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Making backup drives
Old 7th September 2016
  #1
Lives for gear
Making backup drives

Like many, I have my music computer (a desktop PC with windows 7) set up with two hard drives - one for software (HDD), the other for data (SSD). Some licenses sit on usb dongles.

I'd like to back up both, but am getting lost in terminology. Image...mirror....etc.

What I'd like is to make exact copies of each drive, such that if one ever failed, literally I could just pop out the old, pop in the new, and be back in business as if nothing ever happened. Even better would be if the making of these exact copies could happen somewhat automatically and regularly. And if the back up drives could be physically not in the PC, like in another room, that would be even better. But not connected to a commercial cloud service, or even to the internet at all - my music computer is never connected to the internet.

I've read a few articles like this one:

pcmag: The Beginner's Guide to PC Backup

But under "Full Disk Image" they talk about using the backup disk for restoration, not straight replacement.

Image...mirror....nas......?? What do I need?

Thanks.
Old 7th September 2016
  #2
Gear Addict
 

You got it the wrong way around. You want windows on your SSD and write data to the HDD.
There are several ways to backup your data.
If you want to clone the whole disk, you could use something like clonezilla.
I wouldn't recommend it though. Backing only data up that has changed is much more ergonomic and time saving.
You can use a cloud service without being connected to the internet, btw.
Old 8th September 2016
  #3
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just a Robot View Post
You got it the wrong way around. You want windows on your SSD and write data to the HDD.
Yes - I wrote it wrong - the SSD is my System & Software drive, the HDD is data. Thnx.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Just a Robot View Post
If you want to clone the whole disk, you could use something like clonezilla.
I wouldn't recommend it though. Backing only data up that has changed is much more ergonomic and time saving.
OK, more reading -

"clone" = the exact copy I'm talking about - a disk you could stick in the pc and go straight to work with

"image" = the source disk compressed into an image file so you can store more backups, but in compressed form so you can't just use it - it has to be 'restored' to another disk to be used.
Old 8th September 2016
  #4
Lives for gear
 
chrischoir's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by musicus View Post
Like many, I have my music computer (a desktop PC with windows 7) set up with two hard drives - one for software (HDD), the other for data (SSD). Some licenses sit on usb dongles.

I'd like to back up both, but am getting lost in terminology. Image...mirror....etc.

What I'd like is to make exact copies of each drive, such that if one ever failed, literally I could just pop out the old, pop in the new, and be back in business as if nothing ever happened. Even better would be if the making of these exact copies could happen somewhat automatically and regularly. And if the back up drives could be physically not in the PC, like in another room, that would be even better. But not connected to a commercial cloud service, or even to the internet at all - my music computer is never connected to the internet.

I've read a few articles like this one:

pcmag: The Beginner's Guide to PC Backup

But under "Full Disk Image" they talk about using the backup disk for restoration, not straight replacement.

Image...mirror....nas......?? What do I need?

Thanks.
you don't need anything special, you need 'xcopy' on Win or 'cp' on osx. Manually cloning an ssd drive is blazingly fast.
these commands have switches so you can copy only updated files or some other specified criteria. If you use image software which is slow, you will have to clone/mirror/image the whole thing every time. With something like xcopy you just use the /d switch everyday to only update files.
Old 11th September 2016
  #5
Deleted User
Guest
Xcopy is great for copying non-system drives but it's very tricky if not almost impossible to copy your system drive this way as Windows doesn't like to copy system files that are in use. It all looks great until you find that your "cloned" backup isn't bootable. Xcopy can be used to copy your system drive if you run it from a temporary boot disc but you will still have to make the "cloned" drive bootable because the MBR won't be copied. EaseUS Disk Copy is freeware and does a great job. The freeware version only supports drives up to 1 Tb but it's unlikely that your system drive will be larger than that if you are using SSD. It's great to have a recently cloned system drive in a drawer somewhere should your computer go south on you.
Old 12th September 2016
  #6
Lives for gear
If you don't mind spending a bit more, and your PC supports it, you could do a RAID 1 setup. Here, there are two disks that are identical to each other all the time. If one fails, just replace it and run a rebuild. It's a bit much to explain in a single post but worth considering. If your motherboard does not have RAID built in, you'll also need a separate RAID card. Regardless, you should still backup data conventionally and keep it somewhere safe.
Old 12th September 2016
  #7
Lives for gear
Another thing about cloning is the time required. Work on an average SUSTAINED transfer rate of 30 MB/s for an HDD. For every 100 GB of data, you're looking at around 50 minutes; half a terabyte of data will knock you back about 4 hours. That's a lot of time to spend when only a few files have changed.

For SSDs, the matter is worse. Although quicker, SSDs have a limited number of write cycles. So you could wear out your drive in a year or two.
Old 12th September 2016
  #8
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregR View Post
...Another thing about cloning is the time required. Work on an average SUSTAINED transfer rate of 30 MB/s for an HDD...

For SSDs, the matter is worse. Although quicker, SSDs have a limited number of write cycles. So you could wear out your drive in a year or two.
I routinely work my projects using a scratch/master/ext-backup scheme. I know it's rather extravagant, but in the past, I've almost had to start a psychological support group for recordists who had to tell their clients that a song/project was lost due to disk failure or lack of a backup.

In my routine, projects are first recorded/captured/imported onto a 'master' HDD. Then, all work proceeds on a copy of that project that has been moved to a scratch-SSD (not the system drive). Depending on the duration (in days or weeks) of the project, periodic snapshots of the project are copied to the 'master' HDD. When the project is completed, the finals are copied to an external HDD.

My externals are 1TB and 3TB HDD's that are popped into an Inateck FD1003 USB 3.0 'toaster'. Since it's an incremental copy, and not a full image of the master each time, the writing time isn't onerous. Once in a while, the oldest projects are erased from the internal master disk to make space for more incoming work.

I think that the 30MB/s figure indicates the performance of a USB 2.0-attached HDD. My USB 3.0 in combination with a normal HDD sustains something closer to 90+MB/s.

I also think that the reputation of SSD endurance needs a bit of defense. Here's a link to an SSD endurance test that was intended to wreck the SSD's under test:

The SSD Endurance Experiment: They're all dead - The Tech Report - Page 1

As you can see, you'll have to do petabytes worth of writing to destroy the SSD's usefulness.

For me, the cost of SSD's makes me lean toward using them as 'point' solutions. The OS X and Win-7 boot drives are SSD. I confess to having a RAID-0 array of SSD's (an emotionally-driven upgrade) and a big Fusion Drive for upcoming video work, but my 'master' HDD drives and external HDD backups are the big gears of the work flow.

Last edited by MediaGary; 12th September 2016 at 02:58 PM.. Reason: fixed typo
Old 12th September 2016
  #9
Gear Addict
 
hodshonf's Avatar
i JUST did this yesterday.

i have 2 - 1 tb SSD drives in my PC laptop.

i backed up my project drive as a simple copy to an external usb disk.

then i cloned my system/boot drive onto a separate usb disk using the free and SUPER EASY Macrium Reflect.

Macrium Reflect Free

sure, it took some time - got to catch up on some much needed sleep.

interesting about the SSD failure - i bit the SSD mania. but i still have my 1 tb HDDs.

and now that one of the 1 tb HDD is an exact copy of my 1 tb SSD project disk, i can simply swap when needed.

this is just a serious hobby anyway. i doubt i will come close to the 100 tb of writes by the time something new will replace.
Old 12th September 2016
  #10
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MediaGary View Post
I also think that the reputation of SSD endurance needs a bit of defense. Here's a link to an SSD endurance test that was intended to wreck the SSD's under test:

The SSD Endurance Experiment: They're all dead - The Tech Report - Page 1
Yep. This reputation comes from early SSDs. If you got a new and half decent SSD you don't really have to worry about writing it to death.
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