Question So how long do you trust a external HD with your backups ?

tbarb

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Jan 29, 2014
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I have 3 SimpleTech 500GB external hard drives which have been my backup strategy up until now. I used one for photos which are also backed up on the web and I think I am covered there. I used one for data which was also on an external USB as I do not have that much and I am always updating most files so I simply save any file I deem important twice (to the computer and to the external USB) and then periodically copy the USB to the hard drive just for good measure. Then I have one that has not been used yet.

So my question is since these hard drives are 8 years old and I just bought a new computer and am setting things up and rethinking my previous strategy should I buy new external hard drives for my back ups? I don't want to send all my data to the cloud so some kind of local back up storage is needed. I plan to continue to use one external hard drive for photos (and the web), and one for an image file of the entire computer (not externals) and my copied files from the external USB. I don't know why I persist in wanting two externals other than in my head they are physically separated too, and I am not confused then when looking at the contents and it all seems mixed and I do not know what is what.

The reason for this question is that I am pretty economical though, I still want to be prudent should I ever need to restore my system. And I do not know how long hard drives are actually good for as a general rule someone could go by. Also I am wondering if the SimpleTech external HD I have not yet used is in any better condition since it has not been used, or do they "age" anyways? Maybe I would use it for photos and then need to buy only one new one for my data?

And finally will an external flash drive outlast a mechanical external HD, or are they just as good longevity wise?

Thank you,
Tom
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
All drives die eventually. Old, new, seemingly perfect or throwing up all sorts of errors, spinning or solid state.

Don't have your data, or your backups, all in one place.

If your backup drive dies, that is the second (or third) copy. The original is still in its original location. Replace the backup drive and carry on.

3, 2, 1.
3 Copies of data, on 2 different device types, 1 of them offsite somewhere.

Also, this:
 
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Math Geek

Glorious
Herald
as noted above, since you have important stuff in at least 2 places (and preferably 3 places) one drive dying simply means having to replace it and then recopy the back-ups to it from one of the other sources.

it is NEVER a good idea to only have data in a single place. just about 100% of the time the answer to "my drive died, how do i get my data back?" is a sad "you can't and won't get it back. it's just gone"
 

tbarb

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Thanks for reply, I think in my head I was writing off the data in the computer and not really considering it (as if I was in the position of needing to restore already). I think your suggesting I just keep trucking with my old external HD's and replace them when needed. It is not likely I guess that 2 or 3 back up sources would die at the same time (one is not connected to electric unless being used.) Thanks
 

tbarb

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Jan 29, 2014
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Ahh, I had my plan all worked out and then I saw a new page through Control Panel on the new PC that listed either the same things using different names or new ways to back up your system or data files:
I was going to make a system image on an external HD and one on the D: drive inside the computer just because I had the space there too. Then continue my strategy with photos on another external HD and the cloud, and copy my data files on a USB and periodically the same HD as my system image. That covered everything I thought and in a couple of places. BUT ….BUT....
I now see a page in Windows 10 that lists:
Create a Recovery Drive
Open System Restore (I suspect Recovery Drive and System Restore are another place to make an image file from, but of course there is no explanation)
And a note that if I am having trouble on my PC to go to "Setting and reset it" (particularly helpful)
And another thing, File History that I turned on and forgot about that says it back up Libraries, Desktop, Contacts and Favorites

I'm really at a loss to know what I want or need now for sure.....
The external HD I was planning to put the system image cannot work as it is not an NTSF format. So if I continue with my original plan I will need to buy a new external HD anyway. Not a disaster as I now will have 2 external drives to use in case my photos external back up drive fails.

Can someone explain to a 5 year old what all this other stuff is?

Thank you
 

AllanGH

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Mar 10, 2019
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I stopped using USB or eSATA-connected external drives quite a while ago and, though it might be considered overkill, I adopted something of a triple-back-up strategy--mainly because I had an excess of drives in my file cabinet at the time.

One thing led to another, and I had my mental inertia already built-up so I just ran with it. It's kind-of OCD, so I'll spare you the details. Suffice it to say, though, I do keep drive clones in the bank safety deposit box for every bootable computer we own.
 

AllanGH

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Well, the safety deposit box is just a part of the accounts we have, and it qualifies as an off-site back-up (old habits die hard).

I sprinkle back-ups around a bit...one in my filing cabinet, one in the garage safe, and one at the bank.
 
Last edited:

Mandark

Distinguished
Sep 13, 2002
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I trust HDDs with my backups about as far as I can throw a grand piano. ;) Backups and cloud backup if you can. it is very liberating to know your machine can die and you can go to a new box and resync data and not lose anything.
 

popatim

Titan
Moderator
Til it starts having Uncorrectible errors
Since I have multiple backups (5) of my important stuff, I don't care if one stops working but with drives I consider them failing when they start getting Uncorrectible errors (which are failed sectors).
 
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If you have any aversions to paying perpetually for cloud storage (for instance, I can buy a 1 TB drive for $40, or, pay $95 annually to store that much data forever), many FFS (Fans of Free Stuff) have accounts with OneDrive, GoogleDrive, P-Cloud, Box, Dropbox, Jottacloud, AsusWebStorage (if have Asus mainboard), and many others. (For those worried about sensitive stuff stored elsewhere, encrypt it first)
 

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