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theMusicMan
19th September 2009, 11:11 PM
... because today, I am so glad my backup processes are thus. Why, you may ask...? please read on.

Well, well, well... what a day. I am so glad that a year or so ago, as an amateur tog, I sat back and took time out to consider what backup processes I should have for my files; what backup media I should use, and how I should put it all together to form a reliable and effective 'system' that would work in the case of a failure.

Today folks... that backup process was, thankfully, proven to work.

Early morning today I had planned to drive off into the Beacons somewhere as Jen and Heather slept, to take advantage of some much needed time to practice my landscape photography... alas, I didn't make it out with the camera at all.

As I came to my desk before I left, camera packed and ready to go... I turned on my Macbook to check the posts here on e-group, on my own site, and my email... and was horrified to see that I was faced with a flashing folder and question-mark icon smack bang in the middle of my screen. After a few minutes serious panic... I Googled and discovered that this indeed indicated a potentially serious hard-drive failure. I tried the Mac 'Disk Utility' and 'repair' commands... but after a few hours of this my shoulders dropped and I came to the inevitable conclusion that for whatever reason... my internal hard drive had failed. This wasn't the original 80GB Mac drive that was in the machine when I purchased it, oh no no no... but the 250GB drive I had installed as an upgrade two years ago. It was quiet... totally silent... otherwise known as dead, totally dead!

Hoping and praying that my backup processes had worked... I called a local Mac dealer to see if they had a replacement, and they had a 2.5" 320GB drive in stock, so at 12:30 Jen and I drove up to AT computers in Treforest and bought this replacement drive - and on the way back stopped off for some shopping (women eh!!) :)

At 16:30 I started the nerve wracking process of removing my knackered drive, and replacing this with the new 320GB drive, installing OSx, then restoring from my time machine backup - and hoping that the thought and prep I applied a year or so ago in determining my backup processes had worked, and that I would be able to recover all of my files.

Incidentally - the backup processes I use are;

Photos: I keep only 2 months worth on the local drive on my Mac, all the rest are stored on an external drive. At the end of month three I move the oldest months images to the external drive, leaving only the last two (and current) months images on the internal drive.
Lightroom: All processing xml's are backed up to external drive - weekly.
Music (mp3's): all of my music is stored on an external drive and sync'ed to my iPod.
Music (my synth stuff and compositions): part of time machine regular (3 per week) backup
Apps, files, all other stuff: All backed up to an external drive using Mac Time Machine - at least 3 times a week.

So...

... at 20:00 I checked the progress of the restore... and hey presto... all my files were present, safe and sound. All my photos are there, all my music is there, all my apps are there, my Firefox extensions are there, my documents are there, my email accounts and mail is there - no re-installs of anything needed at all. LR is there, CS3 is there... everything is there. I was delighted.

Message to all:
This is all because.... a year or so ago I took time to think up an effective and workable backup process for all my important stuff, and I have stuck to it rigorously. It worked.

I can sleep tonight... :)

I can't stress the importance to everyone here, everyone who values their photo's.... please, please ensure you have an effective backup process - because you know what, **** happens, things go wrong and hard drives do fail. You simply won't regret it.

Sorry for the long ramble.*chr

Nick Temple-Fry
20th September 2009, 12:30 AM
Glad it worked out OK.

As I read it you only have one external drive (surely not:(), isn't that the same level of vulnerability as it only requires one failure - unless it is a RAID device.

Nick

Zuiko
20th September 2009, 03:33 AM
Glad it worked out O.K. for you John.

I know from previous crashes how important back-up is but I'm pants at all this technical stuff and in reality my contingency plan for hard drive failure seems to be "go out and shoot some more." :eek: :o

I'm a photographer not a computer engineer. :D

theMusicMan
20th September 2009, 06:43 AM
Thanks both.

@Nick: I have three external drives. One is used soley for my Time Machine (full system) backup, second and third are alternated for my images. I therefore have two backup copies of what's most important to me i.e. my images. I have also recently started archiving to DVD.

snaarman
20th September 2009, 07:25 AM
Yes, a very unpleasant experience. I keep backups on a single external drive.

I also had a main drive go down in a PC 3 years ago. No warning, it just stopped halfway through a Photoshop session. I only lost 3 weeks worth of pictures - at least I didn't lose the lot.

So: Backup is vital. These files are all we have, no transparencies or negatives to go back to!

Pete

sapper
20th September 2009, 07:32 AM
Glad it worked out O.K. for you John.

I know from previous crashes how important back-up is but I'm pants at all this technical stuff and in reality my contingency plan for hard drive failure seems to be "go out and shoot some more." :eek: :o

I'm a photographer not a computer engineer. :D

It really is quite easy. I got a little Lacie external drive for my laptop and it backs up automatically. If I remember, I just plugged it into the USB port.

DerekC
20th September 2009, 07:40 AM
I'm glad you have all you files & programmes restored.
As a member of the hard drive failure club twice, I now back up to a external hard drive and to DVD.

smartwombat
20th September 2009, 07:50 AM
I use multiple levels and multiple drives.
I keep the memory cards until I return home.
Transfer to laptop at the hotel each night when out shooting.
Back-up the internal HD to an external each day.
* first pass LR choices and uploads each night from the laptop
Once at home copy from laptop to 4TB NAS1 (RAID 5)
On the main PC compare backup disk to NAS to ensure valid data.

If it's normal day, then use the PC transfer from cards to NAS1.
Then compare cards to NAS to ensure valid data.

NAS2 (3TB RAID5) backs up photos from NAS1 daily.
NAS3 (3TB RAID5) backs up 2009 photos form NAS2 every two days.
Every few months, I get the cheapest, largest external HD I can find (1.5TB last time at Maplin) and back up just the raw and xmp files from the NAS and the LR catalogue.
That HD then goes on the shelf, labelled with the date, as a last resort.
NAS1 also has a backup of the catalogue, updated daily.
NAS3 runs http and ftp servers for galleries as well as a print server, too.

I don't think I'm paranoid, just careful...

Oh and I keep the deleted folder switched on on the NAS, and journalling and slow CIFS writes, none of the slightly risky optimisations. I trade speed for reliability.

Jonesgj
20th September 2009, 08:26 AM
John,

Glad your process works!


Interesting to read what others do.

My simple home system is as follows.

Main 0.5T external drive which holds all photos and files. New this year.
Redundant 0.5T external drive . New this year.

I have multiple CFs so keep images on these after transference to Main Extrenal Drive. I delete these from the CFs once the images are synchronised with the Redundant Drive.

I synchronise the Redundant drive with my main drive after taking valuable (to me!) photos or every week when there have been changes.

I move the Redundant Drive to another, 'off-site', secure and secret location (the mother-in-laws!) whenever we are away for any length of time.

I use a little utility, which I would highly recommend called 'Good Sync' which completes my synchronisation for me.

I don't see that RAID is necessary with my set-up currently, but always looking for options moving forward.

My strategy is to increase the capacity next year based on the capacity growth of the last two years.

Hope someone finds this useful.

Regards

Graydon

j.baker
20th September 2009, 09:01 AM
I lost 67GB about 7 years ago. I have been backing up my data nearly every day since.

I have tried a number of hardware solutions, and I am currently using Windows Home Server. This has an agent (Windows only) that backs up my machines every day (if switched on).

It can also be used as a file store. The systems does not use RAID, but does file duplication across the installed disks. I also have an external drive to back that data up, and I copy that data to another local machine. About one a quarter, I send a copy to an off site storage location (my father in north wales). I also take DVD and BluRay backups of the important stuff (documents/email/software)

I am glad that you did not loose your photos John.

If anyone wants any advice about backup solutions, please let me know.

shenstone
20th September 2009, 09:31 AM
As with all these post's it's more important that you do it than how you do it. I've also lost a hard drive and with good backup it cost just 2 hours to resolve and no files lost (luckily the last full had been liternally the night before

There are a number of solutions in the thread already... and I could offer my alternative, but I won't it's very similar

For those who are non technical some may sound hard, but there are plenty of free utiliities that either come with the hard drives you could buy or are from reputable companies - microsoft even do one!

The point should be to anyone who's not got a full disk backup is you should... it's easy and it's easy to automate so you never have to worry. It's cost effective to buy a couple of hard drives ( 1.5 Tb drives are less than 100 now) and swap one offsite to work/family.

Diatribe over :D

Regards
Andy

David M
20th September 2009, 12:09 PM
Thanks both.

@Nick: I have three external drives. One is used soley for my Time Machine (full system) backup, second and third are alternated for my images. I therefore have two backup copies of what's most important to me i.e. my images. I have also recently started archiving to DVD.

With one external and one set of DVD's stored off site?

theMusicMan
20th September 2009, 12:15 PM
Hey Dave

No, the external drives are all at home, but I do keep DVD's elsewhere. My mate and I use each others houses!!

David M
20th September 2009, 12:30 PM
Hey Dave

No, the external drives are all at home, but I do keep DVD's elsewhere. My mate and I use each others houses!!

That works but it's a lot quicker to get back up and running from an external than DVD's.

DTD
21st September 2009, 06:18 AM
Don't forget fire and theft! I use two external drives

Superduper automates backing up to one.
Another is kept hidden (in case we get robbed)
Photos are also occassionally backed up onto DVD and kept at my brother's house.

Thinking of using Carbonite to store files on a remote server.

DerekW
21st September 2009, 09:09 AM
Unless the standards of writeable DVDs and CDs has improved over the years they did not have long life characteristics.

DTD
21st September 2009, 06:47 PM
Unless the standards of writeable DVDs and CDs has improved over the years they did not have long life characteristics.

Very true I wouldn't trust them as my only back-up or for long-term storage