundancy. Could you explain what you mean by this please? Do you mean that 3TB drive #1 (that I have now) is the backup of the 2TB, and that 3TB drive #2 will be the backup of 3TB #1? In that case should I not need to permantently keep both 3TB connected to the Mac, and setup either Crash Plan or Time Machine to backup only whenever the 2TB drive is connected?

    Also if I'm running both Crash Plan and Time Machine, will there be conflicts when both are trying to do internal backups? From my understanding with Crash Plan, you can't opt for just the off-site cloud storage/backup plan, leaving Time Machine in charge of internal backups, it comes as a package along with their internal backup plan. Am I mistaken? And could you explain how Crash Plan works on your system pkease? My understanding of Time Machine is that it backs up hourly, and this would be a God send in the case of accidents like deleting or over-writing the wrong file like you mentioned. But does Crash Plan work the same, or does it only scan for files that have changed every day/week whatever?

    Anyway, no matter which plan I'm using I see the sense in your suggestion to get another 3TB drive. It's risky having all my eggs in one basket so to speak. I could possibly do what one of my tutors mentioned in 1st year, and setup the 3TB drive #2 to backup the 3TB drive #1 once a month, and when it's backed up each month remove it from my house and store it off-site (say another family members house) that way I will only lose access to 1 month of data in case of fire/theft/other disaster. And I will also have the Crash Plan cloud storage to fall back on.

    I don't trust any of the college networks as the files get routinely cleared without notice to free up space. I only save documents there in an emergency on the day of a deadline when I've left something at home and I can't make it there before the deadline. I make sure to backup to a usb key also and as soon as I get home transfer to my 2TB drive. Besides the space offered on the college network is pitiful, and doesn't cater for anything space hungry like video.

    Again apologies for the novel, I'm just concerned that I've been living dangerously with no real backup plan; and with the final college deadline looming, I'm afraid of what might be if some disaster occurred.
     
  4. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #4
    Long post but you describe your needs well. Time Machine can be used to backup an external drive but you will have to do some reading on how to set it up. My original advice still applies, you will want the 2TB portable drive to be backed up to the 3TB drive.

    CrashPlan provides a client that can backup to multiple destinations. These include local attached drives, other computers, and CrashPlan's cloud storage. I am using it only to backup to their cloud. It has no conflicts with Time Machine. The files go to different destinations. You can use the CrashPlan client to backup the 2TB drive to the 3TB drive in addition to their cloud. My preference for using Time Machine is to have two distinct methods so that a software glitch in one product won't jeopardize all my backups. I'm so bad about it I use 3 methods - Time Machine, Carbon Copy Cloner, and CrashPlan. The CCC clone provides me a bootable drive I can use on almost any Mac like my wife's iMac.

    CrashPlan has options to configure your backups any way you like. Mine is currently set to backup new versions of files every 15 minutes. I do turn it off when traveling and my only connection is my iPhone hotspot - I don't want to burn up all my data allowance. You can download the CrashPlan client for free and use it to backup to local drives and friends/family computers for no cost. You only pay when you want to use their storage. Just checked the prices and is varies from $6 per month (pay month to month) to $4 per month (pay for 4 years all at once). I paid $430 for 4 years of backups for up to 10 computers.

    Back to Time Machine and multiple drives. You can configure it to backup to multiple destinations - call them backup#1 and backup#2. If both are connected, backups will alternate between the two. If one is disconnected (off site) then the backup will only go to the connected drive. My normal Time Machine backup goes to a Mac Mini server on my network. I have another drive that I connect periodically and take with me when traveling so I can back up to a local drive. I connect it when at home just so it is current.
     
  5. Karlosthejackal thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2015
    Location:
    Dublin
    #5
    From the following video demo it seems pretty straightforward setting up TM to backup the 2TB external to another 3TB external: http://www.danielsato.com/blog/2014/08/26/using-time-machine-to-backup-an-external-drive/
    Is there anything else that needs to be setup in the settings, or is this all I need to do?
    I have just bought another 3TB Seagate expansion drive, I avoided the more expensive 3TB Backup Plus drive as the only difference I could see was the Backup Plus drive has a backup application installed. But this is redundant since I'll be formatting the drive clean to Mac OS extended so it works with TM anyway. I thought that I could therefore use TM to backup the 2TB drive as well as the internal drive (as it has all my downloaded apps including the Adobe CC suite, which would be a pain to get back if the drive died) to the new 3TB Seagate expansion drive.

    And just to keep things separated and easy to avoid mistakes I wonder if it's possible to use the existing 3TB drive (that I backed up my PC's and 2TB drive on) to continue to backup the 2TB using CrashPlan, as well as using their cloud storage.

    I asked the CP support if it's possible to add to the existing backup on the 3TB drive formatted to exFAT, or if I need to make my first backup on a freshly formatted drive. Haven't heard back from them as it's Easter weekend. But I'd be curious to hear your opinion Glen. Also, does my plan sound like it's a decent backup strategy, or do I have any flaws in the plan?

    One last question: when TM or CP are backing up the 2TB drive to either of the 3TB drives or the cloud, does that mean I can't use the 2TB drive (ie: can I continue working away on the Lightroom catalog or other projects on that drive while backing up is going on?). Also when I'm finished working on something and I need to leave the house with the 2TB immediately to get into college, but there's a backup happening, do I have to wait for the backup to finish or can I just eject the drive as normal? Afaik the backup should just pause wherever it is, and it will pick up where it left off once I get home again and plug in the 2TB drive again. Is this correct?
     
  6. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #6
    No - that pretty well covers it.


    Good solution. Depending on the volatility of your data, you typically want the Time Machine drive to be about double the size of the drive(s) to be backed up. If the drive isn't heavily used or has a lot of static files, you can easily get by with less.

    I'm guessing that CrashPlan won't be able to use the existing backup as a base because it encrypts backups before sending them out of the machine. It will be interesting to here what they say.

    No problem interrupting a Time Machine or CrashPlan backup. They will see this and pick up where they left off.
     
  7. Karlosthejackal thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2015
    Location:
    Dublin
    #7
    Great news, thanks
    Phew! thank goodness I didn't open the 3TB package yet, I'll bring it back and ask for an upgrade to the 4TB tomorrow in that case.
    In that case I'm probably going to have to transfer everything off my current 3TB onto the new 3TB or 4TB tomorrow if I can exchange it, just temporarily until I can setup CP properly. My question then would be: if I ask CP to encrypt and backup everything stored temporarily on the new 4TB back onto the freshly formatted 3TB, a lot of the files on the 3TB are the same as the 2TB portable drive. So can I then ask CP to add to the backup from the 4TB to the 3TB I've setup except this time switch the backup from the 2TB onto the 3TB?
    Good to know, I assume if it can stop mid-backup and pick up where it left off, this means that I can safely work on files and projects on the source 2TB drive when it's connected to the mac, even when there's a backup in progress in the background?
     
  8. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    #8
    CrashPlan is good at de-duplicating files that are already in the backup. So anything that is on both the 4TB drive and the 2TB drive will only be backed up once.

    I'm not sure if this is relevant (you have made some very deep posts with respect to information density), but there is also a method by which CrashPlan can adopt an old backup. This is especially useful when you get a new machine. CrashPlan will analyze the files in the archive and on your machine and start backing up new files to the same (old) archive. A huge win over TM, where each computer gets it's own TM archive.
     
  9. Karlosthejackal thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2015
    Location:
    Dublin
    #9
    So I don't need to transfer everything from the 3TB to the new 4TB, just so I can format the 3TB and start a fresh encrypted backup on the 3TB using CP then, no? I've tried to find a tutorial on backing up external drives on CP's site, but the closest I've gotten is how to 'adopt' a new computer if you upgrade.

    Another question I can't find an answer to on their site:
    I tried to backup using some free software before on my old PC, but the issue with using that software was it didn't specifically recognise the drive that was attached to the PC, it only identified the USB port the drive was attached to. This meant that when a backup was scheduled and I accidentally had a different drive or USB key attached to that USB port at the time it would backup to the wrong drive. Does TM and CP recognise the drive or the USB port?
     
  10. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #10
    TM recognizes the drive. I have a USB3 drive that I use with my Caldigit dock at home but with the internal USB2 port when traveling. No problems and it never tried to backup to other devices like thumb drives.
     
  11. Karlosthejackal thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2015
    Location:
    Dublin
    #11
    I got a reply from CrashPlan support, and you were right glen, they said that i cannot add to my rudimentary backup on the 3TB drive. I need to start fresh by backing up the 3TB drive to my new 5TB drive, then reformat the 3TB and start a new CP backup.

    So, I tried to format the new 5TB drive from NTFS to Mac OS extended journaled (so it will work with Time Machine once this temporary backup is finished on the 3TB drive), and I got an error:
    The only solution I could find was when in the partition tab in disk utility I clicked on options, and changed 'Master Boot Drive' to either 'GUID partition table' or 'Apple partition map'.
    Can someone tell me which of these options I need to use when formatting the 5TB so it will work to write to and will work with Time Machine?
     
  12. Karlosthejackal thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2015
    Location:
    Dublin
    #12
    I found a solution to whether I select GUID or Apple partition here:

    https://support.apple.com/fr-lu/HT203191
    To find out if you're using a PowerPC or Intel based mac, Goto > Apple > About this Mac > (The Processor is listed, Intel in my case)
    That means I should select GUID partition table.
     

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