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View Full Version : Internet backup - now I'm intrigued



Perks
09-27-2007, 04:34 AM
I was reading the thread where one of ours lost a lot of files, including two novels from his hard drive. JA Konrath mentioned 'internet backup' - so I went poking around.

I found a number of free ones and I was wondering, from those who know these things, what are the down sides of using something like:

http://www.drivehq.com/backup/

or

http://www.xdrive.com/

It sounds terrific. I'm pretty good about backing up my writing, but not without occasional lapses.

So tell me, those who know, what's the scoop?

scribbler1382
09-27-2007, 05:17 AM
Downsides:

Things offered for free by companies can be taken away without notice.
Sending data over the net takes a helluva lot longer than burning a disk, plugging in a jump drive or pressing the instant backup button on an external hard drive.
If your Internet connection goes down, you have no backup (and worse, no restore).
You have to have a huge modicum of faith that your data isn't being mined for things like email addresses, phone numbers, etc.
You get what you pay for.
[/exiting Luddite mode]

Kendra
09-27-2007, 05:59 AM
Never trust a hard drive alone. I did that once and had many files -- with no backup -- wiped out. Now I record everything on a floppy disk and CD, then make 3 or 4 copies. I put one of each in a safe deposit box. It's worth the money, for the peace of mind. (I'm neurotic :-) I also, generally, do a print out as well. And I have an old computer, which has most of my files too.

Before I rented the safe deposit box, I used to email files to an Excite account. But I feel sufficiently covered now, that I don't bother. I was never really comfortable with that idea anyway.

I think it's important to not only keep lots of backup in different media, electronic and hard copy, but to also keep a copy of everything away from one's home as well. Leaving this with a friend or relative is not really such a great idea. Stuff can get lost etc. Hence, the safe deposit box. It's the next best thing to Fort Knox. :-)

Ziljon
09-27-2007, 06:25 AM
If you get a .mac account (for e-mail), it comes with a 100mb idisk--a virtual backup disk.

It's great; you can use it to synchronize your Safari favorites, your date book, and contact book if you have more than one computer, as well as using it to backup your wip.:)

Perks
09-27-2007, 06:26 AM
If you get a .mac account (for e-mail), it comes with a 100mb idisk--a virtual backup disk.

It's great; you can use it to synchronize your Safari favorites, your date book, and contact book if you have more than one computer, as well as using it to backup your wip.:)
Waaah. Are you even speaking English?

Ziljon
09-27-2007, 06:29 AM
Waaah. Are you even speaking English?

ich bin ein berliner ;)

veinglory
09-27-2007, 06:43 AM
du clearly bist eine Tortilla

sorry, not derailing. I am interested too. Even if not 100% reliable it seems like a good, um, backup.

Medievalist
09-27-2007, 07:13 AM
If you get a .mac account (for e-mail), it comes with a 100mb idisk--a virtual backup disk.

It's great; you can use it to synchronize your Safari favorites, your date book, and contact book if you have more than one computer, as well as using it to backup your wip.:)

.Mac is a gig, that's 1000 MB, and a bit.

Medievalist
09-27-2007, 07:15 AM
Waaah. Are you even speaking English?

Xdrive, like .Mac, is a sort of "virtual" hard drive. On Macs there's a program to let you automatically back up files on schedule. Windows users have to drag and drop the files.

You might also think about a free Google account, and emailing important files to the account.

There are also Internet based backup services that you subscribe too, for a fee, and they automatically back up files.

Jamesaritchie
09-27-2007, 07:16 AM
I back everything up online, to DVD, and to a second hard drive.

I'll only disagree with Scribbler1382 on a couple of small things. It's generally faster backing up online than it is to burn a disk, at least for me. It's two quick clicks, a drag and drop.

And if I worried that much about data mining, I wouldn't be online. I couldn't be online, if I worried that much. And I sure don't put any information on a manuscript stored online that would be useful to anyone, anyway. There isn't even an e-mail address attached, though I can't see how it would matter in the least. The manuscripts are stored in an online folder, not attached to an e-mail.

The nice thing about online storage is that I can work on it from anywhere, using any computer, and without the need to have a flash drive or a disk with me. I don't even need a computer that has a word processor on it.

Perks
09-27-2007, 07:16 AM
.Mac is a gig, that's 1000 MB, and a bit.
Yes. And lemon curd on muffins for storks. Thank you.

Perks
09-27-2007, 07:17 AM
Lol! I'm just a lowly PC user.

Leva
10-05-2007, 03:49 AM
Re: multiple backup copies.

Yes.

Never trust a hard drive.

Yes.

I had a hard drive that was misbehaving in obvious ways. I expected it was about to die. So I grabbed my trusty zip disk (this was awhile ago), backed everything up that was recent (older stuff already backed up), set the zip disk down on a coffee table, shut off the computer, and was quite proud of myself for saving my data.

I set the zip disk down on a coffee table next to a glass of soda.

I have cats.

You can see where this is going.

The computer gave me a bios screen when I tried to reboot it.

It, and the still-sticky zip disk, are sitting on a high shelf in my house, seven years later. There's a complete novel in there. Someday, I'll pay someone to retrieve it. Le Sigh.

I use CDs now to make backups. They survive being doused in liquid better. I also make backups to an external hard drive. I back story type things up to Firefox News's server if they're very critical -- it's located 2,000 miles away. Financial type things I really should get a safe deposit box for.

-- Leva



Never trust a hard drive alone. I did that once and had many files -- with no backup -- wiped out. Now I record everything on a floppy disk and CD, then make 3 or 4 copies. I put one of each in a safe deposit box. It's worth the money, for the peace of mind. (I'm neurotic :-) I also, generally, do a print out as well. And I have an old computer, which has most of my files too.

Before I rented the safe deposit box, I used to email files to an Excite account. But I feel sufficiently covered now, that I don't bother. I was never really comfortable with that idea anyway.

I think it's important to not only keep lots of backup in different media, electronic and hard copy, but to also keep a copy of everything away from one's home as well. Leaving this with a friend or relative is not really such a great idea. Stuff can get lost etc. Hence, the safe deposit box. It's the next best thing to Fort Knox. :-)

Kudra
10-05-2007, 04:16 PM
I use Carbonite.com. I can't be bothered to back-up every single day, every single version of every single file. $50 a year. Saves me time, headaches, and eventually, when my computer crashes, a lot of tears and money.

Lance_in_Shanghai
10-13-2007, 07:51 AM
The "Dot Mac (.Mac)" account is for anyone, not only for Mac users. It costs $99.95 per year. Some features work with any system, such as the iDisk. Others are limited to Mac OS and that includes the Backup application. If you have some other Windows backup application, it may work fine with a WebDAV server (iDisk server).

WriterGirl2007
10-24-2007, 12:32 AM
This is a great thread! I'm interested in backing up my files online also. I'll have to look into this more.

maestrowork
10-24-2007, 01:09 AM
I have a .Mac/iDisk account (Medievalist is right -- they just increased the quota to 1GB). I also have google drive (Google account gives you 2GB). I also back up on DVDs and USB drives, SD cards. I also have an external 250GB hard drive.

I don't back up "EVERYTHING" like applications, etc. but most important files such as e-mail, documents, WIPs, etc. are backed up via these various ways. Always have redundancy and copies of copies. Can't be too sure.

the Mac Backup utility (with an .Mac account) can back up to anything (DVD, hard drive, iDisk) and can be set up to back up every day or every week or whatever. It's automatic (if you back up online, obviously you need an always-on Internet connection), and there's versioning. I can restore a file from 05/15/2006 if I want. Love it. I have set it to backup all my documents and photos, etc. every week, but all my WIPS every day.

ChunkyC
10-25-2007, 09:11 PM
External hard drives have become so cheap I'm going to get one for my home network. I can snag a 250 gig model for about $80 and a 500 gigabyte drive is around $150.

Windows XP has a built in backup program that you can schedule to backup to tape or file. Otherwise, you'd need to get a separate program to do a backup that will properly save and restore your system state as well as all your files. XP Pro has the backup program already installed, but if you have your XP Home disk, you can use that to install the backup program.

XP Backup (http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/setup/learnmore/bott_03july14.mspx)

Detailed instructions on installing the backup program on XP Home (http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/setup/maintain/backupsw.mspx)

scribbler1382
10-25-2007, 11:25 PM
Free is cool, no doubt, but be sure that whatever you backup you can restore. I haven't used it recently, but a few years ago (okay, a lot) I was using MS Backup as my backup program. I had a problem and needed to restore some files and discovered the whole backup set was flakey. Disks were fine. Just an FYI. Nothing against MS in particular, but be sure you can do both sides of the backup equation before automating it and forgetting about it.

maestrowork
10-26-2007, 12:25 AM
The new Mac OS (Leopard) is going to have automatic backup built in. Once you set up (can back up to any external drive or iDisk, etc.) you don't have to worry about it anymore -- it just does it automatically with versioning, etc. They call it "Time Machine" I believe -- cuz you can go back in time and restore anything you want.

I plan to hook it up a 250GB external firewire drive. Then I'll just do periodic Internet/jump drive backups for redundancy.

maestrowork
10-29-2007, 10:52 PM
BTW, if you have an .Mac account, iDisk is now 10GB -- 5GB for mail and 5GB for file storage/backup.

girlyswot
03-21-2008, 03:35 AM
Just to add, if anyone's still interested in this FAQ that automatic internet based back-up doesn't have to cost you anything. I use Mozy (http://www.mozy.com)'s free service and I love it. You can schedule the automatic backups in the way that suits you best, and I've never come close to exceeding my memory limit - if you do go over, you can pay for more storage space. I know that it's not 100% reliable but it's a whole lot better than me intending to back up on an external drive and never quite getting round to it, which is the only realistic alternative, I'm afraid. When I got my new computer last summer, I used the backed up files at Mozy to download onto it and it was by far the easiest transfer I've ever done.

Perks
03-30-2008, 04:38 AM
I'm signing up for Mozy as we speak. Thanks for the tip! It seems very user-friendly.

Okay, now that it's done - everyone should do this. It's free and it could end the gut-wrenching posts of massive work losses that we get from time to time here.

I wish I'd had it a few months ago when my crazy-assed camera ripped my entire 'My Documents' folder into oblivion.

ChunkyC
04-04-2008, 11:40 PM
On my XP laptop, I avoid the My Documents folder like the plaque. The reason? It's a special folder, and it belongs to the user who is logged in. If you have three users set up on the same computer, each with their own username, they each have their own, separate, My Documents folder.

With me so far? Cool. Here's where it gets ugly:

If a user's profile gets corrupted, you won't be able to log in and therefore your My Documents folder won't be accessible. It is possible to get at it when logged in as another user, but it takes some spelunking.

Even if you have only one user set up, that user's profile could get corrupted.

So, I always create a Documents folder elsewhere on my hard drive and stash everything important in there. A normal folder will be visible to any user on the system. This works for me since I'm the only user, but it isn't practical for parents, say, who want to keep their stuff away from the kids and so set up two users for that purpose knowing that one user can't see the other's My Documents folder. That's where backup, backup, backup really should be your mantra.

DWSTXS
04-04-2008, 11:42 PM
I just e-mail my WIP to myself using my yahoo account. I have a folder designated for Novel Backup.

Perks
04-04-2008, 11:44 PM
I also email backups to my gmail, but I tell you, this automatic update with Mozy is awesome.

Julie Worth
04-04-2008, 11:59 PM
I use Carbonite.com. I can't be bothered to back-up every single day, every single version of every single file. $50 a year. Saves me time, headaches, and eventually, when my computer crashes, a lot of tears and money.

I do as well. It's nice that you don't have to do anything, as it searches for files to back up and does it all without asking you.

tallus83
04-05-2008, 12:45 AM
I was unaware of that possibility, Chunky.

I'll have to create a separate Docs folder per your comment.

CrissyM
05-29-2009, 09:09 AM
There was something in a PC mag a bit ago about CD's having an expiration date... In other words after a while they failed to be readable. The information got corrupted.

I suppose if you regularly make backups then this won't effect you. But if you just expect it to be there years down the road... you might have issues.

Perhaps several formats would be the best option. Flash, second harddrive, CDs, and maybe some online.

I still wonder what to do with all my home movies on the computer.... Too much for any DVD.

CrissyM
05-29-2009, 09:15 AM
If a user's profile gets corrupted, you won't be able to log in and therefore your My Documents folder won't be accessible. It is possible to get at it when logged in as another user, but it takes some spelunking..

I had a similar problom. When the whole computer started having issues and the main hard drive crashed we took the hard drive out and put in a new one expecting to recover documents as an external hard drive.

He had put a password on his profile, then taken it off. But when we tried hooking the hard drive up as an external hard drive (which has always worked before) we were unable to get into his documents because they were still passworded.

My documents, and all the movies and such on the other hard drive were find, but my tax papers in his documents were lost and unrecoverable.

redcedar
10-22-2009, 06:00 AM
Like everybody else, I do multiple backups, but I've taken to using JungleDisk (http://www.jungledisk.com) as my preferred offsite backup system for several reasons:
1. I'm paying for it, which means that it's much less likely to vanish unexpectedly.
2. I can do password encryption on it. Which is mostly important because I'm paranoid. But since I'm paying for backups, I might as well put my taxes in there as well, in which case I really do want password encryption.
3. It runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, and up until the hard drive in my Windows machine died on me, I used all three.

It's $30 for the software, flat fee, and then $0.15 cents per *gigabyte* of data transferred per month. Since I do most of my writing in plaintext, you can imagine the size of my monthly bill. The Amazon S3 cloud was set up for businesses, really, but it's nice that they let normal users take advantage of it. And you can set it to back up automatically, in the background. (You can also throttle the connection so that your normal internet activities don't suffer too badly.)

So, if you're looking for something a little more secure, it's an option. (There's a lot of other options that back stuff up to the Amazon cloud, btw, I just find JungleDisk's user interface to be very simple.)

Matera the Mad
10-23-2009, 05:37 AM
A properly cared for CD can outlast the person who burned it. Heat and light are the main enemies.

Up until last month, online backup of anything but small stuff would have been impossible for me. I'm still not terribly interested in it, except for updating the secret WIP stash on my own website -- very small stuff.

Paying for something doesn't guarantee stability. Businesses change hands, go under, or just change. Multiple online backups might be halfway reliable.

Dave.C.Robinson
01-19-2010, 02:17 AM
For the moment, I use Dropbox. 2GB is free and it automatically syncs to the cloud and across multiple computers.

Margarita Skies
04-23-2010, 07:54 PM
For the moment, I use Dropbox. 2GB is free and it automatically syncs to the cloud and across multiple computers.


That is great. I might try either this or Mozy within the next couple days...and I will continue to burn my files onto CD's, just in case the online-backup thing turns out not to work out like I expected.

Kateness
04-23-2010, 07:57 PM
Yeah. I use dropbox as well, and also GoogleDocs. And once a month, I burn a CD of everything I've written.

No complaints at all about Dropbox; if it's only documents you're saving, you're going to have to try fairly hard to get past that 2GB mark. Mine is only 224 MB and there's several thousand docs in there, as I recall.

Margarita Skies
04-25-2010, 04:17 AM
Yeah. I use dropbox as well, and also GoogleDocs. And once a month, I burn a CD of everything I've written.

No complaints at all about Dropbox; if it's only documents you're saving, you're going to have to try fairly hard to get past that 2GB mark. Mine is only 224 MB and there's several thousand docs in there, as I recall.


I just signed up for Mozy yesterday, and it's awesome. So far I've only used up about 19.5 MB because I have very few files on my computer created by me, like manuscripts. I have no music, pictures (except for the sample pictures) or videos. So far it's done three backups.

benbradley
04-25-2010, 04:44 AM
Never trust a hard drive alone any single storage device.
You're welcome. I'll be here all evening.

dantefrizzoli
06-15-2014, 06:04 AM
I email and use flash drives for any important work that I don't want lost.

Dave Williams
09-27-2014, 12:13 PM
Thoughts on backups:

any backup is better than no backup

more backups are usually better

if you're using an "internet drive", putting your primary work there, and your backups on your local drive, means your work files are accessible from any networked device. So if you wind up separated from your main machine, you can still work

backups need to be in at least two places, and at least one of those needs to be off-site in case of fire, flood, wind, etc.

backups don't count. Only RESTORES count. Whatever system you're using, make sure you can recover the backed-up files.

"data security" doesn't just mean keeping other people out of your stuff, it's about you being able to get to it when you need it

Reziac
10-19-2014, 07:31 PM
backups don't count. Only RESTORES count. Whatever system you're using, make sure you can recover the backed-up files.

This, this, a thousand times this. If the backup won't restore, it's worse than useless (because it's both wasted your time and given you a false sense of security). If you count on a backup program, at least once do a test restore.

As to online backups, I've been following Backblaze (https://www.backblaze.com/) as an inexpensive host focused on remote backups, and if I had upload speeds beyond a crawl I'd probably get an account, to use as a secondary backup (I already stash files on my webhosting, which has effectively unlimited space).

Someone above gripes of a soggy ZIP disk. ZIP disk is just a glorified floppy. They can be taken apart and cleaned, and if the disk itself hasn't degraded, the data will be fine.