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Topic: What is your backup strategy?

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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Oct 2004
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    Los Angeles, CA
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    Talking What is your backup strategy?

    Welp, I just had an 80 GB drive die that had my GS3 installation (and backup registration folder), as well as the last few weeks of a project I was working on. Message from WinXP was "Error writing G:\MF$ - out of memory" or somesuch. Sigh. Then I went into the bathroom to wash my face, and promptly knocked the roll of toilet paper into the toilet. It's been one of those evenings, and I've only had 2 or 3 beers so far. Double sigh.

    It's not really that big of a deal as I can re-record the latest bits (a guitar solo comp and possibly a bassline), but this was following a computer that died a few weeks before that, so it's been kinda hectic at my studio lately.

    (Though I am wondering if I'll be able to reinstall GS3 without having to obtain a new authorization code, but tonight I feel I should just stop and cut my losses before any other crisis can occur.....)

    Anyway it seems kinda over the top to have yet another external drive just for temporary backups each night or whatever. I was thinking DVD-R might be the right way to go... I didn't normally worry about this too much but I've been having quite a few technical problems lately, which does have a way of tossing the proverbial monkey wrench into my creative process.

    How do you all handle project backups? Do you make one each day work is done, or maybe once per week? Is it all about massive and redundant drives, or the commitment of tons of non-biodegradable plastic discs?
    Some experts learn more and more about less and less, until at last they know everything there is about nothing at all.

  2. #2

    Re: What is your backup strategy?

    CD-R and DVD-R is just too slow to back up big audio files. I use a Roland VS-2480 for all the audio recording I do and the time it takes to back up keeps us from doing it nearly as regularly as we should. I'm buying an external removable hard drive. Then, every time we save we just save twice: once internal, once external. Also, clients can buy their own drive if they want. The piece of mind will be well worth it.

    As far as the pc's I have go they can all be rebuilt if they crash. I just put MIDI files on a CD-R every day or two.

  3. #3

    Re: What is your backup strategy?

    I feel your pain. In the last two years I've had no less than six months of computer down time (2 months for one DAW, 4 months for the other), 2 motherboard failures, and 2 hard drive failures. Some of my friends have adopted ridgid backup schedules, massive firewalls, controlled anti-virus and conservative computer resource use but have nonetheless been unable to significantly increase their mean time between failures, even on laptops. That's why I'm currently in the process of finding someone willing to take on a part-time position doing system maintenence.

    When things are working well, however, I find the use of an external hard drive for files in general is really about the only viable solution. Sorry that let you down here. I also a DVD burner for project specfic files, especially completed ones.

    Over the course of the last couple years it's become increasingly frusterating to recover from failures because of the changes in copy protection etc. It becomes almost impossible to maintain a back-up system (I mean a whole computer here) for these purposes because of the huge number of authorizations required that you can no longer use for your primary system(s). Sigh. Not to mention re-installation/authorization issues... I really hope this all improves soon.

    Anyway, good luck getting things back up again.

  4. #4
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    Re: What is your backup strategy?

    Thanks guys. I decided it was lame of me to give up for the evening so I did reinstall GS3. It turned out I had copied my registration backup folder to another drive, as someone had posted here saying that one must copy the entire backup folder in order to get that to work. Thankfully the license restoration went perfectly.

    I am going to be more responsible about backups though. With all the trouble I've had lately I'm tempted just to forget the song I was working on and just go on to another one. You know how it is, getting sick of hearing the same damn notes over and over again. My eyes and ears glaze over.

    Also I'm ashamed to admit it but I have trouble getting my GS3 installations to play back just after installation. I find myself scratching my head trying to determine why, when I have MIDI signals going into the right MIDI device (at least I think that's the case), and my sound card outputs are active, GS3 does not report active MIDI data coming in. I'm going to go back and hammer away some more but wanted to report back that the GS3 license restoration went well from my backup.

    So, I learned it is smart to back up those license folders! It really does work. Now I need to start being smarter about my sessions.
    Some experts learn more and more about less and less, until at last they know everything there is about nothing at all.

  5. #5

    Re: What is your backup strategy?

    I found I had to reinstall my sound card and MIDI drivers again AFTER installing GS3 or I had that same problem. The last update fixed that though (for me).

  6. #6
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    Oct 2004
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    Re: What is your backup strategy?

    More success on the reinstall. I write this for the sake of future Google searches on the subject....

    I have a Gina20 running the beta 6.11 drivers. (Smashing of them, BTW, to bother creating this driver for an 8-year-old soundcard!) It seems what I had to do was switch from WDM to Purewave mode, reboot, then switch back to WDM mode, reboot, and then switch back to Purewave mode again, and reboot. Go figure. Now it works in Purewave mode. I tested GS3 between each reboot and only now is it working.

    Of course I have no idea if this is really what fixed it or not. But, that process did work for me. I then did the v3.04 update without difficulty.

    I suppose I shall resolve myself to re-record a better performance than last time and call myself lucky.

    Still I will need to be more responsible about my session backups. As for the dead 80GB drive, perhaps I shall follow the instructions at this link, with special attention paid to Figure 5.2:

    http://members.aol.com/spoons1000/break/

    The above link is a classic. Many of you may have seen this already, but if not, prepare for comedy.
    Some experts learn more and more about less and less, until at last they know everything there is about nothing at all.

  7. #7

    Re: What is your backup strategy?

    Alewis>> Aahh .. I've been there too. Fortunately the drive for some strange reason started working again a few weeks later But I've certainly been there .. I'm not a paranoid person but I've developed my backup habits carefully since then.

    One of the major threats where I'm at, is thunderstorms .. lightning (or do you call it "flashes"?). Trust me on this though: do not buy $50 power overload protection plugs .. they don't work. If you need those, like I do, get good ones, really good ones. Good ones might not take it either, but at least they provide protection against temporary powerspikes - cheap ones usually doesn't.
    Besides of that, a really tight firewall, aggressive antivirus and taking good care of the software has kept me relatively problem free. To backup I put my most golden sensitive stuff on single layer DVD/RWs. I've got a 2Gb Jaz drive here as well, but if that one goes then I have to get a new drive to read the discs, since those drives are not that common around. With DVD I can just go to my neighbour. I make backups about once every saturday, or if I'm into a really busy project I backup when needed.

    Also, not only the golden worth data is worth protecting, but I've also installed my softwares and my audio resources on in a certain order on the disc. So if windows goes, I should be able to re-install everything in exactly the same order again and hopefully at least 80% of my songs and stuff will work correctly right off. That way, a windows breeakdown should only cost about 4-5 hours of extra time. Might be something to consider.
    Kid: When I become an adult I wanna be a musician.
    Parent: Son, you cannot become both.

  8. #8

    Re: What is your backup strategy?

    Baterry backups are now available with enough juice to keep you on for about 10 minutes (plenty of time to power down) for under $100. if you don't have one - GET ONE!!! It will save your sanity and maybe your system in a brownout (which is more common and dangerous than a full-out blackout.)

  9. #9

    Re: What is your backup strategy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alewis
    Anyway it seems kinda over the top to have yet another external drive just for temporary backups each night or whatever. I was thinking DVD-R might be the right way to go... I didn't normally worry about this too much but I've been having quite a few technical problems lately, which does have a way of tossing the proverbial monkey wrench into my creative process.

    How do you all handle project backups? Do you make one each day work is done, or maybe once per week? Is it all about massive and redundant drives, or the commitment of tons of non-biodegradable plastic discs?
    After a couple of close calls I use both. I have a total of 360 gigs of drive space, 260 gigs of samples (no, not VSL PE ) and 100 gigs for system and audio on 4 drives. A project I'm currently working on is about 30 gigs all pre-mix stuff included so I still have space to copy it to another physical drive. I do DVD backups and store them elsewhere every now and then, it's a cheap insurance against permanent damage to my mind if someone managed to rob or burn my place. The samples are the real problem. What if a sample drive dies in the middle of a busy project. There is something like 40-50 DVDs on two drives, re-installing those can take ages. A good but unfortunately expensive option would be having two machines with the same samples, they could share the load when working and serve as a backup for each other, no need for redundant drives lying around. Does anyone use tapes?

  10. #10
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    Jun 2000
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    Chandler, Arizona
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    4,045

    Re: What is your backup strategy?

    I Ghost my system drives to other machines. These are just the OS partitions in the Ghost image. So if my drive goes south or the OS gets corrupt, I just restore the Ghost image.

    My samples are kept on at least 2 different computers. All I have to do after a crash is copy them back.

    The song files including the audio for them are backed up to tape on a very regular basis. I also keep multiple copies of each song. With this backup, I should never lose more than a few hours work.

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