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What backup config is best for me, NAS or external HDD?

My current external hdd that I have backed up files and system images to over the last few years has been around some time and I'm looking to increase the storage capacity.

I don't know much about NAS, so is there any advantage to them for a single home computer user? Do they have the ability to backup to multiple drives at once? Are single drive backups adequate so long as you transfer the data to new drives frequently. I'm interested to hear of any backup tips if anyone wants to share them... Thanks.
Reply to kol12
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  1. NAS is not needed. But you could make a hobby out of it and have fun using one. IMO they are still too expensive for wat u get out of them.

    You'd be better off just adding another drive or two and better management. i have twenty years experience and no need for a NAS for backups.

    Acronis works best for me. Been using it for 12 or more years np. (Used Norton Ghost and Powerquest before it.)

    Just keep adding Backup drives but most important understand the following:

    1. Understand the difference between Full backups, versus Incremental backups, versus Differential backups, and how that is the key.

    2. Next, isolate Data from the OS. Then use the mindset of a backup admin. Here's how:

    3. On the 1st day of the month (2nd or third if u forget but try best for the 1st day always) make a Full backup of the OS drive and create a separate Full backup of the Data. (Save them in folders with the Year-Month-Day (call it "2017-01-01" for example January, even if you forget until the 2nd day or 3rd, etc.); have a location for OS Image Backups and another for Data Backups.) Be sure that you prepare the system by cleaning up temp files and if need be, by DE-fragmenting, only if it is not from an SSD of course.

    4. Then, on the 2nd day make Incremental backups of the OS drive and the Data. They should be very small. (Incremental backups are approximately 1/90 of the size of a Full backup. But, the time they take to make are approximately one to three minuets, due to, and regardless of the type of Backup, that there's always about a 45 second space of time that the backup program takes to begin implantation. But it is still pretty fast compared to a 20 to 30 minuet for a Full backup to complete.) And Incremental backups give you a great way to see everyday that the PC seems to be working normal. (Save them in the original Full Backup folders. Be sure the Full is not overwritten and the the Incremental backup file's Names are generated correctly.) Be sure that you prepare the system by cleaning up temp files and if need be, by DE-fragmenting before incremental backups, if it is not from an SSD of course. (But try and use a DE-fragmenting utility that only defrags fragmented files- it might be called a partial DE-frag or something, or else the Incremental backups will be too large. One alternative is to only defrag fully on the 1st day and skip all defrag the rest of the month. But you will get better results doing a Full DE-frag before a Full backup on day one of the month and a partial defrag before an Incremental Backup every day.)

    5. Finally, after making Incremental Backups everyday, and starting on a new Full backup the next month you can eventually delete all Incremental Backups from the previous month, thus regaining a lot of Hard Drive space. :) (The Full backup that remains can be customized to fit on Blue-Ray disk. And realize it is a fully functional backup even after the Incremental ones are gone. I suggest waiting several weeks before deleting Incremental because if the new Full backup ever failed to restore.)

    6. After a Backup (Full or Incremental) is made always check the size. And you can have the Backup program skip Verification procedure after becoming comfortable. Verification procedure can be a waste of time and it could run in the background when you don't want it to. So skip it after you're comfortable with a program.

    GL
    Reply to Bee_Dee_3_Dee
  2. kol12 said:
    My current external hdd that I have backed up files and system images to over the last few years has been around some time and I'm looking to increase the storage capacity.

    I don't know much about NAS, so is there any advantage to them for a single home computer user? Do they have the ability to backup to multiple drives at once? Are single drive backups adequate so long as you transfer the data to new drives frequently. I'm interested to hear of any backup tips if anyone wants to share them... Thanks.



    Read this thread for some tips and procedures:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-3383768/backup-situation-home.html
    Reply to USAFRet
  3. Thanks for the reply's . It appears the trend with both of your guys backups is only to make full backups every 2-4 weeks with incremental's in between, so is there no benefit or reason to make full backups more often?

    Because I still own the free version of Macrium I can only do differential backups, now I understand a differential will only keep backing up data since the last full backup not the last differential correct? What is the advantage to incremental then? Smaller file size?

    @USAFret So the USB 8TB is your backup backup drive? How long does it take to copy the NAS to the USB 8 TB and does that get overwritten each week?

    I take it then NAS is only beneficial to home/office networks... I'm curious though, what is the benefit to RAID in NAS?

    I like the idea of preserving data on hardy DVD/Blu-Ray also...

    At any point in time do you refresh your drives? I.e. replace and copy the data over?
    Reply to kol12
  4. The RAID in the NAS box is RAID 5. 1 drive out of the 4 could die, and no data would be lost.

    This particular NAS is not just to hold backups, but it will also, very soon, be the HTPC as well. Take over playing movies and music directly to the TV.
    It is a very capable multimedia device.

    Backing up the entire NAS to the 8TB takes 3-4 hours. But that is scheduled to happen while I'm not home, so it does not impede my use at all.
    Reply to USAFRet
  5. I think NAS is mostly used for replication, make sure your data is backed up onto external media on a routine basis, as an earlier posted so very thoroughly! :)
    Reply to RolandJS
  6. @USAFret Is there any particular reason you continue to do incremental for two weeks rather than full images each week? How long do you retain your full and incremental images?
    Reply to kol12
  7. kol12 said:
    @USAFret Is there any particular reason you continue to do incremental for two weeks rather than full images each week? How long do you retain your full and incremental images?


    Every 14 days, the daily incrementals are rolled into a Full.
    The incrementals go away individually after 14 days.

    A daily incremental allows finer grained recovery if needed.
    So I could recover from any day in the last 2 weeks.

    And 2 weeks of daily incrementals is less drive space consumed than 2 x Full images.

    Lastly...its all on automatic.
    Reply to USAFRet
  8. @kol12
    Here's how i manage Full and Incremental Backups with Acronis True Image backup software:

    http://i399.photobucket.com/albums/pp73/Bee_Dee_3_Dee/Capture_2017-06-01.jpg

    On the 1st day of the month, i create a new folder for the new month's backups. Sometimes i forget until the 2nd or third day, but i still name the folder "[Year]-[Month]-[01]". Like in March example ^^ all those files are in a folder named, "2017-03-01".
    The full path is:
    "Acronis Image Backups\i7X99 Gigabyte\X99PC Boot Drive\2017\2017-03-01".

    Then, i make a full backup for the 1st day of the month. And everyday of the month i make an Incremental backup. The backup program generates names for all the Incremental backups after basing the name of the Full backup on the name i give it.
    i used for the Full backup the following name:
    "CDE (Entire Boot Drive) 2017-03-01".
    Acronis True Image added:
    "_full_b1_s1_v1.tib"
    And the Full backup name generated became:
    "CDE (Entire Boot Drive) 2017-03-01_full_b1_s1_v1".
    And all the Incremental backups include, "_inc_b1_s[#]_v1" in their names.

    The size of each Incremental is so small that i hang on to all the Incremental backups for several days, weeks, or even months. But i get reminded to delete past month(s) Incremental backups whenever space is starting to fill up on my backup drive. (Example: all Incremental backups before March are deleted. Note: Incremental backups for March add up to 3.29GB. So when i get around to deleting all Incremental backups from March, April and May, there should be approximately 11GB additional free space.)

    Note: the Full backup i made this morning means there's no need for the 29 incremental backups made the previous month. :-)
    Reply to Bee_Dee_3_Dee
  9. And this is what mine looks like
    The C drive in my main system:


    No creating new folders, no remembering or forgetting to delete....it just rolls along automatically.
    Each system and drive gets its own folder: <ComputerName_C>, for instance.
    Reply to USAFRet
  10. Best answer
    USAFRet said:
    And this is what mine looks like
    The C drive in my main system:


    No creating new folders, no remembering or forgetting to delete....it just rolls along automatically.
    Each system and drive gets its own folder: <ComputerName_C>, for instance.


    yes, cool. :-)

    imaging can work however u prefer and it should. i could do it like u do np. i just prefer having a separate folder for each year. And a folder for the month. And manually deleting older incremental files rather than setting the program's settings to automatically do it for me.

    oh. stuff about backups especially Imaging, has always reminded me of the best Synchronization program. (Many years ago i searched and searched for days and weeks for the best of the best.)

    have u ever heard of, "AllWaySync"?
    https://allwaysync.com/

    i discovered it years ago when i needed something that would never ever freeze-up during synchronizing files, ESPECIALLY large files like Image backups. :) So, if u ever want to synchronize endless number of Image files no matter how many or how big, i have had pure success for over 5 years with it. (Be careful with any "auto-delete" options it may have. But i bet that the newer versions are fixed as far as making it more obvious. The older version i use (v16.0.1) has it set, by default, to delete an original file in some situations and caught me off guard one time. i never forgot after that.lol)

    Oh, and AllWaySync works with ANYTHING ANYWHERE in ANY FORMAT!!! i LUV Syncing different PC's Image files on my LAN network with it. And it has a Pause and Resume feature that is also fail-proof. I think that that is my favorite part. :-)
    Reply to Bee_Dee_3_Dee
  11. Bee_Dee_3_Dee said:

    have u ever heard of, "AllWaySync"?
    https://allwaysync.com/


    For a similar function I use/used FreeFileSync or SyncBackFree.
    Very similar functions.
    Reply to USAFRet
  12. And this is the NAS box going it's own weekly backup to the USB connected 8TB


    About 4 hrs.
    Reply to USAFRet
  13. Thanks for the further insight into your backup schedules, I think I may tailor mine similarly.

    USAFret has mentioned FreeFileSync or SyncBackFree to me before but I will check out AllWaySync as well.

    @USAFret Last I checked out SyncBackFree it had a few a few positives on Virustotal.com, I read around more and SyncBackFree claim they are false positive, but further reading from users suggest the program does contain adware stuff, opinion?
    Reply to kol12
  14. "...FreeFileSync or SyncBackFree..." I do know FreeFileSync gives my PUP alert fits at first, I have to do a custom/advanced install to get around the added stuff.
    Reply to RolandJS
  15. Sorry I made a mistake. It was FreeFileSync that had positives at Virustotal.com not SyncBackFree. I think they are mainly PUP's but some users were complaining that they are obtrusive...

    SyncBackFree has an issue with not being able to run tasks from task scheduler under a standard user, privilege conflict, so can't be automated.

    The main reason I'd like individual file backups is for my data drive, as it has large amounts of games installed on it also so obviously I wouldn't want to be making full images of that... I'd like to get the full version of Macrium that does individual backups and keep everything done from within the same program...

    PS: Are there any particular USB drives you'd recommend for backup drives?
    Reply to kol12
  16. I tend to favor usb external pancake-size platter-driven hard-drives, presently, I'm seeing many 2-3TBs and even larger. I use two for each computer.
    Reply to RolandJS
  17. RolandJS said:
    I tend to favor usb external pancake-size platter-driven hard-drives, presently, I'm seeing many 2-3TBs and even larger. I use two for each computer.


    I take it you mean 2.5" externals? Any brand/model you prefer? I've always been a bit of Seagate guy...

    Considering an external for backup purposes wouldn't be constantly spinning is there a particular length of time before you might consider copying everything to a new hdd to reduce risk of mechanical failure?
    Reply to kol12
  18. I chose Bee_Dee_3_Dee reply as the solution mainly for "imaging can work however u prefer and it should" but most of the reply's offer good solutions. :)
    Reply to kol12
  19. kol12,

    u asked a few days ago,

    "PS: Are there any particular USB drives you'd recommend for backup drives?"

    In 2015 i started using the following 5TB drives on my HTPC with total success... i have two of them and never a problem:

    https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822178501&cm_re=STDT5000100-_-22-178-501-_-Product

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J0O5R2I/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=IVWZH3GMC8CUZ&colid=1F6AAL1561ADQ

    (Note: i formatted them and got rid of any software on them. i haven't read the reviews on NE in a while, and don't recall why they seem negative based on 3 of five eggs. But i LUV them. Ppl on Amazon seem to like them a lot more than NE.)

    And i should mention that originally i confirmed that they were 7200RPM, just in case i ever wanted to use them for installing games on as an internal drive. But i chickened-out on ever thinking of removing them from the External case; because it seemed a little more difficult than worth doing, versus the effort it would take. (I don't like the idea of man-handling an HDD. And YouTube vids of it seemed too amateurish.) So as external USB drives they are great and fail-proof for large files on my HTPC and should handle Backup Image files just as well. Prices are great and Seagate used excellent drives in them in order to get their USB division moving- I read in reviews.

    In 2016 i discovered something rather remarkable:

    https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822179032&cm_re=STEL6000100-_-22-179-032-_-Product

    ^^ a (2-port) USB 3.0 Hub built in. Amazing!!!

    Last but not least, don't forget USB 3.1 drives as an option. Be sure to shop for them if u have a MOBO with USB3.1.

    GL :)
    Reply to Bee_Dee_3_Dee
  20. kol12 said:
    RolandJS said:
    I tend to favor usb external pancake-size platter-driven hard-drives, presently, I'm seeing many 2-3TBs and even larger. I use two for each computer.

    I take it you mean 2.5" externals? Any brand/model you prefer? I've always been a bit of Seagate guy...
    Considering an external for backup purposes wouldn't be constantly spinning is there a particular length of time before you might consider copying everything to a new hdd to reduce risk of mechanical failure?

    I just now saw this! I have different brands because I bought 'em from Office Depot/Office Max, Costco, etc.
    Yep, the usb externals; you know, I never measured the length and width and depth :)
    Concerning mechanical failure, you mean when I consider replacing the source, internal, hard-drive? If yes, I don't have a timetable, if/when SMART gives an alert -- I quickly backup and replace the source HD.
    Reply to RolandJS
  21. Sorry for the late reply. Cool yeah I'll check those externals out, the USB ports would be handy.

    @RolandJS Yeah, I meant mechanical failure, checking SMART = Smart idea ;)
    Reply to kol12
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