Why I back up!

 

I knew it was only a matter of time before I had a computer failure. I did not expect that it would be a result of installing "updates", but that is what happened. In December, I finally let my Win 7 Home system install a number of updates and - to my horror - watched as the computer began failing as it tried to re-boot and "configure" the updates. It would get to 32% and then say it needed to "re-configure" and start the re-boot process over, and over, and over till I finally powered off.

Oldtimers will remember that I have been a champion of backing up - both the computer and any Garmin Devices (which are, of course, just small computers). Well - my backups let me recover with no known loss of data - except perhaps some "print screens" I had done in the week before the failure.

I try to remember to do a "clone" of my hard drive every couple of months and an "image" of the drive every month. To do this, I use Macrium Reflect Home, for which I paid extra to get features not in the Macrium Reflect Free edition. But to tell the truth, I have not been using the features so the "Free" edition would have been sufficient.

The "Free" edition has recently saved us at my church where we used several computers to "capture" the "video" and "live stream" of our church service. I got a call from our "video director" one morning saying that one of the computers refused to boot. I said to get the "clone" of that computer and replace the hard drive and then see what happened. Well, he opened up the computer and replaced the existing hard drive with the "clone" and was back in business by the time I got there. Replacing a hard drive amounts to removing a couple of screws and two cables and then reversing the process with the "clone".

For my own computer, it turned out that my last "clone" was from the end of August - but, replacing it let the computer boot back up and put me back in business. I used an "image" that was about a week old to recover the files that I had created since the August "clone". More on that later.

I should have been able to use the "image" to recover everything (including the windows system) to the date of the "image" but that required me to be able to boot from a DVD to let Macrium Reflect set up a "windows-like" environment which would then let Macrium Reflect use the "image" to write over the hard drive. MY FAULT!! I had never tested out getting the DVD to boot up the computer before windows started up.

But - I was able to use the "image" to sync the folders that I needed to bring the August "clone" files back in sync with the "image".

I strongly suggest that you download Macrium Reflect Free and install it on your computer - https://www.macrium.com/reflectfr

Then, start making "images" of your hard drive. I prefer Western Digital USB3.0 portable drives, but there are many good makers of USB drives. Right now, if I needed one, I would get this one.
https://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-Elements-Portable-Ext...

But, I have multiple USB3.0 drives already and I reuse them - erasing old images whenever I need space on one.

I hope you already have a USB3.0 drive you are using. If you don't, you should get one because the speed of USB3.0 is well worth it.

More than likely, your hard drive is 500GB. So, to make a "clone", you need another hard drive. At my church, we use Seagate drives. Something like:
https://www.amazon.com/SEAGATE-ST500DM002-Barracuda-7200-12-...

We also have an external USB3.0 to SATA converter, so we can make a "clone" any time we like. I think one with external power is best - like
https://www.amazon.com/WEme-Converter-Adapter-Drive-included...

It is only a matter of time before you need back up. Why not start now.

Thanks

jgermann, thanks for the detailed information. Very useful, if one can understand all of the abbreviations.
One question from the lesser informed: in English, what in the world does "USB 3.0 to SATA Support all 2.5"/3.5" SATA HDD/SSD, BLU-RAY DVD, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, CD-RW, DVD-RW, DVD+RW Combo devices." mean? Especially, what is SATA?

Phil

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Phil in Mentor, Ohio -- Garmin Nuvi 1450

Acronyms

Quote:

USB 3.0 to SATA Support all 2.5"/3.5" SATA HDD/SSD, BLU-RAY DVD, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, CD-RW, DVD-RW, DVD+RW Combo devices.

SATA...................Serial Advanced Technology Attachment
USB....................Universal Serial bus
HDD...................Hard Disk Drive
SSD...................Solid State Drive
BLU-RAY DVD....the new standard for DVDs
CD-ROM.............Compact Disk
DVD-ROM...........DVD read only
CD-RW...............CD that is capable of re-writing
DVD-RW...........DVD that is capable of re-writing
DVD+RW

CD-ROM is a pre-pressed optical compact disc that contains data. Computers can read—but not write to or erase—CD-ROMs, i.e. it is a type of read-only disk. However, CD-RW indicates a re-writable disk.

DVD (an abbreviation of digital versatile disc) is a digital optical disc storage format invented and developed in 1995 and released in late 1996. The medium can store any kind of digital data and is widely used for software and other computer files as well as video programs watched using DVD players.

A DVD-ROM is one of the various types of DVDs. A blank DVD is generally a DVD-R or DVD+R, which has a read-write format. The +R or -R references the format standards and is a recordable DVD. Compared to a CD-ROM, a DVD-ROM has the same 5 inch diameter and 1.2 millimeter (mm) thickness.

Blu-ray or Blu-ray Disc (BD) is a digital optical disc data storage format. It was designed to supersede the DVD format, and is capable of storing several hours of video in high-definition (HDTV 720p and 1080p).

Serial ATA is a computer bus interface that connects host bus adapters to mass storage devices. If you’ve owned a desktop PC or laptop in the past decade and a half, you can guarantee that you have owned a SATA (Serial ATA) compatible piece of hardware. Whether it was a hard drive (HDD), a solid-state drive (SSD), or an optical drive — almost all of them, until very recently, used SATA.

The particular device I linked to that all these acronyms were used to describe its features has been extremely valuable to me. I take a 500GB Seagate hard drive out of my fireproof safe and connect the SATA connectors on my adapter to the SATA connectors on the Seagate hard drive, plug in power, and then plug the adapter's USB3.0 cable into my computer. The Seagate hard drive is then recognized by my computer as a new USB drive. This is the start on my "clone".

Note, however, if I happened to have a "bare" DVD drive from, say, an older computer, I could use this adapter to "add" a temporary DVD drive to my computer. Say, I wanted to make some copies of DVDs of a wedding I had videotaped.

Well done.

Thanks, jgermann.

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Phil in Mentor, Ohio -- Garmin Nuvi 1450

Just curious?

Before going through all that did you not try the Windows built-in recovery which lets you go back to last time the computer started without a problem?

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Nuvi 350 long gone, Nuvi 855LMT, Nuvi 2797LMT, DriveSmart 50 LMT-HD, 3790LMT now my daughters. Using Windows 10. DashCam A108C with GPS.

I did

Melaqueman wrote:

Before going through all that did you not try the Windows built-in recovery which lets you go back to last time the computer started without a problem?

I could never get my computer into the "System Recovery Options" boot menu - although I tried many times.

I guess a takeway would be that it is worth while for each of us to determine what actions to take during initial boot to get to the "Systems Recovery Options". I thought I knew how to do it, but just never got there.

BUT - my whole point of this thread was to indicate that technology gives us a way to relatively easily get back running when your computer will not boot to windows.

By the way, I also use Carbonite as an additional backup mechanism. My Carbonite subscription includes computers at my daughter's house.

Safe mode

jgermann wrote:
Melaqueman wrote:

Before going through all that did you not try the Windows built-in recovery which lets you go back to last time the computer started without a problem?

I could never get my computer into the "System Recovery Options" boot menu - although I tried many times.

Was an attempt made to get into safe mode?

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John from PA

backups

I have about 5 4 tarabyte external drives which i use to back up my system. If you use macrium reflect free. You can make a dvd into a boot disk with the proram. once you have that boot disk made then make your dvd your boot device and if your main drive dies for some reason, boot from your macrium disk and then restore what ever backup you want too is really simple to do.

Actually .....

Quote:

Was an attempt made to get into safe mode?

my problem was that I was unable to get it out of "safe mode".

Confession time

darrell1949 wrote:

I have about 5 4 tarabyte external drives which i use to back up my system. If you use macrium reflect free. You can make a dvd into a boot disk with the proram. once you have that boot disk made then make your dvd your boot device and if your main drive dies for some reason, boot from your macrium disk and then restore what ever backup you want too is really simple to do.

Whenever I install Macrium Reflect on various computers, the first thing I do is create a "rescue disk" in anticipation of the scenario darrell1949 states. So when I first had my problems, I pulled out my "rescue disk", stuck it in the DVD drive and powered up.

Now, my monitor puts up a splash screen when it is fired up by the computer.

Well, I could never get the "rescue disk" to do its thing, it just continued to boot into windows with what was essentially "safe mode" - ie. none of the windows services that let you operate normally.

What I did not see was the message:
"press any key to boot from DVD"
behind the splash screen.

So embarrassing!!

If I had gotten into "rescue" from Macrium, I had an "image" that was only a few days old.

Some Addtional Backup Thoughts

  1. Always backup to another hard drive. Essentially, by making an image you have accomplished that.
  2. Have your OS and your data files on separate hard drive partitions. In theory, should the OS fail, your data files will be somewhat isolated. It also permits the OS to be re-installed without affecting the user data files. Also consider doing the backups by partition, not the entire disk.
  3. Have a Linux live CD available. It goes a long way towards seeing what happened.
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Garmin Nuvi650 - Morehead City, NC

Access restore points from safe mode

jgermann wrote:
Quote:

Was an attempt made to get into safe mode?

Quote:

my problem was that I was unable to get it out of "safe mode".
[/Quote]

If you could have gotten to Safe Mode with Command Prompt running rstrui.exe will get you to our Restore points, assuming any exist.

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John from PA

Except for one thing

Steve R. wrote:
  1. Always backup to another hard drive. Essentially, by making an image you have accomplished that.
  2. Have your OS and your data files on separate hard drive partitions. In theory, should the OS fail, your data files will be somewhat isolated. It also permits the OS to be re-installed without affecting the user data files. Also consider doing the backups by partition, not the entire disk.
  3. Have a Linux live CD available. It goes a long way towards seeing what happened.

The conversation up to this point hasn't mentioned one very large exposure: if you don't have your system backed up on external devices and you suffer a disk failure, you're pretty much screwed. You better have your loved data tucked away safely somewhere that's not on your computer.

Phil

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Phil in Mentor, Ohio -- Garmin Nuvi 1450

Good external drive

plunder wrote:

The conversation up to this point hasn't mentioned one very large exposure: if you don't have your system backed up on external devices and you suffer a disk failure, you're pretty much screwed. You better have your loved data tucked away safely somewhere that's not on your computer.

Phil

In regards to an external drive, the Sandisk Extreme 1TB Portable Drive is available on eBay for $115 + $5 shipping. See https://www.ebay.com/p/13035703464?iid=114068452033

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John from PA

There are

John from PA wrote:

In regards to an external drive, the Sandisk Extreme 1TB Portable Drive is available on eBay for $115 + $5 shipping. See https://www.ebay.com/p/13035703464?iid=114068452033

There are a great many others available a lower prices at any outlet selling computer accessories. In fact Amazon has this 4TB model for $89.99 from an excellent brand.

https://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-Elements-Portable-Ext...

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Illiterate? Write for free help.

Watch how you compare...

Box Car wrote:

There are a great many others available a lower prices at any outlet selling computer accessories. In fact Amazon has this 4TB model for $89.99 from an excellent brand.

That isn't an apples to apples comparison. The Sandisk I linked to is a solid state drive (SSD) and what you link to is a hard disk drive (HDD) that uses spinning magnetic platters. Just based on the available specifications on read/write speeds, the Sandisk will be about five times faster on data transfer. Many reviews also state the WD drives don't come anywhere near their specification. One review states "Western Digital Elements is a great option if you want lots of storage on the cheap, and can live with some pretty mediocre speeds." Whether that matters is up to the individual making the purchase.

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John from PA

Western Digital MyBook

Our external hard drives are Western Digital MyBook USB3. They are connected to a USB3 port on the motherboard, not an accessory card. An image of a PC takes only several minutes to back up with Acronis True Image. The price is higher than Elements but still reasonable.

dobs108 smile

Hard Disk Speed Not a Significant Concern for Backups

John from PA wrote:

Just based on the available specifications on read/write speeds, the Sandisk will be about five times faster on data transfer. Many reviews also state the WD drives don't come anywhere near their specification. One review states "Western Digital Elements is a great option if you want lots of storage on the cheap, and can live with some pretty mediocre speeds."

Hard disk speed is not a significant concern for backing up your personal computer. The backup, that I use, runs in the background. Moreover, the external hard drive disk used for backing up is not involved in daily read/write activities.

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Garmin Nuvi650 - Morehead City, NC

Disk speed not a significant concern...maybe, maybe not

Steve R. wrote:

Hard disk speed is not a significant concern for backing up your personal computer. The backup, that I use, runs in the background. Moreover, the external hard drive disk used for backing up is not involved in daily read/write activities.

Maybe, maybe not; depends on what you do and your expectations. Some of us are quite dependent on our PC’s, even depend on them for making a living. Although I have a side business in PC repair, I’m an engineering consultant and have databases related to machine behavior that are GB in size. The very first thing I do is make three copies of the database. To say to a client I lost the database or my PC crashed is totally unacceptable. Same way for a professional photographer, a lawyer, etc. Same policy applies to my PC repair business; I would not want to say I lost years worth of email, documents, tax records, etc. to a client that wanted me to update his Win 7 PC to Win 10. But using an SSD I can generally back up a client’s PC in minutes, not hours.

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John from PA

when

my son was born in 2013 I thought omg better get one of those $400 backups that do RAID 1, what if we were to lose all the baby pics?

I soon began to realize we never look at the old pics, nor do we look at wedding pics, etc. etc. It's pretty inefficient to make two copies of everything, do we do that in real life? I buy an exact copy of my car, in case my car can't take me to work? No, that's not realistic. If that happens, I work from home, or take the day off.

Then we got into say you have a RAID 1, what if you experience a power surge (hahahahahaha I have a 1500VA pure sine wave APC that I never took out of the box it's in the basement I think with the NIC card it was around $700, but takes too much room), or someone breaks in, or someone cuts the power so you have no connection to the cloud (well we could get a mobile 4G with a battery backup), you see how far fetched it's all getting?

I think the better way to look at things is to be prepared to lose things, it happens. We probably all drive cars here, are you like me where you've paid 20 years of comp/collision only to never have a claim? Isn't that how they get us?

Storage is cheap today, imho simply make a copy of anything important, the rest, be prepared to lose it. But in reality it will be like the car insurance. You find yourself 20 years older with all kinds of junk you don't need. smile

imho

John from PA wrote:
plunder wrote:

The conversation up to this point hasn't mentioned one very large exposure: if you don't have your system backed up on external devices and you suffer a disk failure, you're pretty much screwed. You better have your loved data tucked away safely somewhere that's not on your computer.

Phil

In regards to an external drive, the Sandisk Extreme 1TB Portable Drive is available on eBay for $115 + $5 shipping. See https://www.ebay.com/p/13035703464?iid=114068452033

these can fail and are not the equivalent to old fashioned HDD. like when you order a radiator online for $67 and dealer wants $400, the aren't the same (not saying cheap doesn't work just important to understand)