HELP! Computer/photo back-up questions

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Computer wizards:
Help!

I am trying to get an idea of what sort of simple back-up systen I need for my computer. I need it to be simple, and reliable, because I am not a very techy guy. .

We are running Windows 7, and my photos are clogging the hard drive.

What I would like to do is to load my photos onto the computer, using my Picasa 3 editing software, (No knocking Picasa,please...it's what I have, and am able to use, after trying and failing miserably at 4 others! to do minor tweaking, like straighten and adjust lighting levels, delete the horrible ones, save the original, make a copy with final cropping and editing done, and maybe a smaller one for internet posting, then move them to an external hard drive for storage, able to recall the files when/if I want to crop, email,etc. or print.

For secondary back-up, I figure Costco CDs look good, with their claimed long life span. What is the actual life span of a CD, anyway? Costco claimed 100 years, but...I have my doubts...they used t be made by Kodak, but now, they are a different color.

So,am I going about this the right way? Will what I visualize even work?

I am looking at a Seagate Backup Plus 1.5 TB external hard drive. Will that be sufficient to my needs, which are rather modest, compared to my friend, the Canon shooter.

Thanks
 
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Personally, I store all my photos on a Seagate external hard drive. Then, I back them up on a second external hard drive. Finally, I keep a third external hard drive off-site as another back up, I use Microsoft's Sync Toy to synchronize the drives...it is quick, accurate and painless.

Glenn
 

Growltiger

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CD-R disks are indeed reliable, but useless for this because they hold very little data. DVDs are much less reliable, don't risk it. And still not very large.

So external hard disks are the answer.

But you would be better off putting a decent sized disk in your computer so all your photos are stored there, and using the external drive as a backup. This is more convenient. If you don't do this you will need to do what Glenn says, have at least two externals, with one backing up the other.

PS. Nothing wrong with Picasa.
 
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Keep an eye on SyncToy

I used to use SyncToy long ago - it has one fatal flaw in that if two identical files have been modified since the last sync, it simply assumes the latest version is the one to keep. I had a hard drive go south gradually and some files were corrupted and SyncToy kept the corrupted copies instead of the intact ones prior to chkdsk finding the bad sectors. Fortunately, I always have 3 copies and the 3rd saved me from losing the files.

Ever since I've used Araxis Merge to physically inspect and compare each volume. I can compare three volumes simultaneously and it will show me line by line the changes in text/binary files as well as highlight changed pixels in images.

Sean
 

Growltiger

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I don't trust Microsoft SyncToy because its logic depends on putting little hidden files all over the place. I don't need two way sync, and if you only need one way than there is no need for the hidden files. But SyncToy creates them anyway.

I also need to sync machine A to laptop B, then take the laptop somewhere and sync B to machines C and D.

After one huge mess-up I uninstalled it.

So I still use Karen's Replicator. Sadly Karen died and it is now unsupported.

But - John - I'm interested to read about Syncback. Does it use hidden files like SyncToy? Their website doesn't say how it works.
 
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But - John - I'm interested to read about Syncback. Does it use hidden files like SyncToy? Their website doesn't say how it works.

I doubt it, Richard, because it does quite an extensive update scan and comparison before it's ready to start the back-up/sync. I just had a quick look for hidden files on my PC, and couldn't find anything.
 
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I used to do what Glen does, but after having an external drive fail on me (it was a Seagate, by the way), I got a Drobo. It's backed up, and then backs itself up. I can put up to four 4TB drives in the expansion bays (for a total of 16TB of storage) and they are hot-swappable. It's a bit expensive, but the peace of mind it gives is well worth the price, IMO. And it couldn't be simpler: Plug and play.
 
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Back when I was only using 1 external as a back-up it failed and I lost all of my files, it happened to be a Seagate. The company replaced it under warranty, but they were unable to retrieve the data from it. I now use two external drives, one a mirror image of the other, and one of them is kept in a separate location. Since most of what changes on my computer are photos files, I back them up manually as part of my workflow. The extra few minutes I spend doing so gives me piece of mind. Also a lot of my photos are posted on smugmug and those files can be retrieved at will.
 
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Synctoy bit me in the but a couple of years ago. I lost quite a few original RAWs in part to the software screwing up and an oversight on my part. Mostly Synctoy's fault though. Ever since I have been using allwaysync. Manual syncs are available in the free edition. Its worth to pay for the extra features though. It hasn't let me down yet.
 
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What ever sync tool you use, I highly recommend Glen's solution of multiple copies .. including one you store elsewhere offsite, but have access to it if you need it. I have four drives. One master, one copy .. both stay with me. A second copy stays at home. A third copy stays at the office. All are USB-powered WD My Passport drives. Since they don't run all the time, they don't burn out fast.

I import photos into a catalog local to my computer, do all my adjustments and edit all of the metadata and apply my ratings. When all of that is complete, I move them to my master and update all my copies.
 
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Ever since I've used Araxis Merge to physically inspect and compare each volume.

Didn't thik anyone else used this thing. Been using the same version for about 12 years now. Guess maybe I should look at updates.

What ever sync tool you use, I highly recommend Glen's solution of multiple copies .. including one you store elsewhere offsite, but have access to it if you need it. I have four drives. One master, one copy .. both stay with me. A second copy stays at home. A third copy stays at the office. All are USB-powered WD My Passport drives. Since they don't run all the time, they don't burn out fast.

100% - One copy on a Drobo that is plugged in but turned off. Then one copy sitting on a shelf in my office. And finally one copy is a safe deposit box, this and the copy on the shelf get rotated. For the shelf and box volumes I installed a hot swap drive bay and just use bare drives. Cheap, easy, and backup/compares are at SATA speed, not USB.
 
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I keep three copies of my boot drive, images and personal documents (I use a Fujitsu sheet-fed scanner to convert everything to electronic documents). I use software to regularly backup both the OS and data drives. Keeping the third copy physically separated is even better, but I don't.

I used Iomega's JAZ drives back in the day. I once tried to access the drive cartridge and it wouldn't read...none of the copies would read. Even another JAZ unit failed to read them. :eek: Fortunately I had the old hard drive I originally used on the shelf. I was able to un-delete the images and got practically everything back. From then on I use hard drives only and keep three copies.
 
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Used to use Synctoy, but it stuffed up, so also now use Syncback - great. I love plugging in my hard drive and Syncback automatically fires up and does a backup.
 
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Didn't thik anyone else used this thing. Been using the same version for about 12 years now. Guess maybe I should look at updates.

We use it at work quite a bit. I'm up to the 2010 version of Merge - I like being able to plug in both of my backup drives and doing the 3-way comparison all at once now. In the past, I had to do A to B, A to C and then A to B again to catch any changes that drive C passed along to A. Now it's all one operation.

Sean
 

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