AVSIG: Backing up your hard drive - WARNING about CDs wwswsigarch.jpg (7236 bytes)

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Jack E. Hammond
AVSIG Member


Reged: 08/23/04
Posts: 8394
Loc: INDIANA
Backing up your hard drive - WARNING about CDs
      #140663 - 01/17/07 12:21 AM

Folks,

WARNING> My computer was getting so sluggish that I decided to copy my files and reformat the disk and restore the slow way. But after I restored everything my CD-ROM R/W refused to operate along with another program. But I was smart: I had take the time to do a "mirror" back up to CDs (where the hard drive is copied by sectors) and decided what the heck I will just return the computer to the way it was before I started. THE FIRST CD DISK of the mirror back up gives a read error, but only after it was half way through that disk and nailed the first sectors where the OS is located!!! Here I did everything right and got nailed. I checked with some people over at Compuserves computer forums and they told me that is a problem with optical disk storage (CD and DVD). With back up of files you can have a verification switch (but you can't with sector backup). Was told that most people think it is reliable because of TV, etc disks. Problem is that with watching DVD the errors are there but it is so fast the eye and ear can't catch it. They stated the only sure way was a magnetic media (another portable hard-drive). LESSON LEARNED by ole Jack.

Jack E. Hammond

PS> Getting all the login names and passwords set has been a bear! I mean "A BEAR!" Took me ten minutes to figure out the login name I used for AVSIG -- ie I now use only one login name for forums I join since a year ago.


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Joe Budge (W29)
Top Gun


Reged: 04/30/04
Posts: 7423
Re: Backing up your hard drive - WARNING about CDs [Re: Jack E. Hammond]
      #140674 - 01/17/07 03:01 AM

Jack,

Thanks for the "heads up." Sounds frustrating! I've been putting off upgrading the system in my office for about a year now because reloading everything is so much fun. Glad you're back on the air and found the password for the 'Sig.

Regards,
Joe


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James Peters (BAK)
AVSIG Member


Reged: 04/28/04
Posts: 1108
Loc: Indiana USA
Re: Backing up your hard drive - WARNING about CDs [Re: Joe Budge (W29)]
      #140688 - 01/17/07 06:19 AM

Jack and Joe...I use an ordinary address book and log in the names,password,ID,etc....particularly if I have different passwords for access to different websites.

Just a thought...

Jim

--------------------
James S. Peters Sr.


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Jack E. Hammond
AVSIG Member


Reged: 08/23/04
Posts: 8394
Loc: INDIANA
Re: Backing up your hard drive - WARNING about CDs [Re: James Peters (BAK)]
      #140799 - 01/17/07 11:35 PM

Dear James,

That is what I am doing now.

Jack E. Hammond


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Russell Holton
AVSIG Member


Reged: 07/07/05
Posts: 14136
Re: Backing up your hard drive - WARNING about CDs [Re: Jack E. Hammond]
      #140866 - 01/18/07 12:09 PM

CDs? You backed up on CDs? Damm your a patient person. I'd at least go with DVDs given the amount of stuff on my hard drive..... But yeah, another drive is the way to go. Soooooo much faster. And cheap if you shop the sales and stock up ahead of time. Maybe 200GB for $60 after rebate or so.

I'm a little puzzled about the errors situation. I think a CD is really about 1TB of space, but it uses a good chunk of it for forward error correction so it's capacity is only about 650 - 700MB. On playback it's all fixed on the fly. If sector by sector copy turned that off, I can see how that's a recipe for disaster.

The biggest issue I've had with burning is making sure the media is matched for the drive. You can't buy any old stuff at the store and have it work reliably. Look and see what the drive manufacturer recommends and things will go much smoother. Also check for firmware upgrades for the drive. There are a number and usually to accommodate different media brands.

Edited by Russell Holton (01/18/07 12:10 PM)


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Jim Bell
AVSIG Member


Reged: 05/05/04
Posts: 14226
Re: Backing up your hard drive - WARNING about CDs [Re: Russell Holton]
      #140917 - 01/18/07 07:40 PM

Russell,

>>The biggest issue I've had with burning is making sure the media is matched for the drive. You can't buy any old stuff at the store and have it work reliably. Look and see what the drive manufacturer recommends and things will go much smoother. Also check for firmware upgrades for the drive.<<

I keep telling folks that too, most don't listen. Next thing you know they're at Walmart or wherever buying c*** media (CD or DVD) because it's cheap, and wondering why they've got a pile of coasters. Ya get what ya pay for...

Sidenote...Tonight is one of the maybe 3 times in ~6 years Cablevision has had a sustained (>30 minutes) complete cable failure. Usually it's the TV that'll fail, 'net still works. Quite a treat to be on right now @ ~31 Kbps on the Zoom modem ;-)


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Russell Holton
AVSIG Member


Reged: 07/07/05
Posts: 14136
Re: Backing up your hard drive - WARNING about CDs [Re: Jim Bell]
      #140970 - 01/19/07 09:08 AM

Quote:

I keep telling folks that too, most don't listen. Next thing you know they're at Walmart or wherever buying c*** media (CD or DVD) because it's cheap, and wondering why they've got a pile of coasters.




*sigh* I have the same problem at work. In that case, it's not so much that it's cheap, it's just where they shop. For some reason the media Plextor recommends can't be bought at most big stores.


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John Cooper [KAVL]
Top Gun


Reged: 04/28/05
Posts: 13640
Re: Backing up your hard drive - WARNING about CDs [Re: Russell Holton]
      #141213 - 01/21/07 06:41 AM

Russell--

You probably already know about MAM-A (Mitsui Advanced Media) gold archival CDs.

--------------------
"Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates, and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. . . . The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible." - Judge Janis Rogers Brown


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Russell Holton
AVSIG Member


Reged: 07/07/05
Posts: 14136
Re: Backing up your hard drive - WARNING about CDs [Re: John Cooper [KAVL]]
      #141260 - 01/21/07 11:32 AM

While using CDs for archiving is a complex issue, I think gold is a waste of money. There are other factors that limit the life of the disk before loss of reflectivity of the backing medium comes into play.

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Jim Bell
AVSIG Member


Reged: 05/05/04
Posts: 14226
Re: Backing up your hard drive - WARNING about CDs [Re: Russell Holton]
      #141297 - 01/21/07 06:02 PM

Russell,

>>For some reason the media Plextor recommends can't be bought at most big stores.<<

Yup, but you can find it online @ Newegg and others. For my external 716A-U/F external burner (the one I use for archiving either to CD or DVD) I use the Taiyo Yuden disks.


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Jim Bell
AVSIG Member


Reged: 05/05/04
Posts: 14226
Re: Backing up your hard drive - WARNING about CDs [Re: John Cooper [KAVL]]
      #141298 - 01/21/07 06:15 PM

John,

>>You probably already know about MAM-A (Mitsui Advanced Media) gold archival CDs.<<

What you really want to do is look at the burner manufacturer recommended and compatible media. Here's an example @ Plextor.


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John Cooper [KAVL]
Top Gun


Reged: 04/28/05
Posts: 13640
Re: Backing up your hard drive - WARNING about CDs [Re: Jim Bell]
      #141331 - 01/22/07 05:58 AM

Jim--

Thanks. I didn't know that. I don't find any particular requirements or recommendations for my NEC CD-R/RW drive on the internet, though.

--------------------
"Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates, and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. . . . The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible." - Judge Janis Rogers Brown


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Jim Bell
AVSIG Member


Reged: 05/05/04
Posts: 14226
Re: Backing up your hard drive - WARNING about CDs [Re: John Cooper [KAVL]]
      #141373 - 01/22/07 11:49 AM

John,

I took a peek at the NEC site, they have DVD media guides, didin't see anything as regards CD-R/RW though. Might be worth checking out though, at least as regards firmware updates.

Overall, as far as media, I've used branded Verbatim for CD/DVD for years, Mac and PC, never had a problem. The Taiyo Yuden disks I'm using now are good, but you may want to look at this page as regards counterfeit disks. Always sumptin', huh?


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Gary Rima - TKI
Public Guest


Reged: 05/03/04
Posts: 1276
Loc: Plano, Texas
WARNING about ANY backup media! [Re: Jack E. Hammond]
      #141377 - 01/22/07 12:15 PM

Jack,

Your warning is with respect to CD's, but the problem is actually much more generic than that. Being in the industry for years, I well-remember drilling into people that to have a *reliable* backup system, you have to do two things. #1 is to do regular backups, of course. #2 is to occasionally actually do a restore from one of those backups, whether there's a need for it or not. I can't tell you how many times I've known of someone (or some business) who was religiously doing (tape) backups but never tested one to see if they could successfully do a restore. When the time finally came for NEEDING to restore, they found out that for some reason - there are a number of potential reasons - the backups were not successfully writing data to the tapes such that it could actually be RESTORED from the backup tapes! You really need to do that occasionally, no matter WHAT your backup media is.


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Dan Barclay [ORG]
Top Gun


Reged: 05/06/04
Posts: 4492
WARNING about ANY backup media! [Re: Gary Rima - TKI]
      #141382 - 01/22/07 12:50 PM

>> I can't tell you how many times I've known of someone (or some
>> business) who was religiously doing (tape) backups but never tested one
>> to see if they could successfully do a restore. When the time finally
>> came for NEEDING to restore, they found out that for some reason - there
>> are a number of potential reasons - the backups were not successfully
>> writing data to the tapes such that it could actually be RESTORED from
>> the backup tapes!

I have a friend (commercial pilot and flight instructor) that was keeping his
logs on the PC. He was copying the files to a CD using Windows Explorer
regularly and had a whole stack of CD's. When his computer finally died he
thought he was golden, until he discovered the CD's were completely blank.
Not corrupted, blank.

He'd put the files to be saved in the Explorer window, showing they were on
the CD, and confirmed he could open them from there. He did not ever pull
one of the CD's out of the stack to see if he could read one cold turkey.

As it turns out, Windows "helps" by caching files you intend to write to a CD
and showing them in an Explorer window. It even lets you access the files
as if you're accessing the CD. HOWEVER, they're not actually on the CD until
you click "Burn to CD" from the drop down menu.

He was dutifully checking that he could read the files from the CD. He just
wasn't reading them from the CD and had no indication of that. He was
stunned to say the least. He had to drink about that for a while.

Your advice to confirm you can restore from backup is golden. My added
advice is to check it right... restart from a dead stop on the machine and
then restore.

Dan


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Robert Mann [HPN-NY]
AVSIG Member


Reged: 05/15/04
Posts: 11777
Loc: NY
Re: Backing up your hard drive - WARNING about CDs [Re: Russell Holton]
      #141386 - 01/22/07 01:23 PM

Russell,

<<But yeah, another drive is the way to go. Soooooo much faster>>

That's what I do. Works great. Only problem is if the whole box gets fried or infected. I do a second back-up of critical files on CD.

Do you use an internal HD, or an external HD and keep it in a separate location?

--------------------
Best,

Bob


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Jim Bell
AVSIG Member


Reged: 05/05/04
Posts: 14226
Re: WARNING about ANY backup media! [Re: Dan Barclay [ORG]]
      #141405 - 01/22/07 10:48 PM

Dan,

I feel for your friend. Out of all the dumb stuff I do with the boxes, the one thing I *don't* forget is to test from the newly burned disc. I have the luxury of other optical drives available; I test the new burn on one of them.


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Russell Holton
AVSIG Member


Reged: 07/07/05
Posts: 14136
Re: WARNING about ANY backup media! [Re: Gary Rima - TKI]
      #141442 - 01/23/07 09:07 AM

Quote:

#2 is to occasionally actually do a restore from one of those backups, whether there's a need for it or not. I can't tell you how many times I've known of someone (or some business) who was religiously doing (tape) backups but never tested one to see if they could successfully do a restore. When the time finally came for NEEDING to restore, ....




BTDT. Defective tape controller didn't erase the first tape label when writing the tape. The restore would bomb on the second reel because the label wasn't what it expected. The data was there on the tape - it just couldn't be retrieved. (Until I figured out how to do it - with grease pencil and a old deck. <g>). Absolutely no errors during the backup (I checked the logs.) Given that they only had a month's worth of full backups, there were no good backups. Test runs on the first reel worked fine.

The problem of course is to have something to restore to without wiping out the main system. You need at least enough disk space to store the test. In other words you have to be at least under 50% usage of the total disk space available to you.


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Russell Holton
AVSIG Member


Reged: 07/07/05
Posts: 14136
Re: Backing up your hard drive - WARNING about CDs [Re: Robert Mann [HPN-NY]]
      #141444 - 01/23/07 09:10 AM

Quote:

Do you use an internal HD, or an external HD and keep it in a separate location?




An "internal" HD used externally using a USB to IDE cable. So far I haven't bothered storing at a separate location, unless you count the fact my laptop (main) could well be at a different location then at home when disaster strikes.

The one problem is that I'm lazy and don't do it very often. I need to set up something network based so I can sync in the background over my WiFi network.


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Jon Carlson
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Reged: 11/24/06
Posts: 60
Loc: San Carlos, CA
Re: WARNING about ANY backup media! [Re: Russell Holton]
      #141519 - 01/23/07 07:16 PM

Quote:

The problem of course is to have something to restore to without wiping out the main system. You need at least enough disk space to store the test. In other words you have to be at least under 50% usage of the total disk space available to you.



Well... you can probably get 99% of the value without that. Pick a file or a few files to restore from the backup and most backup/restore software will run through the tape (or whatever media) to find those files, and it's reasonably likely that if that works then the whole backup will likely work. I realize it's not "guaranteed" to catch all problems, by any means, but it's a simple test that's a whole lot better than no test.

--------------------
-Jon C.


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Russell Holton
AVSIG Member


Reged: 07/07/05
Posts: 14136
Re: WARNING about ANY backup media! [Re: Jon Carlson]
      #141752 - 01/25/07 06:13 PM

Quote:

I realize it's not "guaranteed" to catch all problems, by any means, but it's a simple test that's a whole lot better than no test.




I suppose, but I think a lot of the testing is to make sure you're really backing up everything essential to recovery. I know at one site I was called out because a disk drive failed. Turned out to just be it's power supply (14" Winchester disk). But I had some time, so checking up on the system I discovered that when the second drive was added, it hadn't been added to the backup. And that drive contained the AR Reference file. Without that, the accounting system was about useless. Oops.

To really test, one must restore to another system and see if it can be made to work.


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