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External HD's

Amazing sizes

     
1:57 am on Jul 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

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It does not feel so long ago I was backing up onto floppy disks, then those zip disks, then CD Roms before moving to large in size external HD's.

Yesterday I went to buy a new EHD and was amazed at the sizes available. 160, 320, 450 GB or something similar! and they are so small...

Wow. I guess it won't be that long before a terabyte is available.

I opted for the 160 as this EHD is only for back ups and so I do not really even need that.

Wow.

1:59 pm on July 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Yes, how things have changed.

I recently acquired a 120Gb USB-powered EHD which is great for backups of my laptop. The drive is an amazingly small piece of kit that measures less than 3 x 5.5 x 0.75" and is so light compared to the laptop that I don't even notice it.

I also, regularly, use DVD RWs and keep backups offsite.

4:38 pm on July 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Seen the Apple ones? They go to a terrabyte...
4:47 pm on July 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I saw a Circuit City circular last night and they had a SATA terabyte drive for $189...

We'll be old people telling our children about the good old days when all we needed was 64k, 128k, etc...

9:11 pm on July 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I purchased a 250 Gig LaCie External last summer and it has worked wonders. After 4 years of undergrad I've put tons of music and movies (all acquired legally of course) and I still have room to spare. I'd strongly recommend getting a portable (sans power source) as they make it that much easier to share media and use the hardware when you're on the road, etc..
1:59 am on July 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I also, regularly, use DVD RWs and keep backups offsite.

Yes, this is very important. Pretty pointless to have them all in one place. But maybe I am over paranoid.

I just wish EHD's had password protection and encryption capabilities. Theft or leaving them out in an hotel room is a nightmare scenario. Why do they not do this?

The one I bought recently is so small it would fit in a back pocket, not that anyone would want to put it there.

8:19 am on July 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

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For the really important stuff I have one backup onsite and one backup with carbonite online.
9:02 am on July 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

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As some here have already pointed out, the problem with EHDs for backups is: If your place burns down the backup on your EHD is pretty much useless. Same when your system is effected by a virus or trojan which erases all harddrives or encrypts data.

I wonder what would be a good backup strategy nowadays. Right now I am also using an external harddrive. In addition I transfer the most important data encrypted to Amazon S3. Problem is: Uploads take too long so its not suitable for all data.

2:05 am on July 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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With so many of us using EHDs for backups:

- How do you get rid of your old back ups?

- Does anyone encrypt the data on the EHD? Is this even possible?

While it is great to have something small enough to put in a back pocket, having the data so vulnerable and portable makes me very nervous. Backups, do afterall tend to have some pretty sensitive data.

[edited by: Visit_Thailand at 2:07 am (utc) on July 16, 2008]

11:27 am on July 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I archive old backup onto DVD and retain them until they are no longer useful.

Once no longer useful, I destroy the DVD by cutting it into pieces.

The backup program I use has the option of 256 bit encryption so that you can safely mail the backup, on whatever format (DVD, USB flash drive, etc). The recipient (my offsite store) has a copy of the program and password making restore onto the offsite server easy.

The key to all this is backing up regularly.

With regard to the EHD being lost/stolen, that is always a potential issue. For me, I treat the EHD with the care and attention I give to my credit cards and cash. I have the knowledge that the data on the EHD cannot be used, even if the disk can be used by the thief.

I'd add, whenever a EHD, or HD in a computer, becomes redundant, broken, or whatever, I never recycle the drive in an operating condition. I enjoy the process of taking the thing apart (carefully) and destroying the data surface, although I haven't done that recently.

1:04 pm on July 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Does anyone encrypt the data on the EHD? Is this even possible?

You can either encrypt the whole harddrive, for example with a software like truecrypt. Many backup solutions - for example the free Cobian Backup - have encryption built in.

1:07 pm on July 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I have monster drives in my system, and yet I still use all of about 5gigs, including OS.
12:49 am on July 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I use EHD in my office for most back up stuff, but I also have a subscription to Carbonite.com and that is what I use for the off site back up. I had to recently pull files off of Carbonite and it worked perfectly without a hitch.
1:21 am on July 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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That's a couple of people who seem to be using Carbonite.

I guess those that do are not sending very sensitive data (like password back ups etc) there?

Also with online back ups how do you get around the slow upload speeds?

Is anyone using encryption such as PGP as outlined in this thread:

[webmasterworld.com...]

5:40 am on July 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Have a 500Gb external for my backups, but am getting nervous as the drives only last a couple of years in my experience. Need to upgrade to a 1 or 2 TB drive.

Also I have distributed many of my files to hundreds of people over a wide geographical area by sending out CDs, it would be a pain to get them back though.

I need to clear out the drawer with backup CDs in it before it breaks the chest of drawers. They used to be stored in my bedroom cupboard until they kept falling down and hitting me on the head every time I opened the door!

7:25 am on July 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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That's a couple of people who seem to be using Carbonite.
I guess those that do are not sending very sensitive data (like password back ups etc) there?

At this point, the only thing I store online are closed client files. Sensitive? I suppose. But most of the info is publicly available at the court house.

Also with online back ups how do you get around the slow upload speeds?

If you have a large file, initial uploads can take a long time. I think my initial upload took a couple of days - not sure exactly how long since we started it Friday at closing time and it was complete when we came back on Monday.

Once the initial upload is complete, new data is backed up automatically.

9:24 pm on July 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I guess those that do are not sending very sensitive data (like password back ups etc) there?

I am not storing the identity of JFK's assassin up there, some of the information is probably sensitive like my QuickBooks data (which is password protected) and business files. However Carbonite encrypts the data it sends up there so it is probably double protected if you also have a password on the file. I suppose if you were really paranoid you could encrypt the data with PGP, or at least key files, before you allow Carbonite to back it up.

Also with online back ups how do you get around the slow upload speeds?

Lawman is right, the worse part is the initial upload. Depending on how big the initial file is it could take a lot of time. Mine took approximately 3 weeks, but I set it so that it used low resources when I was working and heavier resources when I wasn't on the computer.

Also restoring files, if they are large, can take some time as well, but the fact that the data is backed up automatically off-site for such a low annual fee makes these annoyances minor.

 

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