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Thread: External Backup Advice, Please

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    External Backup Advice, Please

    I'm soliciting advice for a Windows 10 external backup device.

    For years, I've been using a Western Digital "Mybook Live" for backups of my computers. It attaches to the router via Ethernet, while proprietary backup software runs on the computers. This was ideal when "the kids" still lived with us, as multiple computers could be backed-up automatically. The proprietary software even keeps copies of five previous versions of saved files.
    Another useful feature is ability to create a "mapped drive" for temporary (unbacked-up) storage. Additional (unused) features include video streaming, remote access, and other things that I don't need. The device is 2TB in size, but even after years of use, we are only consuming 19%

    Recently, there was a hack of Mybook Live devices, resulting in many of them being bricked. Mine wasn't affected, but WD says that all devices are vulnerable, they have no plans for a firmware fix, and users should keep the device disconnected from the Internet.

    That means I need a replacement device for backups, and I could use some advice.
    We're down to one desktop PC and one rarely-used laptop, so maybe NAS could be replaced by a USB external drive? We do have two iPhones, but only back-up the minimum stuff to iCloud. It would be nice to be able to back those up, but knowing Apple it is likely impossible.

    I'd probably spring for RAID 1. This device is intended for backing up the computer, but I'd sleep better with the redundancy if I create a mapped drive.
    I really liked the auto backup software of the Mybook Live, so similar functionality would be a big driving factor in a choice.

    Anybody have suggestions or advice?
    I may have many faults, but being wrong ain't one of them. - Jimmy Hoffa

  2. #2
    The only advice I have heard is that you should have at least 3 copies of your stuff, 2 different ways and one of those stored in a different location in case of something like fire at your house.
    From the wilderness into the cosmos.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    21,229
    Yes, an external USB drive is great protection against a failure of the hard drive or some other electronic misadventure to your computer, but it's less good protection against, say, a leaking pipe in the ceiling that trashes your whole workspace (as happened to me in my office at work).
    With that in mind, I back up over an ethernet bridge on my mains electricity, to a NAS drive at the opposite end of the house from my work machines--so my backup should survive any local disaster to the room housing my computers, and vice versa. I also have a LiveDrive subscription for off-site backup.
    I use GoodSync for automated backup, because it is so versatile I can get it to do all sorts of other jobs, too, such as synch files between my XP machines, and keep a local copy of my blog files. But if you don't have a lot of synching tasks to do, the backup software that comes with pretty much every external drive will likely meet your needs.

    Grant Hutchison
    Science Denier and Government Sponsored Propagandist. Here to help.
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  4. #4
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    What a coincidence. I was just running a backup to an external drive, using MS Synctoy, which unfortunately is no longer available for download.

    I have an external drive that is always connected to the computer, and another that I keep in a fireproof safe. I don't generate as many new files or edit existing ones as I did years ago, so the inconvenience of pulling that drive from the safe isn't too much of a pain.

    A week ago I had a complete meltdown of my eight year old computer and ended up replacing it. There were only about four files that hadn't been backed up yet, and the changes were not too difficult to re-do when I got the new machine running. You can imagine how useful the back-up drives were!

    Although I see that there are other places where Synctoy can be downloaded, I'd now go with Grant's suggestion for back-up software.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    About 18 months ago (Christmas, 2019) we were given a 2TB USB drive. I suppose one of these days I should plug it into the computers and let it do its thing.
    In other words, I'm totally clueless to respond to the OP.
    In the "technology that amazes you" category, I'm pretty sure this drive cost less than $100.
    In 1986 my company paid $20,000 for 256MB of disk for a VAX. It was the size of a file drawer. And doubled the ability of that computer.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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