Is a ZIP Archive file good for backups?

Traverse

macrumors 604
Original poster
Mar 11, 2013
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I know this may seem like a foolish question, but I wanted to get confirmation from people who have a greater knowledge than me.

ZIP files are lossless meaning that zipping pictures, videos, and documents shouldn’t degrade the quality of the images at all correct?

I am working on a cloud backup solution. I am not zipping files to save space (zipping media rarely recovers much space) but I have an Automator workflow that zips selected files and folders and names them with the date. It’s just easier to manage one zipped file for each type of backup than to backup, say, 200 pictures as 200 separate images. Basically, zipping just keeps things cleaner and more organized as long as it won’t degrade quality or create sync issues when uploaded to a cloud service.

Thank you.
 

cr2

macrumors regular
Feb 19, 2011
187
3
tar / rsync

I prefer tar, but I use only macs and unix. You may also want to look at rsync. Both are easy to use but as always test your backups & procedures.
 

FluffyBunny

macrumors newbie
Mar 1, 2015
12
0
I know this may seem like a foolish question, but I wanted to get confirmation from people who have a greater knowledge than me.

ZIP files are lossless meaning that zipping pictures, videos, and documents shouldn’t degrade the quality of the images at all correct?

I am working on a cloud backup solution. I am not zipping files to save space (zipping media rarely recovers much space) but I have an Automator workflow that zips selected files and folders and names them with the date. It’s just easier to manage one zipped file for each type of backup than to backup, say, 200 pictures as 200 separate images. Basically, zipping just keeps things cleaner and more organized as long as it won’t degrade quality or create sync issues when uploaded to a cloud service.

Thank you.
To get the same workflow but still have access to the contents of the archive without uncompressing it, make the folder into a compressed .dmg file.

That way you can just double click on it to mount it, view the contents and drag out what you want.

Also the .zip7 gives the best compression for storage but is slower to create and uncompress and not everything knows how to read it.

Keep in mind some things don't compress, or barely compress so aren't worth compressing, e.g. collections of .jpegs, videos, music. Text compresses extremely well.
 

Traverse

macrumors 604
Original poster
Mar 11, 2013
6,727
2,925
Here
To get the same workflow but still have access to the contents of the archive without uncompressing it, make the folder into a compressed .dmg file.

Keep in mind some things don't compress, or barely compress so aren't worth compressing, e.g. collections of .jpegs, videos, music. Text compresses extremely well.
I've heard that upload disk images can sometimes cause corruption.

Also, I'm not zipping to save space. I'm zipping because one zip file labeled "X Vacation" is easier to manage than 200 jpegs from that trip.
 

FluffyBunny

macrumors newbie
Mar 1, 2015
12
0
Immaterial.

Both .dmg or zip files can get corrupted and that is not because of the format but because you have put all your eggs in one basket on a hard disk or other medium which can fail.

Personally I haven't come across a .dmg file that has failed on me in the 30 years I have used them. Had quite a few RAR, TAR and even zip files go south.
 

campyguy

macrumors 68040
Mar 21, 2014
3,415
932
I do like the ZIP archive format, however, there's a big "however".

The default "format" on all of the newer Macs or Mac OS installs is the "compressed archive" file format application preference - it's perfect if you're archiving and opening ZIP files on the same Mac, but it's a poor option if your sending/linking-to ZIP files or transmitting them to others.

I sent a ZIP file to one of my attorneys from my new Mac and it just cut his network to its knees - his Windows server didn't understand what they file was despite the .ZIP suffix.

I realized I had not changed the Archive Utility ZIP file format to "Zip format" on my newer Mac. Oops. I changed my application preferences, re-emailed the ZIP files, and all worked fine after that. Screen shot below of my options that work cross-platform and across computers.
 

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