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Need Back up and storage help

Last response: in Storage
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October 4, 2010 1:33:56 PM

Hello,
I currently have two home PC's networked and am using a Belkin N+ router with no problems. We have Vista Home Premium for both OS but will eventually change over to Win 7 home premium. We foolishly have not been backing up since we networked the two PC's. We would like a back up solution for both computers that is fairly easy to set up with a hard drive preferably in an external enclosure or dock rather than an external hard drive. Both PC's have eSATA and firewire ports but no USB 3.0. We have been looking at Acronis True Image as well as the Genie products. Is it possible to back up the secondary computer over the network? Do we need two licenses for the back up software and two hard drives for back up?? Suggestions greatly appreciated!

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October 5, 2010 2:06:20 PM

Any help would be appreciated including links to articles or reviews! Many thanks guys!
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a c 93 G Storage
October 5, 2010 2:46:08 PM

If you have an old PC laying about, you could build your own Windows Home Server or FreeNAS box to handle your backup needs. Both are very easy to use and operate automatically, as configured, in the background.

Using Acronis would require 2 licenses per your description and you would still need a place to store the files (ext HDD, NAS, etc). Doing through the network is fine.

So, how much money do you want to spend (or not) on your backup solution?
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October 5, 2010 5:56:48 PM

Hmmmm. I'll spend what it takes for a thorough but not overkill solution. The idea of "grabbing and going" in case we have to evacuate for a hurricane appeals to me as it would be a heck of a lot easier to grab a hard drive in an enclosure than to pack two pc's in an already packed car. I just might be able to get my hands on an old Dell e510 of my mother-in-law's as she wants to downsize to to laptop. It is currently running XP. What would I do to make it a server on the network?
BTW, our attempt to upgrade to Win 7 was a miserable failure! We succumbed to the restart boot loop because we had archived files from our old PC in a shell directory. Total pain to finally restore Vista. No. I had not backed up! That is part of why I really need to get a good back up system going.

Thanks!
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a c 93 G Storage
October 5, 2010 6:15:54 PM

Turning the old PC into a WHS box is as simple as buying a copy of WHS and installing it. You then install WHS connector software on each of your PCs (to be backed up) and then you do nothing (well, very little). Backups are automatic and happen at night (usually). Pretty much a no brainer for up to 10 Windows machines. You just need enough disk space to hold your files in the server. 1 2TB drive can go a long way.

You can also do the same for no cost with FreeNAS, but it is a bit more complicated to set up. Lots of tutorials out there.

Here is a link for WHS:
http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=Windows+Home+S...

You could also go with a ready made solution like this one:
http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=seagate+nas&hl...

Really a matter of how much you want to do.
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a c 415 G Storage
October 5, 2010 7:11:53 PM

The safest backup strategy uses multiple backup media that are kept OFFLINE (except when backing up). Ideally, one of the backup copies should be stored OFFSITE.

Using a home server for backup is fine as long as you remove the media from the system after the backup. For example, if you do overnight backups then in the morning you should swap the external backup drives so the next backup is done to different media and the most recent backup is offline.

If you're just relying on the backups to sit online on the home server, then you're vulnerable to risks such as corruption, common-mode equipment failure (i.e., PSU blows up and takes your disks with it) or theft of the system.
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a c 93 G Storage
October 5, 2010 7:13:52 PM

sminlal said:
The safest backup strategy uses multiple backup media that are kept OFFLINE (except when backing up). Ideally, one of the backup copies should be stored OFFSITE.

Using a home server for backup is fine as long as you remove the media from the system after the backup. For example, if you do overnight backups then in the morning you should swap the external backup drives so the next backup is done to different media and the most recent backup is offline.

If you're just relying on the backups to sit online on the home server, then you're vulnerable to risks such as corruption, common-mode equipment failure (i.e., PSU blows up and takes your disks with it) or theft of the system.

This is actually very good advice. You can use a 2 layered defense with local storage for all stuff and an off-site service for critical stuff.
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!