So I’m zipping along the freeway, doing 70…

There I was, zipping along the freeway at about 70mph, minding my own business, keeping my eye on the road, and all of a sudden the road gets kind of rough. I crane my neck and see that some damn fool has gone and laid an entire brick wall across the road, not five gigabytes from my current position.

End of metaphor.

Yeah, I’m almost out of disk space. I’m down to 5gigs on a 140gig drive. Yeek!

Apparently I chew up a whole pile of the stuff every time I crank out a new Schlock image in Photoshop. Fortunately, I’ve got cycles tomorrow to burn some things to DVD (twice!) and then purge them from the hard drive. I’ll be starting with all the files I used for Book I and Book II (the stuff I need for creating the next book has already been copied to a new folder).

It may be time to upgrade the hard drive to something larger, but that means also upgrading the backup drive to something similarly larger, so that each week I know there are at least two copies of All My Hard Work.

Anyway, while I’m backing up things I’m deleting I’ll also be backing up things I’m keeping, and hauling one copy of each down to the safe deposit box. It’s been 18 months since I last did that. Time to do it again.

15 thoughts on “So I’m zipping along the freeway, doing 70…”

  1. I’m not a big fan of backing up to recordable optical media. Too many unknowns in the quality of the media…

    To reduce the risk of loosing data to a bad batch of recordables, I use several different brands (may have to check if they are actually made by different factories.) Generating recovery hashes for the data is also a good idea (parchive or whatnot.)

    1. On the other hand, recordable optical media has the advantage that you can burn and then leave it at a friend’s house so, if yours catches on fire, you’ve still got a copy. It’s tougher (and more expensive) to do that with hard drives.

      Personally, all my important stuff is (1) on my hard drive, (2) at my mom’s house on DVD-R’s, (3) at a colocation facility in Texas on my VPS, and (4) at the colo’s offsite backups. But then I’m a geek and all the really important stuff fits within a gigabyte, all being source code.

      I think there are online sites that act as giant data repositories. If I was trying to safeguard a large amount of data I’d probably use one of those.

      1. It’s my life – I don’t do it much. I back up customer data, but mine tends to be in the “Whoops – what was that?” category – and I don’t get raging angry. I just shrug and get on with my life.


  2. I prefer to back up to external hard drives. 500 GB externals are in the $125 range right now. The big advantage is that backing up to hard drive is easy enough that it actually gets done. If backups are hard, they tend to get put off.

    I also back up really important stuff like my family photos to optical so that I can maintain an off-site copy in case of disaster. For stuff like that (and your original work) I keep the copy on the backup hard drive, my own local DVDROM copy, and a DVDROM copy offsite (I keep mine at my desk at work in a CD wallet).

    For important stuff that I expected to remain unchanged forever and the copies were permanent, archival copies, I’d also build a QuickPAR parity set for them and put that on the disc as well, along with the QuickPAR program. That way you’re protected against bit rot on the disc to the extent you wish to be. I generally make a 10% PAR set, so unless > 10% of the bytes on the disc are corrupt, I can still easily repair all the files.

    Building PAR sets for 4GB of files takes a while so I don’t do it a lot but it’s worth it for some things, and your work certainly qualifies.

    Hard drives are so cheap now that when one is full I shelf it and get another.

  3. Does your computer use SATA or IDE? I have some spare drives I might be able to give you, as a problem similar to yours has resulted in the replacement of smaller drives with larger ones.
    Also, backups are a good thing. My current insane storage requirements are a result of not trusting any hard drive in the least, and keeping at least one copy on another hard drive, along with a copy on a DVD.

  4. A suggestion: if you’re burning to DVD, please go back to old backups and confirm they’re readable.
    I have not had any serious issue with CD, but I have with DVD. I had a DVD burner that was creating DVDROM discs that were readable at first, but within 6 months to a year deteriorated. Every disc I wrote for about 8 months started to get nearly impossible to read.

    Also, since this is for backup purposes of important data, please read this article:

    Short version: DVD+R is better than DVD-R for long term storage for several reasons, and Taiyo Yuiden is the best brand. I had been using TY from SuperMediaStore, but switched from -R to +R for backups due to this article. I still use -R for less important stuff (movie copies, etc) where I won’t cry much if they stop working.

    1. Also: copy EVERY byte off them to confirm readability. In my case, the first half of each disc was fine, the second half got worse until the last third or so was totally unreadable. Luckily I found that there were a few drives that could read them so I was able to retrieve my data and write them to new discs.

      1. I don’t recall the name, but I know there’s at least one utility that basically just scans a CD/DVD to doublecheck that the media is readable – without actually copying crap to your hard drive.

        If everything I had crashed (and I’m a computer tech by trade), I’d be REALLY ticked, but I’d survive. What’s between my ears is the critical stuff – if that crashed, I have OTHER, more pressing issues.


        1. Well, Nero has a couple of utilities, and they’ll actually tell you if there are errors that were recoverable, which is also useful info; you’ll get early warning if failures are growing but the ECC was able to recover your data.

          The things I back up heavily are mainly just my digital photos. The rest of the stuff on my machine would bug me to lose but the photos of my family I do NOT want to lose. IMHO a lot of the benefit of digital photography is that you can have an offsite backup in case of fire or whatever, as opposed to film where I know many people have lost all their family photos.

    2. Archival Disks

      Also, since this is for backup purposes of important data, please read this article:

      The above link recommends ( ) which is a member of the BBBONLINE reliability program. Its BBB rating is CC. I am trying ( ) with a BBB rating of AA. I have ordered some Taiyo Yuden CD-R and DVD+R. It will be interesting to see what quality (media code and batch code) I get.

      1. Re: Archival Disks

        Well, regardless of what their rating is (I have never been very impressed with BBB), I’ve ordered from SuperMediaStore many times and have never had a problem. They ship exactly what I order promptly and well packaged, and in the one case where I had a shipping problem they fixed the problem the same day. They’re the only place I trust to deliver exactly the brand and type of disc that I order.

        The only discrepancy that I’ve ever had with them is that I always order the slowest Taiyo Yuiden discs they have, but they frequently ship the next better disc (8x or once even 16x discs when I ordered only 4x).

  5. It might be pricey and I don’t know the current state of the art in the software or hardware for home PCs anymore, but maybe you should consider a RAID setup of some kind for your work drives? The right setup will give you two hard drives with identical data. The number of drive failures (even for externals) is AMAZING.

Comments are closed.