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I'm setting up a backup plan for a relative using an external drive. I know it's recommended to disconnect external backup drives after they have been backed up, but it would be a whole lot easier if they could just leave it plugged in. I was wondering just how important this tip is.
Does anyone have experience with backup drives that have been corrupted because malware infected the main pc? Is it a common thing?
 

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If you want them protected from malware such as the ransomware that encrypts your files until you pay for the key then disconnect them.
Also test your backups to make sure they are good after you create them. I have had issue where the backup went fine with no errors but the file was corrupted and could not be accessed.
 

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i use clouds backup now, if you house caught in fire you will loose your backup...
also an hdd stopped for a long time may not restart unless it is a solid state hdd
 

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As with many things, no one solution is the fix all.

Me?

We use the cloud for non critical items. There is enough free space offered for lots of non-personal photos

We put stuff on DVD and then keep a copy at the in-laws....and we do the same for them.

I also have a couple of bare HD's that dump stuff too on a not so regular basis....(I need to work on that)

I no longer get paper copies of bills. Any time I want it, I can just download it from the web.
 

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Another option when wanting daily access (works ok for me), using an external drive plugged into spare router's usb port, lets you set up users with read/write, or as read only.

Mostly populated with music, some backups personal excel spreadsheets, few photos... Router itself has no internet since it's main purpose has been mainly playing music with some storage.

4 Cloud stuff, I've been happy with Outlook.com + OneDrive (iOS/Linux frendly)

If you wanna nerd-out, do the Raspberry Pi NAS thing.
 

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Cloud is usually the best option, offsite, versioning are a few advantages.

I usually recommend to use CrashPlan.com.

If two people install Crashplan on their PCS, they can backup across the internet to each other for Free. They dont actively market this feature, but it works extremely well. "Only CrashPlan offers totally free local and offsite backup."

So much like backing up to a DVD and then taking it to the in-laws, the downside is most recent files aren't backed up and the DVD could be damaged.
 

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I have a portable hdd that's always hooked up to my PC. That is where files are saved by default.

That portable hdd is backed up to another portable hdd that is updated weekly. That second hdd lives in my handbag so if the house burns down I have my files and the hdd is only late (in terms of data update) by a week which is not that critical to me.

Both HDDs are encrypted.
 

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I'm setting up a backup plan for a relative using an external drive. I know it's recommended to disconnect external backup drives after they have been backed up, but it would be a whole lot easier if they could just leave it plugged in. I was wondering just how important this tip is.
Does anyone have experience with backup drives that have been corrupted because malware infected the main pc? Is it a common thing?
You could leave the external drive "plugged-in", but turn off its power supply unless you are "backing-up" - and while "backing-up" disconnect from the internet. If it is plugged in but un-powered the computer (and any malware on it) cannot see it.

This will require a switch in the power circuit so a power board/strip with switches would be necessary.

You could use two back-up drives and swap them after each back-up, keeping on at your house and one at your relative's.
 

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I know someone who recently logged into his PC only to find the system had completely rebooted and most of his files were gone. Okay, so that "someone" was me. Thank goodness I was able to recover from an older backup!! I was about to scream as I had years of pictures of the kids I almost lost!

I would agree with backing up to both the cloud and to a solid state external drive.
 

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I know someone who recently logged into his PC only to find the system had completely rebooted and most of his files were gone. Okay, so that "someone" was me. Thank goodness I was able to recover from an older backup!! I was about to scream as I had years of pictures of the kids I almost lost!

I would agree with backing up to both the cloud and to a solid state external drive.
By default, Windows, creates areas for storing "data" files on the same "drive" as the operating system.
Even if you have only a single "hard drive", you can "partition" this and create separate "Drives" for your data files.

If the "system drive" then crashes, the data is then still on the other "drive(s)"

However, if the "hard-disk" crashes (or the computer becomes infected with "Ransom-ware") you would still be stuck, unless you have backed up to an external drive - or "cloud" - as well.
 

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I use Macrium Reflect software for backups to 2 different external drives. One is kept at a friend's house where I usually stay during the week because of work, and the other is kept at home--locations that are far enough apart that nearly anything that can destroy one would not affect the other. Scheduled backups run during the week, and one during the weekend to the other drive to keep both in sync--this way there's not much I can think of that would wipe out both drives and the PC at the same time--in fact the only things that could likely do that are an Electromagnetic Pulse attack, or a very large meteorite impact.
Last time I had a HDD failure, I lost nothing at all, restored from the backup, re downloaded 2 email attachments that'd come in since previous backup, and was back in business :)
 

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I purchased a network drive and it's not connected to any computer but it backs up my tablets cell phones and laptops all within my own wifi home network
 

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It also serves as a media server and has over 800 movies on it I can watch from any network connected device just turn on DVD player and watch any movie wirelessly
 

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I just rsync two TB drives that I store everything on. One fails, replace it. (making sure of course rsync clones in the right direction! lol).

That's it.

If my house burns down I got bigger things to worry about. I suppose a surge could get through my UPS and fry both drives but, this solution has worked for me for many years now.

Sometimes, if I have a softlayer account or something I'll keep copies sync'd out there too but don't really worry about it if I don't. Which, atm I run sites and stuff at home so, I don't. But may go back to save on the hassle.
 

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Bit late to the party but given the importance of backups, I figured I'd chime in.

It's absolutely crucial to retain a backup of your data, particularly one that gets disconnected. Connected media still leaves the door open for access to that backed up data, thereby making it a potential target for infections, etc. The simple act of disconnecting the backup media in question helps secure that backed up data far, far better. It's a necessary step, in my opinion.

On that note, the act of plugging in a device and running a backup is something that can be forgotten. Outdated backups serve less of a purpose. It still puts the control in the hands of the user -- control that must be thought about and acted upon. This can be good and bad. The bad is of course that it can be forgotten. The good is that some users like that control and want that control. The act of pushing a button confirms the "yes, I want to back up -- right now" action. Some dig it, some want a more hands-off approach.

I like making my computer work 'for' me. I want it to run automatic backups. I'm a busy guy. The last thing I want to worry about is whether or not my data is backing up. As a result, I automate as much as possible. FreeFileSync is a very nice open source file sync application. It works on Mac, Linux, and Windows. My in-laws, who run Windows 10, quite like this. I put a very low powered system in their basement connected to their network and set up a samba (network) share. This allows FreeFileSync to see it on the network and effectively synchronize their data to it. You can take this task, a 'job' if you will, and have it export to a single file. Double click it, the job runs. There's your control. Set it up as a scheduled task in Windows, there's your automation. Same end result, but a different approach between manual vs automatic.

In the case of my systems at home, along with my wife's laptop, we run Linux based systems (Ubuntu). I wrote an rsync script which will rsync the home directory to my home server. If I launch it manually, it runs and does its thing, providing notifications when it starts, when it's done, and if an error occurred. I set the script up with a 60 second delay to start, and then tagged the script as a startup item. That means each time the user logs in, the script launches, but waits 60 seconds, then executes. This gives time for wifi to connect since our systems have solid state drives, and as a result, start up + log in wicked fast, often faster than the wifi has a chance to connect. (60 seconds is mega overkill but I use it as a flat standard approach for nothing more than consistency)

I also have an external hard drive that I store in my desk at work. I live close to work, so once a week I make it a point to go home for lunch with the external drive in hand. This drive houses the important data on my server. While home, I let a backup run (normally only takes 2-3 minutes for incremental changes to update), and then it's ready to drop back in my desk at work. House burns down, yeah that'd be terrible, but I'd still have the baby pictures of my daughters, pictures from my wedding, etc etc.

Cloud storage is a popular option, though there's always the question of how much trust and data integrity is there. I mean, can you as an absolute fact confirm that Google Drive, iCloud, Dropbox, etc. will be there when you need them? Cloud storage providers have had their issues in the past. Nothing is perfect. The only way I can personally guarantee (keyword there) that my data is synchronized and safe is when it's in my own hands. I can plug in my external 'backup' drive to my computer. I can see the data. I can see it's up to date. I can see it in my desk drawer. I can see the key that locks that desk drawer. But I have no control over the data center storing my data in the cloud whatsoever. What's *their* backup plan? What's their disaster recovery methods? What are they going to do to ensure my data is secured, safe, and will survive a fire in one of their data centers or someone tripping over a cable in the server closet? It's worth noting the Dropbox ToS outlines they are not responsible for lost data, namely "IN NO EVENT WILL DROPBOX, ITS AFFILIATES, SUPPLIERS OR DISTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR: (B) ANY LOSS OF USE, DATA, BUSINESS, OR PROFITS, REGARDLESS OF LEGAL THEORY." -- updated less than a month ago at the time of this post. Depending on the amount of data you have, this may also sway you one way or another. Backing up 3TB of data, as I have, would come at a decent annual cost. My home file server has paid itself off several times over again throughout the 4-5 years I've used it based on this premise alone.

That said, perhaps I just have a tinfoil hat on in regard to cloud data. After all, you're looking at a Nextcloud user (I host my own cloud server for my + my family's use within my own house). But hey, it's something to think about, as in Dropbox's case (and I'm sure others) they take a very hands-off approach to responsibility.

Important takeaways:

1) The more locations your data resides, the better, as each serves as a "backup" to your computer in some capacity.
2) Cloud storage is convenient, but do you trust it? If you do, great, but it's something to think about.
3) A home server file server is a great always-on way to back up your data at home. Coupled with an off-site backup, i.e. such as my external drive idea or even cloud storage, creates a better safety net.

Home file servers aren't all that daunting. If you want to spin your own, OpenMediaVault is a great Linux based approach, as you install the system from a CD or USB flash drive on any computer and configure it from a web interface -- much like you'd configure a preboxed Synology, QNAP, Netgear "home NAS" product. You can even use a regular command line driven server distribution if you're comfortable with setting up config files for samba, users, etc (many guides online for this). These two options are done by utilizing a computer of some sort. Could be an old computer sitting around, one you purchase specifically for this task, or one you custom build. At the same token, there's the preboxed solutions I mentioned, which involve you purchasing "the box" and whatever hard drives you want, plugging them in, and setting up the shares/users/etc through the web interface. Many routers also come with a USB port, which allow you to plug in an external hard drive and share it via the router's web interface. If you have a modern router with USB support, this may be the cheapest networked idea.

Whichever way you approach it, ask yourself -- if I was having a bad day and I took a hammer to your laptop, while that would upset you, you CAN replace your laptop. You cannot replace your data. What's your plan? Do you have a backup? Yes? Great! At that point, ask yourself -- I'm having a *REALLY* bad day and I just burnt down your house. What's your plan at that point to get those baby pictures of your kids back? Backup solutions aren't always cheap, but it's an insurance plan for your data that is *always* wise to invest in.

Food for thought. :)
 

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I use a external HD, which i keep unplugged unless i want to update my backup. Everything stays save that way!
Many use a online storage site, such as Cloud. I, personally don't like my stuff on some other server, and furthermore, my monthly data cap isn't what most on DSL or cable get. (Rural internet plans suck)
 

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I have a NAS that I work off of in my house. Whichever laptop (or phone/tablets) I'm on. Works alright.

I have cloud backup for it. Using Amazon's currently, seems to be reliable and reasonably priced for unlimited storage.

I also have an external drive that I manually make a copy onto every so often. I thought I'd put it in my desk drawer at work but haven't been as vigilant with that as I should . . .
 
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