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Computer Crashes - they still suck.

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by maple1, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    Even if you're pretty well prepared.

    Full panic mode here Friday evening - the sudden freeze and ominous clicking sound from inside the box. This after spending all day Friday on getting book keeping up to date.

    Spent most of yesterday looking for a new internal hard drive - they are getting harder to find. Seems computer repair shops are a dying thing around here, and most stores that sell computers don't carry them any more. And lots of places closed on weekends.

    Anyway, found it was my d: drive that crashed (thank god not c: ) which I used mainly for copying things to and backing up things like pictures. I cloned my c: (it was getting to be a bit old) to a new bigger drive, and have been scrounging all the stuff I had backed up to d: from other scattered places back to c:. I did have an older clone of my c: stashed away on the shelf that would have got me up & going quick, but with a fair amount of data loss.

    So, after having gone through this more than once & in more than one way, this is my plan that has been tweaked over the years:

    -Get a USB hard drive dock.
    -Get Acronis True Image.
    -Get at least two extra hard drives.
    -Use the above to semi-regularly (every couple of months?) clone your c: drive alternating between the spare drives. If your c: drive should ever die, you just pop it out & pop a clone in. Do a fresh clone before & after a new program install. Quick & easy with the dock & Acronis.
    -Install a second internal drive, or use an external, to drag & drop data files to more frequently than that, keeping all your data files in one data directory to make that a simple one-step drag & drop (every week?). Throw in a USB flash drive too for even more redundancy.
    -Whatever computer you're using now, and if you like it - get a second one identical to it. If you're buying a new computer, get two of the same one. That way you'll be covered if something like your mother board goes south, or even if that happens and takes out your drive at the same time - or if it all gets taken out by a bad power supply. Been there, done that. Ugly no matter how much you've backed up. Desktops are getting to be pretty cheap. I now have two HP/Compaq dc7600 SFF's. They might be getting a bit dated, but they are solid business type machines that are very easy to service and there are a ton of them out there. I'm looking for another now. If you cover one side of things by cloning regularly, you likely won't be able to pop that cloned c: in a computer of a different type and have it run due to conflicts with different hardware & bios stuff etc. - but at least your data will be mostly intact. It is a real PITA having to re-install all your programs, and getting them all updated, on & on. That's pretty well common knowledge but someday, it'll bite anyway.

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  2. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    You can ghost your hard drive onto an external, and update it as often as you like, even hourly if desired. The name of the game is Backup your Backups. I use an external drive to mirror my hard drive, and cloud backup in case there's a local disaster (flood, fire, theft). By mirroring my drive, if my hard drive dives, I just have to install a new one and download from the external drive, and it'll be as if nothing happened. Great peace of mind for me, there.
  3. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    Pt Pleasant, PA (SE PA)
    After the last disaster of my usb back up of my back up crapped out on me, I use Carbonite. $99/yr, backs up everything including my external and mirror. They probably still have a free trial but there may be other cloud back up solutions out there too. I just went with them because they were recommended by my company's IT folks.
  4. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    Carbonite is good, but, the last I knew, throttle your upload speeds more and more as you store more. That's my only beef with them. A friend of mine crashed her hard drive, and said Carbonite was great in helping her get restored.
  5. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Any of you guys think about running a RAID 1 setup? Duplicates your drive on the fly and drives are cheap enough these days to make it more than worthwhile. No data loss, no software to bog the system, no backups to remember, and no upload/download speed restraints. Most computers with SATA setups have the capability built in to the controllers.

    No way am I storing all my data "in the cloud." I don't trust that yet. I realize that off-site backup is the most secure from a natural disaster/burglary stand-point but I just don't trust my personal info and business records to faceless strangers.
  6. Retired Guy

    Retired Guy Feeling the Heat

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    I use a Segate external drive connected via cat5 to the router. I back up to that daily. Also provides cloud storage for when we travel
  7. dentman4411

    dentman4411 New Member

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    ive been using a DROBO paired with Time Machine (mac) been pretty happy with it thus far.
  8. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    There are two kinds of computer users. Those that have had a hard drive failure...and those that will.
    bioman likes this.
  9. brian89gp

    brian89gp Feeling the Heat

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    RAID1 is redundancy, not a backup. Get a virus or delete the wrong thing and you are SOL with RAID, thats were a point in time backup is handy.
  10. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    True, if you were really serious/paranoid then you'd be running off a striped RAID setup (like a RAID 0) for speed and backing up to a redundant array like RAID 1. ;) Or you're super paranoid, and running RAID 5 (striped and redundant, needs 3 Drives, any single drive that goes down can be replaced and rebuilt) on both your operating and backup arrays. :p
  11. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I run RAID5 and I am not super paranoid.:p Oh, and hot swappable drives are da bomb.
    MasterMech likes this.
  12. brian89gp

    brian89gp Feeling the Heat

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    RAID 5, rsync point in time copies to another machine, then crashplan. Change rate per day on the array during peak times is typically more then crashplan can upload so when I leave I usually carry a hard drive with me as a backup.

    I deal with a lot of data at work, so I am a bit used to thinking in terms redundancy and backups (course those solutions are on a whole different scale...)

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