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James Rambo
05-30-2007, 8:23 PM
I urge everyone to make a backup of your hard drive. I have been using the same computer to do all my work for 4 years now. loml uses hers to help to create files to transfer to mine that is used for the laser. I spent a few hours a couple weeks ago to create a file to be engraved on 4 marble plaques to be delivered the next Thursday. I ordered the plaques and spent time on other files to use at weekend shows in the future. The plaques arrived and a turned on the computer and nothing happened the hard drive had died nothing was recoverable and I lost all the last 4 years of files. PLEASE backup your information to a removeable drive. Dont lose everything.

Pete Simmons
05-30-2007, 8:44 PM
I have been looking into a 2nd hard drive via a USB port such as "The Book".

I think I see how it works easily to backup data with many options.

What I want to do is clone an image of my present hard drive, op sys and all such that in a HD failure I can swap out the drives. I would bet having the OP Sys on the drive will mess everything up.

Anybody have any good ideas how to do this??

Frank Corker
05-30-2007, 8:47 PM
James, I have been down that road many times. Most things can be recovered from a damaged drive, even when they don't work! That said, something as complicated will cost you dearly.

Before you discard everything as a complete loss, there are many programs on the market that will allow you to retrieve your files, success even when it has been accidentally formatted. One that I used with complete success, was on a disk I had considered to be completely 'dead', now I've been around computers since the eighties and this one really did the trick. where others had failed to touch. R-TT data recovery www.r-tt.com/ (http://www.r-tt.com/)

If you still have your disk and you haven't reformatted it, try the program.

Ed Maloney
05-30-2007, 8:51 PM
I have no clue how you are going to sleep tonight.

I just tried to add memory to my laptop and lost my current email and other settings for various programs. The first thing I did was to make sure the laser and drivers were OK and they were. Made a back-up of my Corel files last week.

Everyone should learn from James's situation.

James Rambo
05-30-2007, 9:26 PM
I sent the hard drive to a company in California they had it for 10 day e-mailed me the progress a couple of times they replaced parts two times and they said it is not recoverable. I opted for them to send it back to me. Maybe for a decent burial. I don't know what else. Paper weight maybe..

Scott Shepherd
05-30-2007, 10:00 PM
One additional tip is to always buy a surge supressor/battery backup that insures their product. I had a battery backup/surge supressor from APC that allowed a power surge to come through and zapped two hard drives and my entire computer. I packed it up, sent it to them, they verified the unit had failed in a matter of a week or so, and then authorized my data to be recovered at about $4,000 in cost, along with replacing my entire computer, and they even replaced the battery backup/surge supressor free too. All in all, about a $6,000 claim and they paid it without a single debate over who's fault it was.

Some of the things are very picky, so read the details. I bought one recently and it said that to file a claim, the original packaging must be saved. So, it's stored away, safe and sound.

Make sure your data is backed up and make sure you have surge supressors in place, and that they are insured. Plug your laser into one, it'll cover that if a surge gets through and wipes that out too.

Micah Kaufman
05-30-2007, 10:02 PM
I am new to the creek and thought I would add.... Ghost 10.0 is an off the shelf utility that will image your drive for backup purpose. I believe you can make an identical image of existing drive and boot from it if needed. You can schedule regular backups and/or schedule backups as "data changes". This is just one utility that comes to mind but there are many good backup utilities (some are freeware also but maybe not as user friendly) out there to avoid the angst of lost data.

Bill Jermyn
05-30-2007, 10:54 PM
I religiously use ghost weekly to clone my hard drive as well. I have my hard drives installed in removable bays, and after I do the clone, I swap out the hard drives to make sure the new one works. It gives a lot of peace of mind knowing I always have an up-to-date backup. I highly recommend it.

Frank Corker
05-31-2007, 7:25 AM
The Ghost program is well recommended. I have three 250GB hard disks in my computer and I weekly remove one replace with another 250GB hard disk and back stuff up onto that. The very important stuff I burn to DVD for permanent storage.

Brian Robison
05-31-2007, 9:45 AM
I could be doing this wrong but....
I have a 80 gig external hard drive. I back up my Auto Cad, Corel, photos and music on. I back up 3 computers by just copying and pasting the folders I have them in. It doesn't take up a huge amount of space this way.
I really should back up my e mail addresses too.
I think if I lose everything else I'll be OK.
I don't store the external hard drive near the other computers in case of fire or theft.

Phil Thien
05-31-2007, 9:48 AM
I sent the hard drive to a company in California they had it for 10 day e-mailed me the progress a couple of times they replaced parts two times and they said it is not recoverable. I opted for them to send it back to me. Maybe for a decent burial. I don't know what else. Paper weight maybe..

Which firm did you send it to?

Do you remember the brand of drive?

Were there any funny clicking noises coming from it?

Matt Meiser
05-31-2007, 10:18 AM
Good advise above. Also make sure your backups are physically separated too. I do my backups to a computer in my shop which is physically separated by about 100' from the house. According to my insurance agent the chances of losing both buildings are negligible. We also burn important files (mainly digital pictures) to DVD and take a copy to my parents house about 5 miles away.

If you can, set up your backups to be automated--that way you never forget. And periodically verify that they are working. I was in an class one time where the instructor related a story about a company that found out they had 2 cabinets, one on site, and one off site, full of blank tapes. My backups copy the new files for pictures, music, downloads, etc. weekly so I always have a backup of everything there. Our personal files (my documents, favorites, desktop) get zipped (actually 7z'd (http://www.7-zip.org/)) and copied weekly. I periodically clean those up and keep 1/month after about 3 months.

I developed my plan after attempting unsuccessfully to help one of my wife's friends recover data from their computer after a fire. The drive worked for a minute or two then died. The quote I got from a drive restoration company was something like $1500 MINIMUM. Their insurance would not pay for the service and they basically lost everything they had on the computer.

Todd Schwartz
05-31-2007, 10:33 AM
I am in the computer business and see this all too often. Have been down the road of backing up to tape, backing up to hard drives, backing up to CD/DVD. My latest backup strategy and the best so far is to back up to an off site server. I came across a company that does this for free if under 2GB or $5 per month for over 2GB. You can tell it what to back up and when and how often to do the backups. The best part is that it is automatic, is off site and they are responsible for making sure your data is secure and available. I have no affiliation with the company, but just am a fan. Visit www.mozy.com (http://www.mozy.com) for more info.

Todd

Steven Wilson
05-31-2007, 10:55 AM
I have a NAS attached to my home network and use it to backup my home PC's. The NAS allows me to attach extra external hard drives and I do a drive copy from the NAS to an external drive at the end of the month and then store my external drive in an offsite location. For larger projects (video and audio editing) I burn those to CD or DVD and keep a copy of them off site. Ghost or EMC Retrospect work well for making the backups.

Scott Shepherd
05-31-2007, 10:56 AM
Also keep in mind that CD's and DVD's have a lifespan that's amazingly short compared to what most people think. Most people tend to think CD's and DVD's are forever, in reality, I've seen reports where DVD's start breaking down in as few as 6 years. Chances are if it starts breaking down, it'll be a crap shoot if you can recover the data.

Matt Meiser
05-31-2007, 11:22 AM
Steve, what NAS do you use? I'm running a Ubuntu Linux box to essentially be a NAS I liked. The less expensive ones used a proprietary file system and required client software for access. I especially didn't like the proprietary file system part because it meant that if the device failed, you had to buy another one to get the files back--a scary thought since most hardware has a short life in the marketplace.

Uma Duffy
05-31-2007, 11:26 AM
One solution worth trying is to visit DriveHQ...an online backup service. I have set up 6 computers to back up to their site and that assures that if one computer of ours goes down we can easily retrieve it's files from the online backup service to any of the other computers in our shop.

Barry Basiliere
05-31-2007, 3:23 PM
There are CD's and DVD's available that have a longer shelf life. They are "gold" disks and are billed as 100+ year life.

Make sure that when marking your disks that you do not use regular felt tip pens as they contain chemical solvents that can leach into the media and cause damage. Also avoid P-Touch labels as these can cause the disk to be unbalanced and may break in your computer from the high speed.

glenn bradley
05-31-2007, 5:41 PM
I know the University PC guys at work are using Ghost and like it.

James Rambo
05-31-2007, 7:01 PM
Phil, I sent it to adr data recovery in folsom. Before Isent itItalked to a couple of computer geeks in the Biomed dept. at workand theythoughtit would be a long shot if a could recover anything. If I am not mistaken it is or was a seagate. I'll know exactly in a couple of days, they are sending it back to me. It did not make anynoises the days before, onlywhen I turned it on. It made a lot of clicking sounds, and the error message on screen.

AL Ursich
05-31-2007, 11:31 PM
I started backing up my data on a USB hard drive and 2 months later my Mother Board on my P4 laptop died. No Post check of the mother board. I found that the Hard Drive was good when a friend hooked a pig tail jack to it and the RAM was good. Even the Gateway Service guy said they see very few like this, no beep with the RAM and Hard Drive pulled to test. I only lost a week of files, I do Laser Engraving, Sublimation, CarveWright V Carving on this computer. My other P3's wouldn't run the Sublimation program so I was down.

I did buy another P4 and got the other one fixed. I now have a back up system. When I purchased a second USB "Mobile Drive" from Beyond Micro just like the first to back up my Rotary Computer it would not work with Windows 98. Talking to the Tech He said this is the "Economy Model" and I could have a future front end or interface problem with the "Mobile Drive". He said if it did happen that they could fix it and you would not lose your data.

I was able to back up through the network and out the P4 so I am set. But having a backup saved me.

I do it the manual way, saving all pictures, working files in a Shared Directory and just copy them to the Mobile Drive. I am using 2 drives, keeping both of them updated.

I had a knot in my stomach all day the day my P4 Crashed.... Never again....

AL

I am a former Sony Tech and I fixed Play Stations and Tivo's for Sony and mentioning that to the Technician I think opened him up to discuss my economy unit's short Cummings.

Phil Thien
05-31-2007, 11:52 PM
Phil, I sent it to adr data recovery in folsom...It made a lot of clicking sounds, and the error message on screen.

Thanks for the info.

For future reference, if anyone on these forums ever needs data recovery work done I may be able to save them some serious money or at least increase their odds of a successful recovery. Contact me if interested.

In many cases I'd be willing to barter for services.

John Sobeski
06-02-2007, 9:02 PM
The Ghost program is well recommended. I have three 250GB hard disks in my computer and I weekly remove one replace with another 250GB hard disk and back stuff up onto that. The very important stuff I burn to DVD for permanent storage.

My primary business is owning a computer automation company. We specialize in automation of steel mill equipment. We have been doing this for a long time so backing up is important. You never know when a customer will lose "his software". That is done at the office by using redundant Raid 5 servers and periodic off site storage of the entire file system on DVD's.

At home, I simply use Casper XP to backup my hard disks on the individual PCs. Casper works perfectly.

For other files, I store them on a Buffalo Raid 5 Terrabyte network drive.

If you have just a single computer, my suggested solution is to add a second hard drive and backup the whole hard drive using Casper XP. If the first hard drive fails, the backup is simply booted from as the primary. No messing around spending days reinstalling software and the string of around 100 XP service patches. You can even put the 2nd hard drive in an outboard USB case, turn it on, do the whole disk backup, then turn it back off. If the internal hard drive fails, simply replace it with the backup drive from the outboard USB case. Up and running again in under 10 minutes. I know, I have done it :)

In 20 years, I or my company have never lost a single file despite the hard disk failures that occurr all too often over 50 or so networked PC's.

For simple single PC home use, Norton Ghost is miserable to work with. I bought a copy and promptly threw it in the trash. It is as miserable to work with as is their Anti Virus. You would never believe the amount of registry entries it makes.

For Casper, Google Casper XP from future systems. It beats Norton hands down and is cheaper with a great upgrade policy. I wouldn't use anything else.

No affiliation with Casper. I own my automation company. Woodworking, lasers, etc. are just a hobby for me.

FWIW, I do understand the difference in closed loop position control systems since that is my life's work. Stepper vs linear position encoders vs resolvers, etc. All have advantages and disadvantages.

rick woodward
06-02-2007, 9:43 PM
John Sobeski
You mentioned Norton and i have long had concerns, lets say about Norton. Its about to expire and once again i am looking for anti virus that is better.. Any recommedations?

Matt Meiser
06-02-2007, 9:47 PM
[QUOTE=rick woodward;595660]You mentioned Norton and i have long had concerns, lets say about Norton. Its about to expire and once again i am looking for anti virus that is better.. Any recommedations?QUOTE]

I've been using AVG Free (http://free.grisoft.com) on my home computers for about a year now. My new work computer has Norton--I forgot what a resource hog it is.

Bob Keyes
06-02-2007, 11:05 PM
My primary business is owning a computer automation company. We specialize in automation of steel mill equipment. We have been doing this for a long time so backing up is important. You never know when a customer will lose "his software". That is done at the office by using redundant Raid 5 servers and periodic off site storage of the entire file system on DVD's.

At home, I simply use Casper XP to backup my hard disks on the individual PCs. Casper works perfectly.

For other files, I store them on a Buffalo Raid 5 Terrabyte network drive.

If you have just a single computer, my suggested solution is to add a second hard drive and backup the whole hard drive using Casper XP. If the first hard drive fails, the backup is simply booted from as the primary. No messing around spending days reinstalling software and the string of around 100 XP service patches. You can even put the 2nd hard drive in an outboard USB case, turn it on, do the whole disk backup, then turn it back off. If the internal hard drive fails, simply replace it with the backup drive from the outboard USB case. Up and running again in under 10 minutes. I know, I have done it :)

In 20 years, I or my company have never lost a single file despite the hard disk failures that occurr all too often over 50 or so networked PC's.

For simple single PC home use, Norton Ghost is miserable to work with. I bought a copy and promptly threw it in the trash. It is as miserable to work with as is their Anti Virus. You would never believe the amount of registry entries it makes.

For Casper, Google Casper XP from future systems. It beats Norton hands down and is cheaper with a great upgrade policy. I wouldn't use anything else.

No affiliation with Casper. I own my automation company. Woodworking, lasers, etc. are just a hobby for me.

FWIW, I do understand the difference in closed loop position control systems since that is my life's work. Stepper vs linear position encoders vs resolvers, etc. All have advantages and disadvantages.
I duplicate my hard drive once each week using Dantz Retrospect. Any comments?

rick woodward
06-03-2007, 7:59 AM
Hey Matt
Thanks for the reply. Will look at it for sure. Anyone else have some input?

James A. Wolfe
06-03-2007, 12:29 PM
Has anyone tried to backup their data online with a company called Carbonite? I don't have a high speed connection or I'd give them a try. $50 a year and you can back up all your data and synch a couple of computers as well. Just curious to hear from a user.
Jim

John Sobeski
06-03-2007, 4:15 PM
John Sobeski
You mentioned Norton and i have long had concerns, lets say about Norton. Its about to expire and once again i am looking for anti virus that is better.. Any recommedations?

I have been using the free version of Grisoft AVG on my home computer systems for years. At the office, the commercial version to stay legal. Never, ever had a virus using it.

I do write software for a living and have a very low opinion of anything put out by Symantec (Norton). It is bloatware. You can't imagine the registry entries it makes and how many CPU cyles it eats.

I was at a Large Steel Mill (one of the biggest in the world) and they used Norton as their standard. We were in the middle of starting up a lot of new computers and equipment when a worm infected their entire network (across multiple facilities too). It would have been funny if it wasn't so costly and hindered our work. Every 5 minutes or so, the PCs used for everything from Human Machine Interface (HMI) to program development would shut down then restart. I was on the network behind AVG. Nothing happened to mine.

The absolute worst we ever had was when we hired a new sales manager. He had a version of Norton on his personal laptop. When he connected to our server, Norton decided to change the file dates and times for every file on our servers to some specific date and time (I just don't remember it). That was a catastrophe. We keep several versions of the software we write on the server. Imagine trying to figure out what was the latest version the customer was using:eek: . We had to restore the server from the backup DVDs and got that darn Norton off his laptop.

Policy at my company now is noone running Norton Anti Virus on a PC is permitted to connect to our network. That single incident cost my company many thousands in lost productivity.

Get AVG free for you antivirus and Casper XP for your hard disk backups. For instance in one of my main PCs at home, I have a 200g and 250g installed with a software select. I normally boot and run off of the 200g drive. However, the 250g is in reality a mirror image of the 200g. If I boot off of the 250g, it is exactly the same. Special $10k+ software used for development of other software (confusing huh?) that uses a very extensive and intrusive licensing process works just fine too.

Another desktop (a Dell Optiplex) does not have internal space for a second hard drive. I back up the main hard drive to another drive mounted in a USB outboard drive holder. The original Dell hard drive failed one day. I took the one out of the USB case and put it in the Dell in place of the failed unit. It was up and running in less then 10 minutes from the time I discovered the failure.

All of my home computers are networked and backed up to a second drive using Casper. The network drive is configured as a RAID 5 which means if any of the 4 Western Digital 250g drives fail, I just have to replace it and any data that was stored on the failed drive will automatically be restored from the others.

Even the PC I have dedicated to photography (I sometimes use a tethered Canon camera to shoot closeups on a Bencher copy stand) is backed up using Casper as well as the one dedicated to the Laser. This one and my wife's laptops are also backed up, but only the important files to the network drive.

James Stokes
06-03-2007, 10:22 PM
O.K. I need to back up So tell me in simple terms how to do this.

I bought a 500 gig external hard drive, I have 3 computers I would like to back-up. The first is running windows 98, The other 2 are running XP. What I would like to do is partition the new drive into 3 partitions, one for each computer. I would like to clone the hard drives with all info on the partition for each computer. Then I would like to have an automatic clone backup once a week. Then do an automatic daily back up of all my data. How do I do this and what software do I need?

Matt Meiser
06-03-2007, 10:35 PM
James, looking at Casper as recommended above, it should do the trick for you. http://www.fssdev.com/products/casper/. There probably isn't a compelling reason to create multiple partitions on the drive. To be legal, you'll have to buy three copies of Casper for three computers.

Also, I just got the name (for those who haven't, Casper was the Friendly Ghost. :))

rick woodward
06-03-2007, 11:21 PM
Criminy John !
Thanks alot for that education. I have a sony viao vgn -a600p. I am 54 and Not a computer tech or much more than ON button computer literate LOL ! You obviously have the memory of an elephant and membership in M.E.N.S.A. Wow ! I DO know i have anywhere from 59 to 65 things running in the background and its usually slow to boot up, sometimes slow loading new sites. I have xsoft spyware now, its good. Crap cleaner and regcure. But, i am getting clicks and noises like popups are trying to load. all the time now. Even here. I have never had anything show up with norton, even when i knew i had a trojan. I always thought norton didnt show anything because it wasnt doin NUTTIN ! :confused: . Thank you and Matt. I hope i can get rid of norton without problems. Maybe tomorrow i will download AVG and dump norton. Appreciate it. rick

James Stokes
06-07-2007, 9:24 PM
Well I bought Casper, But it will not recognize network drives. It will only copy to local disks.

Pete Simmons
06-07-2007, 9:45 PM
Bought Caser and a USB drive.

Worked as advertized.

Will not be sure if I really have a bootable HD until I need to switch them out. I hope not for a long time.

I have no desire to test the system.

Even if it would not boot, I do have all my files on the external drive.

I picked up a Maxtor 160G at Staples for $89.

James Stokes
06-08-2007, 7:49 AM
I have a network drive attached to a router and I can not get Casper to see the network. I am trying to use the back-up software that came with the drive but it is extremely slow. I have been backing up one computer for about 11 hrs now and I still have 20 gigs to go.

Matt Meiser
06-08-2007, 10:15 AM
I have a network drive attached to a router and I can not get Casper to see the network. I am trying to use the back-up software that came with the drive but it is extremely slow. I have been backing up one computer for about 11 hrs now and I still have 20 gigs to go.

That wouldn't happen to be one of the Western Digital World Book network drives, would it? They are getting really bad reviews becuase the speed is not as advertised, among other things.

James Stokes
06-08-2007, 10:36 AM
Yes it is a western digital world book.
If I use the software provided to back up all 3 computers I will allways be backing up. I will never get done.

Matt Meiser
06-08-2007, 2:17 PM
Yes it is a western digital world book.
If I use the software provided to back up all 3 computers I will allways be backing up. I will never get done.

I was going to buy one to replace my Ubuntu Linux-based file server. Instead I bought a 300GB drive for the server for $80. Based on what I've read, I'd take it back if you can and go with something else. As I understand, the problems are in the firmware on the drive. Even if you get connected to the drive directly as a file share they are still painfully slow. I also read in several reviews that to get all of the advertised features, you have to pay for an additional service at something like $65/yr. I don't think either the 500GB or 1TB version have a review above 2-3 stars on Amazon. It sounds like Western Digital really dropped the ball on what could have been a great product.

The USB drives have gotten dirt cheap. I bought a 320GB Western Digital for work a few weeks ago for about $110 and my mom got a 500GB Maxtor last weekend for $150.

Pete Simmons
06-08-2007, 4:54 PM
Just backed up the main drive again using Casper. It certainly appears Casper is smart enough to just do the changes as this full back up only took 11 minutes. First time I ran it to a clean disk it took around 45 minutes for about 35 gig of data.

James Stokes
06-08-2007, 8:59 PM
Casper sounded Like what I need but it will not do networks. I really do not want to buy a new hard drive for each computer.

On a side note I did get a refund on the casper software.