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Looking for automated backup recommendations

Posted on 2005-04-27
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Last Modified: 2010-04-03
Hi,

I have a client with a new Win XP home edition desktop. She would like an automated backup system. Are there some good automated backup systems that backup to CDs? Or do they back up to tapes or something else? Can someone please tell me a bit about her options and recommend some products? She is a single user at home but will have important financial data on the PC.

Thanks.

Kara
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Question by:kara334
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17 Comments
 
LVL 3

Assisted Solution

by:charlietou
charlietou earned 140 total points
ID: 13881943
I'm not aware yet of really good automated backups that make use of CD-R's as a medium.  I think tape backup would probably be overkill.

One nice option could be to buy an external hard drive, and use software like Centered System's Second Copy (www.centered.com) to set up and run automated backups on the pertinent files &/or directories.  

If all backups went into one main directory with various subdirectories, it would be pretty simple to drag the whole main directory into a CD burning session, say, weekly, in order to provide a portable, "off-siteable" extra backup.

Hope this helps,

Charlie T.
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LVL 19

Assisted Solution

by:billmercer
billmercer earned 140 total points
ID: 13882133
Nero has a backup to CD option that can be scheduled and automated to some extent.
Obviously, if the data you're backing up doesn't fit on one cd, you'd have to swap discs.
But if you just want to back up a few key folders, this may work for you.

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LVL 6

Assisted Solution

by:BILJAX
BILJAX earned 280 total points
ID: 13882535
Easy!

Use the backup application under System Tools.

Have it run, then have a script run (time how long it takes the windows backup to run first), after the backup is done, plug in a USB or Firewire Drive.



@Echo OFF
TITLE DateName
REM DateName.CMD
REM takes a filename as %1 and renames as %1_YYMMDDHHMM
REM
REM -------------------------------------------------------------
IF %1.==. GoTo USAGE
Set CURRDATE=%TEMP%\CURRDATE.TMP
Set CURRTIME=%TEMP%\CURRTIME.TMP

DATE /T > %CURRDATE%
TIME /T > %CURRTIME%

Set PARSEARG="eol=; tokens=1,2,3,4* delims=/, "
For /F %PARSEARG% %%i in (%CURRDATE%) Do SET YYYYMMDD=%%l%%k%%j

Set PARSEARG="eol=; tokens=1,2,3* delims=:, "
For /F %PARSEARG% %%i in (%CURRTIME%) Do Set HHMM=%%i%%j%%k

Echo RENAME %1 %1_%YYYYMMDD%%HHMM%
RENAME %1 %1_%YYYYMMDD%%HHMM%
GoTo END

:USAGE
Echo Usage: DateName filename
Echo Renames filename to filename_YYYYMMDDHHMM
GoTo END

:END
REM
TITLE Command Prompt


You can figure it out from there, that's how you learn :)
0
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LVL 13

Accepted Solution

by:
Caseybea earned 180 total points
ID: 13882663
Norton GHOST (formerly DRIVEIMAGE from Powerquest) works GREAT.  

Buy:   One extra internal hard drive- large capacity
         Norton Ghost

Set up:
        Full weekly full backups, with incremental all other days.

The whole thing is completely automated once set up.    Go in weekly to clear out "old" backups, check logs and such.   No cd's, etc.

A good solution for a non-techie home user.
0
 
LVL 1

Assisted Solution

by:ZaheerMaster
ZaheerMaster earned 140 total points
ID: 13882670
Hi Kara,
I would suggest a Dual-Layer DVD Writer as your backup solution. I have implemented 3 of these systems so far, with great success.

Here is why:
1) Cost of drive: $50 for a high quality DL DVD writer. I use the NEC 3500A, which is about $72. (Check the lowest prices at www.pricegrabber.com)

2) Cost of media: $1 for 4.7GB DVD, or $5 for an 8GB DL DVD.

3) Ease of use/training: More people have experience with "burning a CD" than running a tape or HD backup application.

4) DVDs are durable, universal, and easy to take off-site. A disaster that destroys the office (like a fire) wont cripple the business because you can take that DVD backup to any computer that has a DVD drive and read the data. It is very easy to throw a DVD in your briefcase at the end of the day, and not worry about damaging it.
***It is important that you tell your client to keep a copy of her data off-site. There is no point in making backups if a fire or flood can destroy them. A bank safe deposit box is best, but even a trusted friend or relative would work just as well.***

5) Consider the size of your data set: If it is less than 8.5GB, this is the most cost-effective way to go. Why purchase a 20GB tape drive to back up 1/5th of that data? It is overkill. A DL DVD drive will give you plenty of room to grow, in this case even double your data size before you have to use more than one disc.

6) I use Nero's Backup program (included with their Ultra Suite - www.ahead.de) with great success. It is very easy to use and at $50, certainly affordable. It has all the essential features like scheduled backups, etc, but not the overwhelming options of something like Veritas' BackupExec. Also, if you don't need the compression (ie, your data set is less than 4.7 or 8.5 GB, you can simply use Nero to burn an uncompressed data CD. Very handy for archiving.

Basically, the one drawback to the DVD solution is its "limited" size - 8.5 GB. With compression, that could easily be 10GB or more. For a smaller company, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.

Hope this helps,
--Zaheer
0
 
LVL 32

Assisted Solution

by:r-k
r-k earned 140 total points
ID: 13882700
I would suggest two levels of backup - one that runs daily and backs up to a second drive in the desktop, and another where she would save important files to a CD (either CD-R or CD-RW, the former are more reliable but the latter are re-usable).

The disk to disk backup should run automatically once a day, backing up any files on the C: drive that changed since the previous backup. This requires having a second disk of approx. the same size as the C: drive, but is more reliable, faster and probably cheaper than backing up to any other media. The software could either be the backup program included with XP, or just the XCOPY command in a one line batch file. Either can be scheduled using the Task Scheduler control panel.

The backup to CD can be done less often, say once every few days, and use whatever CD writing software you have (e.g. Roxio). This requires some interaction from the user, both to do it regularly, and some organization in keeping important files within very few top-level folders so they are easily identified. If the size of files is too large for a CD then consider getting a writeable DVD drive. If you backup to a CD-R (or DVD-R) there is a further advantage of having old backups to fall back on. If the files are important enough then some of these disks should be moved to another location.

HTH
0
 
LVL 6

Assisted Solution

by:WhitePhantom
WhitePhantom earned 140 total points
ID: 13886981
1. Use NTBackup to backup to a USB pen drive, very reliable media.
2. Use Backup Plus: DVD edition (seamlessly backs up to both CD and DVD).
________________________________________________________________________
To install NTBackup on WinXP Home:
1. Insert the Windows XP Home CD.
2. Navigate to the VALUEADD\MSFT\NTBACKUP folder.
3. Double-click the ntbackup.msi file to install NTBackup.
4. You will find it under Start >> Program >> Accessories >> System Tools >> Backup
5. Configure NTBackup to use the pen drive's drive letter.
________________________________________________________________________

Or you can find Backup Plus DVD Edition here:
http://www.backupplus.net/bpdvd.htm
It's $40, but I cannot stress how incredibly seamless this program works.
Download the trial and give it a try; I was very impressed
________________________________________________________________________

I hope this helps,
WP
0
 
LVL 25

Assisted Solution

by:kode99
kode99 earned 140 total points
ID: 13887235
My usual recommendation - Acronis True Image.

  http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/features-details.html

- It is very easy to use.
- It will do automatic backups on a live system - no rebooting or anything.
- Will burn backups to CD directly - but also supports a lot of other media
- Will maintain a backup image in a hidden partition automatically.
- has incremental backups and compression
- only cost $50.00.

They have a demo you can try out.  What would work well depends a lot on just how much data needs to be backed up.  Plus I think the option of something that can provide a full bare metal restore would be quite useful.

0
 
LVL 10

Assisted Solution

by:Purple_Tidder
Purple_Tidder earned 280 total points
ID: 13887585
I really like Nero's BackItUp software, it works great.  You can schedule backups with it, compress your info, backup to CD or DVD depending on drive and preference.  I use it on an entry level server for a client of mine, and so far works flawlessly.
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LVL 10

Assisted Solution

by:Purple_Tidder
Purple_Tidder earned 280 total points
ID: 13887757
Sorry forgot to mention, it comes with Nero 6.
0
 
LVL 22

Assisted Solution

by:dovidmichel
dovidmichel earned 140 total points
ID: 13889089
For this type of user, I have found the external harddrive method the best.

I get a drive that is expected to hold at least 5 days worth of backup and perferably 7. There are a number of programs designed to do just that and from what I have seen they all work great but have different limitations.

So I have found that rather than recommending a specific program I have four or five picked out and compare each with the client's specific configuration and needs.

One of main things here is the end user does nothing. Having the end user load a media is a break point in backups. End User backups should need no intervention from the user at all.
0
 
LVL 6

Assisted Solution

by:BILJAX
BILJAX earned 280 total points
ID: 13889189
Maxtor has a really good solution where you setup what you want to backup, press a button and it'll back it up to the external hard drive.    Just do it before you goto bed and TADA!



AC
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Author Comment

by:kara334
ID: 13900791
Oh my goodness! I have never gotten so many good responses to a question before! I'm going to have to study your suggestions and get back to all of you when I figure out the best solution. But boy am I going to learn a lot!

Thanks to all of you for the moment!


Kara
0
 
LVL 1

Assisted Solution

by:easymage
easymage earned 280 total points
ID: 13925306
I suggest using for backup on cds NOVA BACKUP it is what we use for our clients
http://www.novastor.com/
It is easy to use it creates backup jobs with nice little wizards
clients have been using it for a long time now even previous version and they all are happy with this product..
I highly recomend it
0
 
LVL 1

Assisted Solution

by:easymage
easymage earned 280 total points
ID: 13925320
o yes and with nova backup you only need to remember to put the cd in the rest is all automized all backup jobs you created you can set at what time thy have to be run and what type (full,daily,differential,incremental) ... obviously works well with cd -rw also supports dvd etc all fomrats
0
 

Author Comment

by:kara334
ID: 14002740
Hi Everyone,

I guess it was finally time to close out this question. After doing more research, I've decided to try a Maxtor external hard drive with the Retrospect software it supposedly comes with.

I was so impressed with all of your responses. I've never gotten so much response to a question on this forum before! So I gave all of you points. :) Thank you for your input.

Kara
0
 

Author Comment

by:kara334
ID: 14002763
I just noticed a couple of you got double points because you posted more than once. Oh well. I split them up the best I could. Hope no one's offended.


Kara
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