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External SSD Back-up

Old 25th Jan 2024, 14:06
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External SSD Back-up

Hi Folks

Tying again to ask for your expertise and advice.

It's about time that I back-up everything on my PC to an external drive. Knowing little about it, it seems that a SSD device with no moving parts is probably best. I am happy to tell my PC every week or so to carry out this back-up, so nothing too hard would help!

Could you please advise which SSD's you would recommend for efficiency and reliability. Oh, I think 1TB should be sufficient, and I am running on Windows 10. My son recommends Scandisk, so your thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 25th Jan 2024, 15:33
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Originally Posted by gehenna
Hi Folks

Tying again to ask for your expertise and advice.

It's about time that I back-up everything on my PC to an external drive. Knowing little about it, it seems that a SSD device with no moving parts is probably best. I am happy to tell my PC every week or so to carry out this back-up, so nothing too hard would help!

Could you please advise which SSD's you would recommend for efficiency and reliability. Oh, I think 1TB should be sufficient, and I am running on Windows 10. My son recommends Scandisk, so your thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks!
He probably meant SanDisk. I'd go for Samsung but I couldn't say if one is better than the other. You can be lucky or unlucky with any brand if you're only buying one.

If your data's really valuable then general policy is to have a least 2 backups and alternate them. So backup to Disk1 one week, to Disk2 the next and then Disk1 again on the third. That way if something bad happens during the backup process you don't end up copying garbage all over your only backup.

Are you wanting to back up your personal data(photos, emails, documents etc) so you could restore them to another machine or do you want to be able to rebuild the whole machine, apps and all, ie make a disk-image? That makes a difference as to how you tell your machine to do the backup.

It's also worth considering backing up to the 'cloud'. If only so you're ready to tell people who ask, why you wouldn't touch it with a bargepole.




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Old 25th Jan 2024, 16:25
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Hi netstruggler

Thanks for your comments, and yes, I should have written SanDisk - my mistake!

The idea is just to save personal stuff such as 'photos, word documents, and emails. If I have these available, hopefully I could transfer the data to another machine. Good idea, by the way, to run 2 back-ups in alternate.

Thanks again.
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Old 25th Jan 2024, 16:49
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and keep them in different places..............................
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Old 28th Jan 2024, 02:14
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I've had a Seagate 1TB running for a couple of years or more with no issues
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Old 28th Jan 2024, 02:48
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Id also suggest that the alternating backups go to different types of media , eg SSD and spinning platters. Also once a year or so, take a third backup and store it in a different location.
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Old 28th Jan 2024, 10:25
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Thanks, reynoldsno1 and judyjudy for your thoughts; much appreciated.

Looks like a couple of Samsung SSD's may well be the answer.

Thanks again for all the inputs and ideas!
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Old 28th Jan 2024, 23:53
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I've been making a collection of redundant hard/SS Drives to re-format and sell on. But seeing how much prices have fallen it seems hardly worthwhile.
Shall certainly use one or two for belt-and-braces additional backups.
Amazing prices.
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Old 30th Jan 2024, 21:47
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" the alternating backups go to different types of media"

Can I ask why? Do you think that every SSD (for example) is suddenly going to fail?
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Old 30th Jan 2024, 23:58
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Originally Posted by Asturias56
" the alternating backups go to different types of media"

Can I ask why? Do you think that every SSD (for example) is suddenly going to fail?
It's possible that, if you bought two identical SSDs at the same time, you'd hit wear life on both of them at the same time.

Been caught out like that with large spinning rust RAID5 arrays; if you buy 30 discs at the same time the tolerances are such that when they start to fail the second one to fail is within the rebuild time from when the first one went.

In the OP's case I'd just sign up with Backblaze and not worry about it.



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Old 1st Feb 2024, 08:16
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thanks - Not something I'd thought of! But then I'm a cheap-skate and only buy one at a time..................
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Old 3rd Feb 2024, 19:32
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SSD's have an actual limited lifetime, based upon the number of times the SSD is written to. Its obviously varies by usage amounts but it if fixed and there is no recovery from it.

I would never have a backup with such an obvious flaw/limitation if my data was important to me.

The limit is why so many high end lightweight laptops die, and cannot be repaired, nor data recovered. Any Macbook Pro laptops after build A1708 are on board SSD chips so replacement of an SSD is basically impossible - it means a new motherboard, so nearly the price of a new laptop. Pretty much any othermanufacturer has the exact same problem.
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Old 3rd Feb 2024, 21:00
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Originally Posted by GrahamO
I would never have a backup with such an obvious flaw/limitation if my data was important to me..
I take it that you have never seen iron oxide flaking off the surface of a hard disk? I was going to suggest optical backup, but then I came across this:
Even the best branded media under optimal storage conditions will not last longer than a couple of years. At best, burned CDs last 10 years, while DVDs only last three years. Under real-life conditions, which are usually far off from the optimal, you can expect maybe a couple of years for CDs and less than a year for burned DVDs. The main alternative to CD backups, while a little more expensive, is external hard disk backup.
With respect to hard disks:
Most IT equipment functions properly for anywhere from five to ten years. However, the typical lifespan of an external hard disk drive (HDD) is only about three to five years. More expensive solid state drives (SSDs) that use flash memory instead of spinning discs generally last ten years or more.
​​​​​​​YMMV
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Old 3rd Feb 2024, 21:38
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The nice people over at the aforementioned Backblaze have some data on SSD and spinning rust drives. The jury is still out on which is more reliable for their use case, but the failure rates overlap. Their operating regime is different to a home user's.

It seems that, in practice, wear life isn't what kills a modern SSD.

Their numbers though (average drive life of under 3 years) means you'd be expecting something like 60/year for a two drive backup, and there is a choice of backup providers at that price point.
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Old 3rd Feb 2024, 22:33
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Just a thought, Isn't backing up to the cloud just storing your data on someone else's computer?

What if that fails, or the company goes bust.
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Old 4th Feb 2024, 01:28
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Originally Posted by Adonis2
Just a thought, Isn't backing up to the cloud just storing your data on someone else's computer?

This is an oft used argument.. Yes it's someone else's computer. But that computer is built to a higher quality than your home computer. And it's kept in nice solid racks in a data centre with air conditioning, clean power, backup generator and security guards on the door. Your data is actually distributed across lots of computers in different data centres, maybe even in different countries, so all that nice physical stuff isn't really necessary. And it's looked after by professionals with proper monitoring and fault prediction. And in some cases a $2bn R&D budget to make it better (or fiddle tax, depending on your cynicism) so you get continuous backup, point in time recovery etc.

All.of that is pretty pointless really because what really matters is....

What if that fails, or the company goes bust.
...that most of the cloud providers will offer you 99.999999999% durability. If I've done the sums right a single file loss is 200 times less likely than a double engine failure on an ETOPS certified flight (I've assumed engine failures are independent events, which they obviously aren't in the real world). A homebrew solution is nowhere near that; you probably won't even remember to do the backup in the first place!

If the company goes bust or raises prices you just go elsewhere, or revert to DIY.

I've no idea if cloud is right for the OP but it is almost certainly more reliable than a pair of external hard drives.
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Old 4th Feb 2024, 04:22
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The only truly long-lasting backup process is a roomful of monks chiseling away on stone tablets. Unfortunately the bandwidth is rather limited.
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Old 4th Feb 2024, 09:11
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old but still correct
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Old 4th Feb 2024, 13:23
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I have IBM punch cards that still have the holes in them that I can read that are over 70 years old. If I could figure out how to do it the images on my website would only take 13,750,000 cards.
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Old 6th Feb 2024, 06:05
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If I could figure out how to do it ...
When you do, make sure you turn on the numbering option in the last four columns. It really helps if they get out of sequence.

I once dropped a large, un-numbered deck of cards. Never did that again!


PS Back on topic.

Another vote for Backblaze. The beauty of this system is that it runs automatically in the background, so backups are always up to date, unlike my local disk backups, which I typically run weekly.

Another feature of Backblaze is that I can access my files via the web, using any computer.
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