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Topic: Backup your files?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    West Seneca, NY

    Question Backup your files?

    What is the best way you found to back up your files just in case your system decides to stop altogether? Any of you still use "hard" copies (you know ... have a secretary that takes musical dictation or a few Monks with parchment, quill and ink). I tend to copy my settings on paper, instruments in tracks, FX, Reverb, Refrigerator, Household Thermostat,...all the important ones.
    What have you found that works best for you?

    This is a test of the Garritan Musical Emergency Broadinacast network. If this were an actual test you would have failed miserably.

    Stay tune for an important message concerning the important message mentioned in the important message posted last week on the notice board where the notice hung next to the message on the message board next to the notice no on noticed.

  2. #2

    Re: Backup your files?

    Thanks for the reminder! Woke in a bit of a panic last night thinking I should do just that to a couple of projects which are on the back burner while I'm working on something else.
    Thing is, I used to to back up religiously because my G3 Mac used to have hissy fits and hangover days and be generally grumpy and uncooperative a lot of the time. Since the G5 everything's been pretty reliable so you kind of forget.
    Then you wake up at two in the morning in a cold sweat imagining just where you'd start again if the hard drive head ground into the disc next time you opened up the computer!!!!
    So Michael - I just grabbed the two main folders and dropped them onto a DVD while I had a bowl of minestrone for lunch.

    Now I'm feeling full and smug.

    Will I remember again? Probably not, but one thing is certain. None of us back up nearly enough!



  3. #3
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    West Seneca, NY

    Re: Backup your files?

    So, having a separate folder for one's projects is the way to go, and saving to DVD is as well? Hmm, I just noticed Samplitude is saving projects into Documents "my music" folder. Sam should have a separate folder, yes?

  4. #4

    Lightbulb Re: Backup your files?

    Sorry, but I am going to have to scream `NO NO NO!!!' at this one. Copying files is ok for something, but not real backup and full recovery. I'm a large systems guy so I get kinda anal about this stuff.

    Here's a recommendation:

    For a PC, purchase Retrospect. Retrospect will do several things for you:

    1) It will make a bootable image of your drive
    2) Once you have an image, it will allow you to create file level updates so that you can restore your system to any point you want to, right up to your last file level backup
    3) You can create various backups for different drives. For instance you can have an OS drive image / file level backup, a samples drive image / file level backup, a projects drive image / file level backup, etc.
    4) You can automate backups so your data is always up to date.

    There are other options out there other than Retrospect, but I've found Retrospect to be a terrific solution.

    The key here is both backup and disaster recovery. If you have both no matter what happens to your data you will have it safe and sound.

    As a side note, you want a separate Windows OS drive image from all of your other stuff. Reason being Windows doesn't like playing with new motherboards. In other words if your box crashes with motherboard A and you have to replace it with motherboard B, you can restore your image but Windows is going to behave very badly. Just another reason to buy a Mac. If I'm bringing up more questions than answers I apologize. I'll be glad to answer (along with all the other knowledgeable folks here) anything I can on this very important topic.

    Last thing. Retrospect has saved me 3 times in the past 8 or so years. The first was a motherboard gone bad that corrupted disk data, the second was a disk crash, the third was a stolen computer. I never lost a byte.

    Hope this helps,

    We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams …
    24" 2.4 Ghz iMac, OSX 10.4.10, MOTU 828 MKII, 2 Glyph 250 Gig external drives, Logic 9, Finale 2008 GPO, JABB, Strad, Gro, Reason 4, EWQL Storm Drum, Adrenaline, Symphonic Choirs, SO Gold,All Arturia Synths, Many NI Synths, Spectrasonics Synths, KH Strings, VEPro on a Windows 7 4x 2.8 Ghz 12 gig of RAM

  5. #5
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    West Seneca, NY

    Thumbs up Re: Backup your files?

    Hey Kevin this is very interesting. One question .... Retrospect, you install this on your C drive or on another say an external drive?
    Thanks for the info!

  6. #6

    Re: Backup your files?

    I am unfamiliar with Retrospect, but I do the same thing with Acronis TrueImage. I am very satisfied with TrueImage. I do a full back-up of all of my drives once every two months and in between (once every 2-4 weeks) I do a sequential back-up. Once I've made a new full back-up (and verified that it is good), I delete the older full back-up/sequentials. I make my back-ups onto a USB drive (500 GB) that I keep in another part of the house when it is not actively used to archive. From hearing about Retrospect, it seems like it provides for the same type of solution. You can buy TrueImage via download for a reasonable price. If you look on Google, you can probably also find freeware disk imaging solutions. Disk imaging allows for much faster and simpler error recovery than simple back-ups of files.

    In case of a catastrophic failure of the system (c: on a PC) drive, I have a bootable CD with the TrueImage program on it that could be used to reload the back-up c: image from the USB drive. TrueImage will step you through the construction of the bootable rescue CD. So most of the time (hopefully all of the time, since no one wants a disk failure) you will be using the imaging program from the c: drive but in case of a catastrophic failure of c:, the bootable rescue CD with the imaging program will be your recovery tool.

    The following site will also help you create a bootable rescue CD that will allow you to recover from various system disk failures. I highly recommend creating one of these too: http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/
    Best regards,

    Little Red King

  7. #7

    Re: Backup your files?

    I also used Retrospect for a while (a 'lite' version that came bundled with Maxtor HDD) but for me it failed the acid test - a restore - and all was lost! Chastened I tried a few demos of other back up software and the only one (yes amazingly, only one) that actually passed all my restore tests was Acronis True Image Home so they got my money. Note which apps actually work for individual machines doesn't seem consistent - the Acronis forum has its share of 'it wont restore my back up' complaints and as you've seen Kevin's life has been saved by Retrospect more than once which wouldn't restore for me. So all I can say is whatever you do go for test it (see below for suggested tests) before you rely on it.

    I used to use Cubase a lot and when Cubase went belly-up, the only way to get it working again was often a complete Windows re-install. This would take several evenings work to get back where I was before, but True Image home I have used to restore the system unattended in an hour or so.

    Both Retrospect (and other apps) get installed on the machine, and create back ups that sit on another external drive (usually, you can specify DVDs if you want or another disk on your machine). You also create or have a boot CD-ROM so if you are facing complete machine failure, stick in the cd-rom, point the app that gets loaded up to the external back up drive and you will be back to where you were with a working system in no time.

    I have all my 'programs' on one internal hard drive and all my 'data' on another. I create two separate back ups (one for each). That way if Windows XP goes horribly wrong, I can restore the OS and programs without affecting the latest songs since the last back up. I hadn't thought about the motherboard thing that Kevin mentions but that is good comment. The other thing is when replacing recently a HDD with a bigger one for my songs/data, then I took out the old one, put in the new, and did a system restore on the new one without having to worry about Windows restore as well.

    To test back up software I did this:
    - backed up to external media
    - deleted a bunch of files (permanently)
    - attempted to
    ----restore them individually from the back up
    ----restore the whole folder from the back up
    ----restore the whole drive from the back up
    - I then attempted to do the above with the provided/suggested boot CD-ROM, including a full system restore.
    ----repeated parts of teh above tests with 'incremental' back ups

    One tip I have for restorers to a new HDD - ensure that DMA is active on the new HDD before you restore. It can make the difference between a restore that takes half an hour to one that takes 36 hours - I know it because I've done it!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Chandler, Arizona

    Re: Backup your files?

    I use Symantec Ghost which is basically like Acronis TrueImage. The version I use is from the Ghost Solution Suite 2.0 which is different than the home versions of Ghost. One machine is a GhostCast Server which stores the image. I then boot my music PC from a boot disk (floppy or CD) and connect to the GhostCast Server over the network. I then save the operating system partitions. I do this every couple months or after a major change to the OS.

    I then backup my drives to an extra drive in my machine which captures any OS system state changes, files on OS partitions and files on my project drive. I usually backup at least once per week.


  9. #9

    Re: Backup your files?

    ALl of these posts focus on a complete image of your system, which is fine if you stillhave the same hardware or can reproduce the same hardware.

    The thing is that if your computer is stolen and cannot be reproduced with the same hardware, your image may not work because of the drivers included to run the different hardware.

    Imaging is a great idea, but it might be a good idea to have an additional back up of your key files, your Intellectual Property so to speak.

    I do this by having two external hard disk drives plugged in via USB and these are alternated. One person mentioned having a hard drive kept in another part of the house. Unless you are disciplined, this is useless: The idea is you want to have backup that is set-and-forget so that the disk is updated automatically at regular intervals. I have two drives so that I can keep one off site and once a week or so I swap them over.

    I use Backup4All to take the backups. The professional version (~$50) provides for incremental backups using standard zip compression (so recovery is a no brainer no matter what tool you use). Incremental is good because it only backs up files that have changed. You can configure how often it takes a full backup.

    Do not assume that having a backup regime in place means you are safe - test it, think about it regularly.

    Be safe; be happy!

  10. #10

    Re: Backup your files?

    The key here is both backup and disaster recovery. If you have both no matter what happens to your data you will have it safe and sound.
    Something we say at work is that no one cares if you can backup....only that you can restore!!

    Personally I only care about the data (finale files, sonar files, etc.). It may be more painful, but as long as I've got the installation cd's and a network connection I can get everything back I need if my system takes a dive. I'd be interested in knowing, as Alan alluded to, how these imaging apps handle disparate hardware drivers, etc.

    I also think there's a difference between archiving data and storing it somewhere that's easily accessible. In the enterprise space, we talk about tiering data. Data has a "life cycle". The less it's accessed, the cheaper the media it's stored on until finally it moves to tape or is simply expired. Come to think of it, I can think of a few pieces of music I've written that should probably expire; but I digress.

    So along these lines, does anyone use NAS drives to store their files? This is something I've thought about using. For that matter does anyone use tape as a backup method at home? Just curious. Interesting discussion.

    Steve Winkler

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