When you backup it’s not all about going in reverse!

I ended my April 18th postsaying “I would blog about a follow up regarding my hard drive backup adventure”, so here it is….. For my backup program I decided on Acronis 2016 as it’s very user definable and from what I have seen on the internet user friendly as well. In the past I have download some free programs (can’t remember the program names off the top of my head) that had been very confusing and frustrating. In the end I just removed them from the PC and never really got around to setting up any other backup program. Oh and the answer is a huge YES when asked have if I had ever been caught with a PC meltdown and no backup! Funny thing………..just before I installed Acronis 2016 on my PC my Western Digital 7 year old drive gave up the ghost! You know what they said…..”Timing is everything” and this time my timing was wayyyyyyy off. This post is just about the backup program and not the hard drive melt down adventure, I will save that for my next post. . Here are some of the questions I asked myself regarding a backup:
  1. Why even bother with a backup, it’s not a business computer, I have no crucial financial documents, I don’t store any pictures on my PC………let me stop here and say “have you EVER had to re-install you amateur radio software?” I just did and have done in the past, all I can say is “it can be a real pain in the ass”. You find a new respect for….
  • Getting your software to seamlessly work with your rig again.
  • Hoping your Eqsl, LOTW or Clublog is up to date so you don’t lose contacts.
  • Sending out emails to get passwords so downloaded programs I paid for will work again.
  • All your software’s niffy macros you worked so hard to tweak are now gone.
  • Revisiting the virtual comport software program that worked well and now you have to figure it out again….the problem being you forgot how you got it to work great last time.
Shall I go on……………?
  1. So answering a loud and clear “YES” to the above question it’s time to check out the backup programs out there. I found lots of them and as stated earlier I wanted to avoid at all costs complicated ones. I chose Acronis 2016 and there are lots out there that I imagine are better or just as good but this is the one I chose. For me Acronis was easy to understand, walked you through your backup in detail and it worked!
  2. Where was I going to back up too……….my new hard drive is partitioned but it makes no sense to back up on the same drive that could end up failing? I have a second drive in my PC (Seagate 1TB) and that was my choice.
  3. Step 3 just seemed too easy and the more reading I did the more it was driven home……backup to more than one place and preferably 3 places! I ended up choosing my network Western digital 3TB external drive and a Western Digital passport USB drive. Oh and just for the record I have no connection to Western Digital…..:) From my readings one choice should be a “cloud” type storage. For me it was just too pricey and I have these drives at home and ready to use.
I now have all programs installed and running the way I want them too. Before a backup was done I ran a virus scan, Malware scan, file cleaner and defragged the drive. The backup has been done on my PC and I configured it the following way:
  1. I did a full backup of the drive including system reserve portion. This backup will always be kept as is, this way I have a copy of the drive just after a clean install of the OS and all programs.
  2. I have scheduled an incremental backup for once per month as I don’t change too much on my PC over the course of a month so I felt this length of time should be fine. I use Log40m and configured it to auto upload my QSO’s to club log, Eqsl and LOTW so I will not have uto be concerned with updating my log file it will be store in 3 places online.
  3. Each time a back is done the program will perform a “validation” of the backup. Having said this I have found when a failed validation has happened and I run it again the backup will then pass? Not too sure what’s up with that and may need more investigation.
  4. The PC is set to shut down once the backup is completed, this way I can leave and go to work.
  5. I receive an email once the backup is done along with a report.
  6. I did have the software set to repeat the backup if the validation fails but I found the software can get into a “loop” of backing up all day if a continued failed validation persists.
Well that’s it for me with regards to my backup blog post, I am happy that I do have a reliable backup system in place. If you are like me and do not have a backup in place I hope I gave you some food for thought.

Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

2 Responses to “When you backup it’s not all about going in reverse!”

  • Skip Flem, nt1g:

    Since I’ve been converted to Linux TEN+ years ago… backingup consists of dragging my
    HOME folder to a USB drive, reformatting and installing LINUX, then restoring my HOME FOLDER.

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Good afternoon skip, I had Ubuntu on my laptop some time ago and enjoyed it but for some reason I migrated back to windows.
    Have a great week and thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment.
    73, Mike

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