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Home / Technology / It's World Backup Day: That's how the ExtremeTech team is supported

It's World Backup Day: That's how the ExtremeTech team is supported

If you only have one copy of a file, that's not much better than having no copies. They are just a storage error or hijack an account away from losing everything. That's why it's important that you back up your important files, and World Backup Day is here to remind you. This is an opportunity to review your existing backups and create new ones if you have important files on the brink of oblivion. To give us some inspiration, we keep our files safe at ExtremeTech.

Jamie Lendino

At ExtremeTech, most of our work in the cloud is stored in our content management system along with the various services Run the site. There is very little content here to secure my end, as our publisher Ziff Davis does.

Separately, my wife and I run a music production studio. We own dozens of sample and sound effect libraries, both in-house and licensed, that consume several terabytes, as well as individual projects that each occupy many gigabytes (including recorded 24-bit audio from vocals and live instruments). These projects each take several minutes to load into our Logic Pro X digital audio workstation software, even with SSDs and a (admittedly five-year-old) quad-core i7 Mac Mini. Consequently, backup strategies are critical. For the Studio Mac running Logic Pro X, Time Machine runs on macOS 10.12.6 (Sierra) and disconnects several USB C external drives from the computer. Time Machine is configured to back up the project drives and the internal SSD, but not the 4 TB Sample Library drive, because it is backed up separately and does not change from project to project.

  574596-logic-per 10-4-arrange

Logic Pro X 10.4.

Increasingly we are working together on music projects on separate machines. For example, she works in our studio upstairs and sends me recorded tracks, I do a rough mix on the weekend, she takes it back and adds more instruments and compiles all the background vocals, then I mix that up acoustically treated space instead of downstairs. .. For these kinds of things we rely on common local drives and the built-in features of Logic Pro X. The more we do that, the better we can.

For our other machines – a quad-core i7 (Devil's Gorge) PC in my office, a 15-inch MacBook Pro 2017 that I also use for work, and a 13-inch 2016 MacBook Air that uses it – we have the most data for it in a Google Drive cloud and Apple's iCloud which is also integrated in our iOS and Android devices. The cloud also processes our e-mail and working photo storage; for my mirrorless camera photos, both Apple's iCloud and Google Photos cover both, and we're paying for both of them to have the original RAW files stored in their accounts. We also secured these locally. Finally, we have some additional 1TB and 2TB USB drives that we use for occasional large backups to ensure that catastrophic events keep falling back on us – even though I'm at this point I'm thinking to try one of David Cardinals NAS setups, the more photos we take.

Over the years, I've reorganized our recording and postproduction studio several times as we've added and subtracted PCs and devices. Our next upgrade, as soon as we can afford it, is to completely relocate the sample and project drives to SSDs and Thunderbolt connections, although it will be some time before we can do that.

David Cardinal

For our home-based business we use parallel backup strategies for our systems and data. For the system drives on our Windows computers, we perform Easeus Todo Backup with full backups at least once a week and incremental operations every morning. These are stored on our primary Synology NAS. For our main desktops, we have large hard drives (often the old ones of our NAS units, if we upgrade them to larger drives), where we store similar backups for redundancy. We try to keep backups for at least a month, although longer is probably ideal as lost or corrupted files are not always immediately obvious. The internal drives of our laptops are backed up in the same way as our desktops, but in addition, prior to a long journey, we create a system backup on a portable external hard drive that we take with us. This can be a lifesaver if the machine has a drive problem on the road. The same external drive is then used to back up photos and videos we take during our trip.

For data we use three different approaches. Our main image and video assets are backed up with the workflow described in this article about saving and saving photos. Our mission-critical data is also on a NAS that is regularly cloned to another backup NAS. We then use GoodSync to create working versions of the files on our laptops or other devices that are not always connected to the NAS locally. The great thing about GoodSync is that we set it up to sync over the Internet whenever we create or update documents on the go, or send updates from the office on the go. However, if the systems are on the same network, it will perform peer-to-peer with high performance and no data bandwidth consumption.

Finally, for data files that need to be stored locally on each computer, such as Outlook PST files, we use Cloud Station Backup from Synology to automatically back up to our primary NAS. QNAP, Netgear, and other leading NAS providers all offer similar packages, though you may need to find them in their download library. With these overlapping backup systems, we have at least two ways to restore almost any of our computers or data as needed. I'm very interested in having multiple options, as it's far too common to just restore a backup to find it's damaged or has a problem with the recovery tool, or the backup fails for some reason (19659003) Ryan Whitwam

My goal is never to delete anything – never. Over the years, this leads to ever more daring Death Wish disk setups, which include disks of different ages and no consistent backups. A few years ago I started to play with dedicated external drives for backups with additional backups in the cloud, but it was too boring, and I always moved to manage the files. What I do now is easier and much more powerful.

Instead of packing my computer with hard drives, I have a Synology NAS in my closet. It's in the closet because those things are louder than you'd expect. The model I use is the DS418play. I do not want to sound like a Synology fanboy, but I love this thing. The NAS itself is under $ 500 and supports up to four hard drives. Mine has three Seagate Ironwolf 10TB drives with single-drive redundancy for a total of approximately 17 TB of usable storage.

The Synology DSM Browser Interface

I use Synology Drive Client to sync folders from my computers to the NAS. The Synology file system also stores multiple versions of files, so I can get something I accidentally changed or deleted. For files that I want to archive without keeping them in sync on my desktop, I've mapped the NAS as a network drive so I can just put things in it. This is not technical a backup because I only have one copy, but at least the disk redundancy makes it less likely that I will lose archived files. The NAS is not just a backup machine, it's also my Plex server.

In addition to the NAS, I also have a Dropbox Pro subscription with 1TB of storage. Some files immediately go to the cloud, like all the photos I take on my phone. My real camera also syncs with Dropbox as soon as I export the images to my computer. I set up my photo folder on my desktop to copy everything into my Dropbox. I also use the Synology Cloud Sync client on my NAS to copy all my Dropbox content. This works both ways, so I also have some NAS folders with important files that are synced separately from my desktop with Dropbox.

Between my local NAS backups and Dropbox, I feel pretty sure I will not lose anything. Fingers crossed.

Grant Brunner

I took backups seriously as long as I have my own computer. Floppies and SuperDisks were my first resources of choice, I switched to CD backups with a friend in high school, and now I double-click on an external drive and cloud storage.

My primary computer is a Mac, so I use Time Machine – Apple's baked-in local backup solution. It makes damn perfect snapshots and lets me go way back in time when something bad happens. In fact, it's a barebones versioning tool as well as a backup app.

With SuperDuper's tag team partner, I can even make my local backups bootable. I had failed my primary hard drive in the past, and the transition was so seamless that I did not even realize that I was running on my backup drive for the first hour. In terms of minimizing downtime, this $ 28 investment is hard to beat.

Of course, no backup scheme without offsite storage is complete. Currently my cloud backup service is IDrive. Not only can I choose exactly which folders I want to upload, but also detailed settings for performing the backups. And if the Internet connection makes the recovery or the initial large backup extremely difficult, the IDrive Express feature allows the transfer of old-fashioned data by way of return mail


Better yet, I can access individual files from almost anywhere. If I have a PDF or I can easily log into my account on my browser or on my phone. I can either search my directories to find the file, or search for keywords.

For photos and very important documents, I also add a layer of security by storing copies in Dropbox and Google Drive. For example, in the event of catastrophic failure, I keep copies of my genealogy and DNA data distributed across multiple services. And for my photos, Google's backup and sync tool was a lifesaver.

As for my tablet and smartphone, I mainly rely on the encrypted backups in iTunes and the photo-import tool in Apple's Photos app. The IDrive app will also import contacts, photos and videos, but I mostly use it while traveling.

Joel Hruska

I have no particularly sophisticated or detailed backup strategy. Fortunately, I do not need anyone special. I only have a single PC that I use constantly, and I use Backblaze to handle backups on this device. While some, like Grant, use a variety of services to handle mobile devices, I still support my phone's photos and contacts on my PC first, then upload them to Backblaze.

Services like Backblaze are a cost-effective way Make sure your important documents and files are uploaded and backed up in the event of hardware failure or theft. Other companies such as Mozy and Carbonite offer similar functions at a number of features and price points. Regardless of the solution you choose, it is important to have one.

After a catastrophic hard drive failure that left me with data for several years, people are often surprised by the data loss. Long-term price declines per GB, combined with the overall reliability of computers, make it easy to forget that the cost of a blank HDD or SSD and the price of restoring data have nothing to do with each other. Although a new HDD costs 100 euros, recovering the data from a damaged "used" drive can cost 2000 euros.

You do not need to use cloud services or an online service. Use a NAS. Use a RAID NAS. Damn, you can even buy a tape drive if you feel like playing it in the 1980s style. But if you're ever interested in your own digital life, do not bet on your friendly neighborhood bathtub curve to make it an exception to the rule. Although everything you use is a simple plan, you have a solution to protect yourself from the inevitable.

Now read PCMag's best backup software from 2018 and the best cloud storage and file-sharing services from 2018.

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