Monday, December 11, 2017

Computer Backup Plan: A Foolproof & Affordable System

August 25, 2010 by  
Filed under All Posts, Video Production

External Hard Drive For Backup Plan

Rick’s Computer Backup Plan: Affordable Software Combined With 2 External Hard Drives

I don’t know if I’m paranoid or not, but I often wonder if my computer backup plan is adequate. That’s one of the reasons I recently bought tape based camcorders in the ago of solid state memory was so that I could store the tapes and retrieve my footage in the future. This type of access was recently brought home to me because I now need to go back to some tapes I shot over 5 years ago to produce a new video. Also tapes are very inexpensive for the amount of data they hold.

However, I also just joined the ranks of HDSLR owners with my purchase of the Canon Rebel t2i which records to Class 6 SDHC cards, which are not cheap (I use the Hoodman RAW 16GB cards, which cost $100; far too expensive to use as backup). With no more inexpensive tape to go back to, I now have to figure out how to safely store and backup my video clips for future use without breaking the bank.

Rick Kleffel, who contacted me after reading my JVC/Panasonic review article in Internet Video Mag, produces audio podcasts and shared with me his method of backing up his files. I was so impressed that I asked him if I could share his process here to which he graciously agreed. His backup procedure can be used with all digital files. However, this will be especially of interest to you videographers shooting on tapeless camcorders who wish to preserve your video clips for future use.

Here is Rick’s backup plan:

I use GTech RAID Drives in a copied array to preserve my audio. Here’s what I have and it is relatively inexpensive for the security it offers.

I have two 2TB (terrabyte) GTECH external hard drives (described as 2TB1 and 2TB2)) connected via Firewire to my laptop. I use a $29.00 program called Super Duper. It’s available as a download from (Super Duper alternative software for the PCs include Clonezilla, Carbon Copy Cloner, Norton Ghost, PING, and DriveImage XML)

Every night at 7 PM, Super Duper (SD) copies an image of my laptop hard drive to 2TB1, which also holds an archive of all my audio. Then at 8 PM, SD copies my 2TB1 to the second drive, 2TB2.

I archive audio off my laptop onto 2 TB1, then wait till it’s duped onto 2TB2 before removing it from the laptop.

The GTechs are on almost 24/7. They last 2-3 years, but with the duping setup, it is not a problem when one fails, Then I just upgrade to the next data size, and save the working disk as an offline archive. Make sure to save the power cables!

Rick Kleffel spent 20 years protecting other people’s data before he acquired much of his own. Now he interviews authors, and writes about books, at The Agony Column. All that audio data is podcast, available via iTunes or direct from the website, and broadcast on NPR Affiliate KUSP in Santa Cruz, California.


4 Responses to “Computer Backup Plan: A Foolproof & Affordable System”
  1. Here’s another backup solution that we’ve used successfully for the last 2 years:

    We’re Mac-based and use Time Machine – the backup software in Mac OSX – to create hourly incremental backups to a Drobo with 4 drive bays. The Drobo technology allows you to add and upgrade drives as needed. We started with 2 500GB drives and now have 2-1.5TB and 2-2TB drives installed. As we replace drives with larger ones, the old drives get used as final archive volumes for completed projects and are stored offsite.

    This system has some great benefits:

    1) With Time Machine, the backup file stores daily and weekly backups. Currently, we can go back to any week for the last year and recover files at that stage of development. This is about as redundant as it gets and more useful for us than having a Super Duper snapshot of the current state only. Sometimes a wrongly deleted file or folder doesn’t get discovered for a few days.

    2) Internal hard drives are about as cheap and efficient a storage solution as there is. We use them in an e-sata docking station to do the final archive so we save space and cost by not having enclosures and cables to deal with.

    3) The Drobo approach to RAID storage seems more reliable that traditional RAID arrays. We’ve had issues recovering data from mirrored RAID drives but have yet to have an issue with the Drobo. Knock on wood.

    Most of our work is digital stills, but more and more projects include video slide shows, so from an archive standpoint, the issues are the same.

    • Kim R Miller says:

      Thanks for your in-depth comment on your backup solution, Paul.

      One thing, does Time Machine give you a written list of your projects or do you compile something like that separately so you know which older drive those files may be on?

    • Rick Smith says:

      Thanks for that very helpful comment, Paul. Backing up is something we all should do, but how to do it effectively eludes many people, and that can be at a very high price.

  2. Great article we have done really well using a full service backup provider that we consider the best backup for many reasons. DiskAgent provides you the ability to optionally backup content to any device as well as their data centers (at an extra fee of course) As such the DiskAgent data protection solution offers the best backup options available in the market. They also provide remote wipe and remote backup in a bundled package so that if your computer or even a smartphone is lost or stolen you can locate the device and or remotely wipe the data from the drives.


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