Win7 laptop data backup with revisions?

Microsoft Windows 7 home premium
December 31, 2009 at 05:24:40
Specs: Windows 7, AMD 64 Dual Core
I just bought a 1.5 TB external hard drive. My laptop has a 500 GB hd in it. I bought the external hard drive for the sole purpose of backing up the data on my laptop. We have all of our home videos and pictures from the time my first daughter was born stored on my hard drive. (I had been backing up all along but to a 250 GB HD and I ran out of space.) Right now I'm just using the Windows built in backup software. It works OK. I was talking to a Mac user and he was showing me where they have an option to go back to a certan day and he can see what was on his hard drive that day and in different folders. I thought that was awesome. The problem with current backup software is when a file gets overwritten, I can only go back to the last backup. If a backup runs after a file goes corrupt, then it will backup the corrupt version. With 1.5 TB, I can afford to have duplicate versions of files so I can have multiple revisions of stuff.

I am a computer tech. I just got to thinking Backup Exec does exactly what I want. When I restore files in there, I can pick a day and then pick the files from that backup. But that software is exteremely expensive and it only backs up once a day. It doesn't constantly monitor for file changes and backup the changes as they happen and give me restore points to files (kind of like Google Docs does.) So, any suggestions on backup software?

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December 31, 2009 at 05:45:00

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December 31, 2009 at 10:20:40
You don't need to overwrite an older backup. General practice is to keep at least one older backup when writing a new one.

Programs like Acronis true image allow for incrimental backup which when used only writes the differences since the previous backup.

Backup Exec is overkill for a home user.

IMO photos are best archived on optical media. They are irreplaceable and should be given the extra time to burn to disk. Once that is done is is very cheap and relatively fast to make more copies of the disks. You can store a copy off site for even more protection. Safety deposit boxes are a good place for that type of data.

Most backup/imaging programs will send the file to any target available.

One other thing to mention. using conventional imaging programs for files like photos and music is a wasted effort.

Those file types are already in a compressed format. Just perform a straight copy. Then reading the data in the future won't rely on a software program that may not be available.

That is a good reason to use multiple partitions. Compressed files get copied. Normal files can be imaged with compression to save space. I still image directly to DVDR media.

Following my line of thought you could use the External as the primary repository of the files and Optical media as the backup. If you keep up with it the task is not overwhelming.

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December 31, 2009 at 10:44:06
I do backup my home videos and pictures to DVD-Rs also. My worry with that though is if DVD-R is my only form of backup, DVD-Rs don't last forever. They have a timespan of 10-15 years. Granted it's probably longer than the hard drive will last. I'm trying to come up with a fool proof way to guarantee in 30 years from now, I will still have these videos to pass down to my children, grandchildren, etc.

So, I'm trying to save to both. But I save to my external hard drive way more often than I do DVD-Rs. I have all my pics and videos saved to DVD-R already. They also get saved in my hard drive backups. But I also have lots of docs, financial spreadsheets, pdfs, etc that I don't save to DVD-Rs because they change too often. It's more of those that I want to have revisions for so I can go back to previous versions.

There's been a few times I've had important files that were corrupt and I didn't noticed it for a week or more later after I overwrote my backups. I do plan on getting another hard drive another day. But to spend my whole life doing child, father grandfather backups and storing my weekly and monthly backups outside my house, it's too much work. I get paid to do that stuff. I don't feel like having a second job doing it to at home. I'm just trying to find an easy way to do it. I know if my house burns down, the stuff will be gone that I don't get outside of it.

You're right though, I should get a safety deposit box and store the videos and pictures on a disc in that.

But the main point to my forum original post was just a backup solution for the hard drive I bought so I can go back to previous versions of documents and other files that change, unlike pictures and videos.

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December 31, 2009 at 10:46:41
And the other problem I have with DVD-Rs is, after having 3+ years of only using digital cameras and video cameras, it takes about 30-40 DVD-Rs to back it all up and it's increasing everyday. That's why I got a 1.5 TB HD.

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December 31, 2009 at 11:07:16
Well, what makes you think that in 30 years there will be a place to connect a USB hard drive?

Everything I read about DVDR media suggests 30/50 years if stored properly. Optical media is more stable that magnetic pulses arranging molucules of magnetically attracted minerals applied to a metallic disk with read/write heads so small and sensitive electronic circuitry controlling the whole shebang. DVDRW is a totally different animal.

Now, play devils advocate. If some of your DVD media does become unreadable in the future. That would mean you have lost a percentage of you photos.

If the hard drive becomes damaged you lose ALL the photos.

All about not putting all your eggs in one basket.

As technology advances you can copy the photos over to larger capacity, longer lasting media.

Nothing wrong with storing the data in multiple formats.

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February 12, 2010 at 09:42:32

If you wish to advertise a product here pay to have a real ad.

Dorlow, all you need to do is to save the NEW photos when you get them. No need to back up an entire partition when personal data is on that partition

Jpg, MP3, etc are already in compressed form. Simply copy them to a new disk as required. There are two methods you can use to segregate the new files from the old.

First one involves using a temporary folder to save the files when first created. With photos you just offload from the camera or memory card to the temp folder. Then when you have time you burn those to disk and move the original files to the normal folder where you keep them.

The second is to use a third party program that can do that for you. I use Beyond compare.

I think optical disks will last much longer than files on a hard drive. Hard drives are magnetic media and can be erased with a magnetic field. If properly stored, optical disks should last much longer. The quote below is from an article I found on the web.

"Following the test procedures of the International Standards Organization (ISO) quality media manufacturers have been able to document data life-spans ranging from 50-200 years. But keep in mind there are wide differences between low budget media operations and quality media firms. In addition variations in manufacturing methods, materials and processes/procedures can dramatically effect the data life of the media you use".

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