Author Topic: PSA: Back up your data !!! (aka Avoiding Data Recovery - Any Questions?)  (Read 7742 times)

Online mevinyavin

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Warning: Incoming rant. >:(
So... I will start by referencing this article I posted not all that long ago:
https://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=39036.msg2748301#msg2748301

As you read downthread there, you will see that some expressed skepticism. I noted that some still might get messed over by it through no fault of their own.

And just last week, fellow comes over with a computer that will boot but won't load Windows. The message from Microsoft says that loading the encryption failed. He needed to use a second computer to retrieve his Bitlocker key, then get his (daughter's school) data using DOS (easier than getting the drive out and plugging it in elsewhere). Lenovo tech support was no help, saying he should just reinstall Windows. There is no indication of what had gone wrong.

Another fellow comes over a few days later. He had a cheap laptop with an eMMC that I had upgraded with the empty SSD slot. Neither drive would boot - from the BIOS, they were not showing Windows installs at all, and Windows recovery came up with 'No Windows on the drive' for both. (It did boot Windows from the recovery flash drive I carry. Fwiw I tried this on the first drive, too.) I told him to call me at night so I would remember to bring my M2 to USB converter and see if the data was readable from other computers, but I haven't heard from him. (This may or may not be an encryption problem - I have no idea why this should have happened to him.)

Which brings me to this thread. Chevra, there is no excuse. If the data on your computer changes every day, you should have a backup solution that is convenient enough to use EVERY DAY. You should have a physical copy, not just use the cloud - you do realize that it isn't so strange to lose physical access to your computer and to your recovery device at the same time (you know, the device you use to certify your identity from a new device because your old one broke/melted/dropped in a lake/was stolen). You want to back your data up less often? Fine, if you don't mind losing your work from that time.

The data that doesn't change (think family photos) should be in two places but needn't be backed up as often. I'm a control freak so have a three-tiered solution that doesn't rely on the internet. But your data should be in two places. Storage is cheap - there's no excuse.

My ridiculous backup solution, for any who care, follows. There should be a few good ideas that will help you with your own implementation.
I use two computers, one for work and one for relaxation. My work computer has a micro-SD slot. A sync program run at the end of a workday checks to see what files have changed and copies anything that has. I also run the same program to any of the flash drives I keep in my pocket.
I use one folder on my desktop (labeled 'active') - everything that I may possibly work on is stored in there. Subfolders organize it by my needs (ie one for my government stuff, one for money, one for my gift delivery business, one for my editing, one relating to the shul kitchen ... you get the idea). I then make use of shortcuts for anything I really touch often, but the sync program need deal with a single folder.
A second entry in the sync program is run whenever I plug in my massive external hard drive. This entry syncs everything - desktop, downloads, and anywhere else that something personal may be stored - but only what is different from last time. I will run this about once a month.
Lastly, I have a recovery drive for resetting the computer to factory settings (sort of - from the day after I was done customizing the computer to my liking). That sits at home.

My second computer has two drives inside, one larger than the other. (There's no SD slot on this one, so that option is out.)
The first entry on my sync program is for the 'active' folder. (Another version does it in reverse.) The next backs files from the Windows drive to an identical section on the second. (I used to make them both bootable, but why I stopped is a story for another day.) This is a simple setting - I simply back the entire User folder. (Again, the only stuff that get copied are what changed from before. Scan takes about twenty seconds; copies are almost always under three minutes. Because they are both fast SSDs, I often have data copying at more than a GB a second.)
There are, of course, files on the second drive that are not on the first. Another sync entry deals with the entire computer - both the first drive and the second - to the aforementioned massive hard drive. This happens on average every six weeks. (The copy for this often takes a longer while - even close to an hour.)

Hence - three (or more) copies of files that matter and those that change often. Two copies for everything else.

A bit on reliability: hard drives will die. Replace them every three years unless you use them constantly (and then more often). SSDs are more reliable UNLESS you are using them constantly (ie but as backups they are better). The cheapest external SSD is a 2.5" internal SSD and an enclosure. You should not be using external hard drives unless you needs exceed 2TB - SSDs are cheaper or close to the same price at that capacity. Strongly consider SSDs even for 4TB because they are close. The cheapest 8TB SSD is a Samsung that sells from Amazon directly for $400, so consider that too over a 8TB hard drive. (You get a 2.5" drive enclosure and you are all set. See my storage drive master thread for details.) SAMSUNG 870 QVO SATA III SSD 8TB 2.5" Internal Solid State Drive, Upgrade Desktop PC or Laptop Memory and Storage for IT Pros, Creators, Everyday Users, MZ-77Q8T0B ($382.00[/s] )



Happy to help if anyone needs advice of this sort.
Less happy to help you with data recovery - it should never be necessary. (Consider that a beracha and a threat all in one.) 

Have a great day!
Quote from: ExGingi
Echo chambers are boring and don't contribute much to deeper thinking and understanding!

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Re: PSA: Back up your data !!! (aka Avoiding Data Recovery - Any Questions?)
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2023, 09:42:28 AM »
I thought SSDs arent good for backup because they lose data if not powered for a while (1 year?)

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Re: PSA: Back up your data !!! (aka Avoiding Data Recovery - Any Questions?)
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2023, 09:51:57 AM »
I find Amazon Prime Photo to be very efficient for photo backup.
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Re: PSA: Back up your data !!! (aka Avoiding Data Recovery - Any Questions?)
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2023, 11:19:27 AM »
I thought SSDs arent good for backup because they lose data if not powered for a while (1 year?)
I haven't heard about this for years. I believe that this may have been one of the slew of problems with early SSDs that became solved. To be clear, though, this is intended as active backup, not something to fill and put in a drawer. If you will do that, use hard drives.

Backblaze (a company that produces drive failure rates from their own use) says this:
Quote
Question 3: Are SSDs good for long-term storage?

Answer: SSDs, like hard drives, are meant to be used. An external drive stuffed into a closet for a couple of years is never a good thing, and it doesn’t matter whether it is an SSD or HDD inside. The evidence of whether an SSD will fare better than a HDD in such a circumstance is anecdotal at best. Still, it is better to use an external drive as a backup of your computer as part of your backup plan—just don’t make it your only backup.
TLDR: use both? I would say it is okay if your data is in at least two places, as above.
Quote from: ExGingi
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Re: PSA: Back up your data !!! (aka Avoiding Data Recovery - Any Questions?)
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2023, 11:30:32 AM »
I find Amazon Prime Photo to be very efficient for photo backup.
I am happy with using the cloud (lemineihem) for one of your backup solutions, just make sure to have another TWO physical locations for the data. The idea being that if your device you use to access the cloud goes, accessing the cloud from another device may not be so straightforward. (We're not discussing the cloud becoming unavailable in some kind of apocalyptic scenario, just you not being able to use it.)
Quote from: ExGingi
Echo chambers are boring and don't contribute much to deeper thinking and understanding!

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Re: PSA: Back up your data !!! (aka Avoiding Data Recovery - Any Questions?)
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2023, 11:46:28 AM »
Isn't onedrive back up the best cloud storage for PC ?
(and cheapest option of you have a family plan)

Constantly syncing with your computer. Accessible on multiple devices, auto backup pictures on Android . Very organized backup.


I find it the easiest and most straightforward.

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Re: PSA: Back up your data !!! (aka Avoiding Data Recovery - Any Questions?)
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2023, 11:47:46 AM »


A sync program run at the end of a workday checks to see what files have changed and copies anything that has.

What program do you use to sync?

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Re: PSA: Back up your data !!! (aka Avoiding Data Recovery - Any Questions?)
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2023, 11:54:01 AM »
Isn't onedrive back up the best cloud storage for PC ?
(and cheapest option of you have a family plan)
Constantly syncing with your computer. Accessible on multiple devices, auto backup pictures on Android . Very organized backup.
I find it the easiest and most straightforward.
See comment above regarding Amazon for pictures.
And one more point - I actually like a slight delay in my backups. Sometimes I make a mistake and overwrite something I shouldn't have. I go to the backup location and get the old one. (The multi-tiered solution is extra useful if I realize in a week that I needed something I deleted.)

What program do you use to sync?

FreeFileSync, but I'm going to switch one of these days because they just announced it will no longer be updated.
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Offline MoYS

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Re: PSA: Back up your data !!! (aka Avoiding Data Recovery - Any Questions?)
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2023, 02:19:48 PM »
@mevinyavin In the other post you refrenced I didn't understand the diferrence between WDE and Bitlocker, if I know my bitlocker recovery key is there any reason to care?

Also, with regard to onedrive, I used to automatically sync, but by doing that much of the data automatically got removed from the physical storage and was only available on the cloud. Also IIRC even after forcing it to keep local copies' if an item was deleted from the cloud the sync worked both ways and would delete the item from the device. Is there any way to set up onedrive in a way that it is only a backup?

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Re: PSA: Back up your data !!! (aka Avoiding Data Recovery - Any Questions?)
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2023, 09:28:23 AM »
@mevinyavin In the other post you refrenced I didn't understand the diferrence between WDE and Bitlocker, if I know my bitlocker recovery key is there any reason to care?
Just that the problems with the first computer story were because Bitlocker was on and something went wrong. For that reason alone, I would keep it enabled only if you need that kind of security for legal purposes (ex. you run a business that stores someone else's info on it). But if you like the idea that no one who steals your computer will be able to see your data without the key, by all means keep in enabled, just make sure your data is also elsewhere.

@mevinyavin Also, with regard to onedrive, I used to automatically sync, but by doing that much of the data automatically got removed from the physical storage and was only available on the cloud. Also IIRC even after forcing it to keep local copies' if an item was deleted from the cloud the sync worked both ways and would delete the item from the device. Is there any way to set up onedrive in a way that it is only a backup?

I assume so but I don't use onedrive at all for a technical reason. Anything automatic that uses my internet connection, which is horrendous, will slow down my access to an extent that I can't use it. So my internet backups are manual when in the presence of a solid connection. Also, I'm a control freak and 'automatic' gives me rashes.
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Re: PSA: Back up your data !!! (aka Avoiding Data Recovery - Any Questions?)
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2023, 09:33:16 AM »
I am happy with using the cloud (lemineihem) for one of your backup solutions, just make sure to have another TWO physical locations for the data. The idea being that if your device you use to access the cloud goes, accessing the cloud from another device may not be so straightforward. (We're not discussing the cloud becoming unavailable in some kind of apocalyptic scenario, just you not being able to use it.)
I currently access my Amazon account from 5 or more devices
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Re: PSA: Back up your data !!! (aka Avoiding Data Recovery - Any Questions?)
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2023, 09:47:52 AM »
I currently access my Amazon account from 5 or more devices
I concede that in this scenario, the only thing you would need to worry about is an Amazon outage (and even if that happens, it isn't likely to last long).
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Re: PSA: Back up your data !!! (aka Avoiding Data Recovery - Any Questions?)
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2023, 08:02:31 AM »
Excerpt from this month's PC Pro.


Long story short, six hours later and with a $60 program plus tech support and he had SOME of the files back.
Why put yourself through this at all? I understand some are mufga enough that they can't be blamed - but guess what! None of you qualify.  8)
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Re: PSA: Back up your data !!! (aka Avoiding Data Recovery - Any Questions?)
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2023, 12:50:39 PM »
Sometimes I take for granted thinking that Google services will never be hacked or go down for a significant period of time.
The mighty always fall. It's just a matter of time.
Google Takeout it is (if I remember to do it and have the patience and a place to store it)
I had a hard drive (I think it was a regular hdd) with a previous Google Takeout and some not important files on it sitting in my draw for around a year. Plugged it in recently and waddya know. Hard drive doesn't work...
Good thing nothing too important.
The part that I don't understand is that it was in a temperature controlled room and I didn't do anything with it and it's still broken.

Does inactivity ruin it?

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Re: PSA: Back up your data !!! (aka Avoiding Data Recovery - Any Questions?)
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2023, 01:04:31 PM »
I had a hard drive (I think it was a regular hdd) with a previous Google Takeout and some not important files on it sitting in my draw for around a year. Plugged it in recently and waddya know. Hard drive doesn't work...
Good thing nothing too important.
The part that I don't understand is that it was in a temperature controlled room and I didn't do anything with it and it's still broken.

Does inactivity ruin it?
Above I quoted Backblaze as saying,
Quote
SSDs, like hard drives, are meant to be used. An external drive stuffed into a closet for a couple of years is never a good thing, and it doesn’t matter whether it is an SSD or HDD inside.
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Echo chambers are boring and don't contribute much to deeper thinking and understanding!

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Re: PSA: Back up your data !!! (aka Avoiding Data Recovery - Any Questions?)
« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2023, 03:43:49 PM »
@mevinyavin Do you have any updated rec's for a syncing software? Also is $60 a good price for 1tb SSD from sandisk?

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Re: PSA: Back up your data !!! (aka Avoiding Data Recovery - Any Questions?)
« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2023, 03:47:57 PM »
What cloud service would be recommend for backing up pictures and videos? The only thing that I care about on my computer is the photos and videos which I am currently backing up to a second internal ssd. I have over 100gb of media and don't have an amazon prime account. (I also have more than 5gb of videos.)

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Re: PSA: Back up your data !!! (aka Avoiding Data Recovery - Any Questions?)
« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2023, 01:10:07 AM »
What cloud service would be recommend for backing up pictures and videos? The only thing that I care about on my computer is the photos and videos which I am currently backing up to a second internal ssd. I have over 100gb of media and don't have an amazon prime account. (I also have more than 5gb of videos.)
If it's a one time thing I'd look into getting the original pixel phone which has unlimited free storage and uploading to Google.

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Re: PSA: Back up your data !!! (aka Avoiding Data Recovery - Any Questions?)
« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2023, 01:59:29 AM »
@mevinyavin Do you have any updated rec's for a syncing software? Also is $60 a good price for 1tb SSD from sandisk?
Sandisk has recently had some reliability issues, resulting in data loss. They are getting sued over it, so be careful when choosing. Also, their response sort of tarnished them as a brand.
Maybe @mevinyavin can expound on whether we should care about this. Here are a few sources:
https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2023/08/sandisk-extreme-ssds-are-still-wiping-data-after-firmware-fix-users-say/
https://www.theverge.com/2023/5/22/23733267/sandisk-extreme-pro-failure-ssd-firmware
https://www.tomshardware.com/news/wd-faces-class-action-lawsuit-over-sandisk-extreme-pro-ssd-failures
I personally have just ordered this
https://www.costco.com/samsung-2tb-portable-ssd-t7-touch.product.4000059709.html
Seems to be a good price and universally applauded for speed.

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Re: PSA: Back up your data !!! (aka Avoiding Data Recovery - Any Questions?)
« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2023, 02:21:54 AM »
Isn't onedrive back up the best cloud storage for PC ?
(and cheapest option of you have a family plan)
Constantly syncing with your computer. Accessible on multiple devices, auto backup pictures on Android . Very organized backup.
I find it the easiest and most straightforward.
I personally think its very confusing. So hard to tell what's actually stored locally, and what has to be downloaded.
I was helping someone today.... we log out of his one drive account, and all his desktop disappear and get transferred to a folder called shortcut to OneDrive? Very confusing in my opinion. Maybe different if its a desktop with wired internet, so you never have to worry about online/offline.
Anecdotally, I was once helping a relative with their Mac and I turned off iCloud backup. It was a terrible move, as it convolutedly deletes ALL the local files, and you have to go into the iCloud backup to download all the files again. Not fun, especially if you don't have internet, and the relative is someone that just spent all night preparing for teaching the next day, and all the files disappear into the "cloud".
And apparently this is a normal thing that's "supposed" to happen. (Feature not a bug)

https://www.reddit.com/r/MacOS/comments/15u6fse/deleted_all_files_on_my_mac_after_i_turned_off/
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/251303945
https://developer.apple.com/forums/thread/48830
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/8146845?sortBy=best
https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/lost-documents-folder-after-icloud-sync.2398519/
--
Next post I will write a bit about my google drive experience... Anyone else use it?