Backing up…

This morning was spent verifying my existing backups and creating new ones. Long story short: I dodged a bullet.

My Retrospect Backup probably would have worked for a volume restore (volume data in the database looked up-to-date), but file-level backups weren’t showing anything newer than late 2005. Screw THAT. I want my files backed up as files, thankyouverymuch.

So… I purged some high-density clutter on the hard drive to free space up, then defragged the hard drive to accelerate things. Then I wiped the Retrospect backup and uninstalled Retrospect Express. I then manually copied my data from C: to F: — there’s about 90gb of the stuff. 30 gigs is music, and another 32 gigs is Schlock-specific files.

With that complete I grabbed my layered Photoshop files — “source code” if you will — for all the Schlock books and backed those up to a series of DVDs. Thanks for that link, johnridley! I decided to go with DVD+R, rather than the stack of 40 -R discs I’ve got kicking around. Those -R discs are destined to have Doctor Who episodes burned onto them by a friend.

The crisis has been averted, but I’ll be needing serious hard-disk space in the next six months. Fortunately, I now have time to relax and plan for it, rather than panicking.

(I did all my panicking last night.)

14 thoughts on “Backing up…”

  1. Hrm.. How Linux-Savvy are you?

    It’d be almost trivial to set up a RAID-5 or RAID-6 array under MD on linux with some older hardware and a few 500M drives.. Cost under $1,000.00, and you could access it via Windows Networking by using the SAMBA utility..

    Plus you’d get the added benefit of not having to use photobucket, et al, for hosting personal pics (not related to Schlock, I mean) right there on your own personal webserver…

    Just a thought.

  2. I have Retrospect on my external hard drive as well, and I’m completely unimpressed with its backing up ability. It’s done that to me before, too–acted like it was backing everything up and then I go to restore and find that it has no files. And it tries to make me back up files to CDs, of all things, when I use the “backup” option rather than push the button on the actual hard drive.

    So I’ve just started periodically copying files over to the external, and it works much better. When I got a new laptop I had to reinstall the programs and change all my preferences again, but it was much better than losing everything!

  3. A simple cron job (from a cygwin install) would take care of all of your backup needs, automatically scping the stuff onto a remote secure server, copying to external HD, and burning DVDs. Then all it requires is eventual replacement of DVD every so often (and since it’s cygwin, all of this scripting can be done inside a windows install.)

    Of course, simple, here, is not very. But… ::shrugs::

    1. I got an external 500 gig drive and had some trouble figuring out how to back up onto it in a way that Fade’s windows machine and MacOS X laptop could both read. Wound up doing vfat with something like:

      tar cvz /home | split-b $[65536*65535] – thingy.tgz-

      *shrug* Not a good solution, but sucked less than several others.

  4. Get in touch, I’ll walk you through a couple of different ways to do the backups. I use CWRsync for a couple of customers, plus other systems, and I also have software you can use (purchased, but never used)


  5. You could go the easy route: throw a few same-sized drives into caddies for a removable enclosure, make your backups to those with your software of choice. Something like this.

    1. No need to go that high end. A simple 320gig internal drive can be had for $80 or so. I just bought one of those for my MythTV videos.

      I lucked out recently and found 250gig drives for $50 at best buy, on clearance.

  6. possibly useful hardware

    I just happened to see a quick and easy disk adapter mentioned on another blog (

    Dunno if it would be useful in your situation, but it certainly looks more cost-effective for temporary additional space than an external enclosure while you migrate to the new disk (assuming you don’t go the RAID appliance route).

    1. Re: possibly useful hardware

      I have two of these. One’s a laptop/standard IDE adapter only, the other is laptop/standard/SATA adapter.

      Built (or at least sold) by BYTECC.

      You have to watch out for where you put the drive, however – also, make sure not to put it on cloth.


  7. Now that the panicking is done, may I offer something to lighten the heart? Please, read a bit here:

    P.S.: Hello, I don’t think I have introduced myself before. I’m a friend of Scott Kellogg, a regular on the Freefall and TCF forums and by now hooked on Schlock Mercenary. I could not find a link to the topic of my post on your site, so I thought I might as well share it here.

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