My housemate is also a business owner with a home office, so her work data is on that machine—as are the revisions for her book. Until I set up her drive share, she’d been making Ghost backups to an external hard drive every week or so. Or rather, her geek boyfriend (notice that her boyfriend is a geek but mine is a guru) had been making the backups. The DOS version of Ghost isn’t all that difficult to operate, but it’s foreign-looking to anyone used to operating within Windows.
Anyway, she’s immensely relieved to have this setup, because getting her data backed up no longer depends on remembering to do it or having someone else available to help. I don’t think she’s actually gone and looked at the backups, but what the EasyManage backup software lacks in sophistication, it makes up for in simplicity.
As for me, I’ve kept the drive running nonstop all week, and I’m amazed at how cool it stays and how quiet it is. The fan on my laptop is definitely noisier. (The drives get hotter, too, though they don’t spin as fast. But I’m using more of their capacity, more often.)
It was only last night that I figured out how to make the ghosts of the non-functional user accounts go away. Despite the fact that there was no sign of the deleted accounts in EasyManage or the web administrative interface, I would still see “Sallie Goetsch on Maxtor Shared Storage” when I opened up “My Network Places” in Windows Explorer.
There was nothing in the User Guide about this problem (in fact, it seems to lack a “Troubleshooting” section altogether, which seems more than a bit optimistic on Maxtor’s part). I went online to look at the support website, and there was nothing there about it, either. Then it occurred to me to try just deleting them from within Windows Explorer, and presto! Away they went, and they haven’t been back to haunt me. The duplicate config links have also gone away—for a while the drive was appearing both as “Maxtor Shared Storage (Teras)” and as “Maxtor Shared Storage (MSS-number-number)”. I think those might have cleared up earlier, but I don’t actually remember.
Although I’d been coveting a drive like this, I hadn’t really been planning for it, and I didn’t know how they worked. What I decided to do was put things that both my housemate and I might use (like software installation packages) into the “Public” share (where everything is labeled “Our” instead of “My”) but keep my data in the “Enna” and “Star” shares. Most of my data lives on Enna, so all I have in the “Star” share is drive images in case I have to reinstall her.
I’ve copied my photo and video files over from the X drive, which I’m still using for my on-startup file backups, into the “My Photos” and “My Videos” folders on Teras, and made a Ghost image of Enna over the network. That’s a bit slower than the USB 2.0 backup to the X drive, but reasonably speedy given the size of the image. I even pulled out my quirky, unreliable K drive (salvaged from my previous laptop, Keramat, when her power supply connection broke), managed to get it to talk to Enna, and copied the Ghost files from there over the network to Teras.
I wiped the K drive clean after that—my likelihood of needing to restore anything from an April 2005 Ghost image of Keramat is very small, so I certainly didn’t feel compelled to keep those copies. Anyway, I’m not sure what I can use that drive for. The drive itself appears to be okay, but the connection is unstable. Depending on what I’m connecting it to, it either won’t work without the power connector, or won’t work with it—and I’m not sure that’s the only problem. So now I have a blank 30 GB drive and no clue, but enough space on the X drive to ensure I can make backups when on the road.
The Shared Storage II is an impressive drive, but portability is not its strong point, and the reason I got a 2.5” external drive to start with was so that it wouldn’t need its own luggage.
Having Teras is making me rethink my previous approach to backup. So far, in addition to the drive images, what I have on the network drive are second copies, or rather extra copies, of things I have on other drives, like the 4 GB of icons that live on the D drive, and the photos, which are also on DVD. I’ve deleted some of the software from the X drive, leaving only the most critical programs, things I might find myself needing on the road if something went wrong. Likewise, I’m only expecting to keep one Ghost image on that drive. Or maybe…one of each computer. And then the backups of my current working files, but not necessarily all my data going back to the dawn of time.
A few months ago, a speaker recommended using a data-free laptop when giving presentations or traveling, because there was so much risk of having it stolen. I reinstalled Star with just that intention. (Besides, she weighs a lot less than Enna—3 inches of additional screen size adds several pounds.) That seemed fine for one-day outings, but if I go away for a week, I need my data, or at least what I’m working on now, and my Outlook PST file doesn’t fit on my thumb drive (which in any case is entirely too easy to lose).
But if I have that data on the X drive, which is small enough to lock away as well as to travel with, then I don’t need to load it onto Star and bring it into public places. The only down side to that plan is that Star only has USB 1.1, not FireWire or Hi-Speed USB, but for a few days or a week that’s by no means unendurable. (I survived just fine with Star as my only machine for the better part of a year, after all.) Yes, I think this is starting to look like a plan.
Next week we’ll return to the outside world, but you can look for a revised version of my Seagate Saga on Kickstartnews.com before then.