Dear FileSlinger clients, colleagues, and friends:
I’ve actually been up late two nights in a row making backups. (You must be thinking “Get a life.”) My new DVD-writer arrived on Thursday. It came with Sonic Simple Backup, which I thought I’d try, so I installed it and started up a job.
It turns out that my data (documents, photos, Quicken, and Outlook) takes up almost exactly 4.7 GB, which is the capacity of a DVD.
It also turns out that if you operate a DVD-writer from a USB 1.1 port, it takes a very long time to record that much information—much longer than the backup of my entire drive to my firewire XHD via Norton Ghost. I’ve ordered a 9-foot firewire cable and a hub, so I should be able to take care of that problem.
SimpleBackup recorded and verified a backup, but since it didn’t have the capacity to make scheduled or differential backups, which is part of what I wanted the DVD-RW for, I decided to uninstall it, reformat the disk (a much faster process than writing to it in the first place), and then install a differnt program, the freeware utility Rapid Backup, which lets me not only specify the directories I want backed up but schedule backups on an hourly or daily basis and monitor files for changes in order to make backups. So far it seems to be working fairly well, and the resulting backups appear on the disk as a file system which can be accessed via Windows Explorer.
Last night I was up late because I forgot to delete the oldest Ghost backup before recording the newest one, and had to start over.
I am told that I should make my ongoing differential backups to my XHD and then copy the whole backup to the DVD-RW. I’m sure they would be faster to write, at least at the moment—but then, it takes much less time to write a few changed files to the DVD-RW than to copy the entire 4.7 GB over.
If anyone is thinking of getting a DVD-RW drive, my experience with this one has so far been good. It’s a Panasonic internal drive set in an aluminum case by Meritline.com, and the combo USB 2.0/Firewire version cost less than $200 including a rewritable DVD. It works with either Windows or Mac and with XP and OSX, all you have to do is plug it in and turn it on. It will then, as the instructions promise, “enumerate itself.” (That means it shows up as a drive with a letter, in my case Drive F.) It also comes with video and sound recording software for making DVDs with. I don’t think I’m going to start doing any video editing soon, but you never know—more and more of my clients want videos for demo or other purposes, and DVD is rapidly becoming the medium of choice.
I still consider my pocket-sized 80 GB external hard drive my main backup drive, and it’s not that much harder to carry around than a DVD.
Tune in next week for a new twist in the backup field. Meanwhile, keep making those backups!