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Samrc

External Backup Drive

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Been using MAXTOR external backup drives at home and work for years, mostly with success.

 

Recently had a major scare.

A backup drive that had important data on it and no where else just stopped working.

The power cord was connected and the Maxtor drive would power up.

Yet no light on the front of drive.

No PC could recognize the drive!

Just stopped working. No reason, no errors, no warning. Just nothing.

After several attempts on several machines, I set it aside for an hour and tried again.

This time it connected and I was able to move data from it to a pc.

I can no longer trust this drive and need to replace it.

 

I was choosing Maxtor because they came with decent backup software.

The newer ones have very limited backup options while the older Retrospect software was really quite nice.

 

Did some reading on the web and found similar complaints for some of the MAXTOR externals. They just stop being "seen" by computers. No abuse, misuse, damage, or issues that a user can prevent. Maxtor will replace the drive but will not try to recover the data, when still under warranty. Most of mine are out of warranty (too old). that I have so I do not want to go with that brand again!

 

So, are there any backup externals you folks like?

1) for a single PC

2) to connect to a network so 2-3 machines can use it for backup.

Edited by Samrc

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I have a SimpleTech at work and haven't had any issues with it. At home I have Western Digital, again no issues.

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So, are there any backup externals you folks like?

1) for a single PC

2) to connect to a network so 2-3 machines can use it for backup.

 

Single PC setup. Circuit City has an external 250 Gb Western Digital (Model #: WDC WDME2500TN) for $99. It connects via USB. One year warranty. However, the reviews on CC and newegg are very positive. I hooked it up to a customer's computer, then created a Windows backup job. The job writes to the external drive every Sunday morning at 2 a.m., copying everything except system state data. I'm not familiar with Retrospect so I can't comment. However, by creating Windows .bkf files, as a rule, any Windows 2000/XP machine would be able to read them. It also wouldn't hurt to burn what you really care about off to CD/DVD. Mail these off to family so you have some off-site storage.

 

Network. Business or home setting? For a business, my comment to that is Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices are not designed with the same degree of robustness found in an enterprise level fileserver. However, if cost is a concern, then it's one solution. For example, the Buffalo Linkstations are cheap and pretty popular. However, I read to where they die after 2 years. Simpletech has gotten good reviews. No personal experience with either of them. The HP storageworks I'm familiar with are probably outside the budget. From the open-source realm, FreeNAS (www.freenas.org) has gotten some positive reviews. For home, I'd get a Simpletech or go FreeNAS with an understanding of the risks.

Edited by mhinton

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I have a Western Digital USB and I backup all 5 Desktops and 2 laptops on it monthly at home. I use Ghost and have restored twice and everything works like a charm.

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We do have a tape backup for our office server. But the server and the tape are not large enough to also handle our desktops.

 

Most of our desktop units have very little actually stored on them and if the machines went down it would not be a big loss. But 4 units are important, with tons of data that should be backed up on a regular basis. We have individual Maxtors for them, but after my experience with one that stopped working and one that became cranky, I am glad to have other input for replacements!

 

Thank you for your input and suggestions! :)

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We do have a tape backup for our office server. But the server and the tape are not large enough to also handle our desktops.

 

I would replace the tape drive with a hard drive or flash drive. I've seen too many tape drives fail in my 20+ years doing support.

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When we replace our current server, we will DEFINITELY move away from tape.

 

We have rotating tapes, 5 for each weekday, two for odd month/even month.

And we review the evening logs which record any file failures. Once in a while I have to replace tapes.

Our Veritas software seems to do well verifying the data for us...

But so far...knock on wood...the tapes have been quite consistent for us.

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"We do have a tape backup for our office server. But the server and the tape are not large enough to also handle our desktops."

 

5 years of support and I have yet to see a tape drive fail. I have seen bad tapes. I would not replace a tape drive with a flash drive or hard drive. This thread started because of a suspected bad hard drive.

 

I've designed a backup/restore solution to backup 1 Tb of data across a LAN. When I started that, I inventoried all the LAN data, clarified with my employer what data was the most important and asked what my budget was. Then sized the replacement hardware (backed up to disk then off an autoloading tape drive). You may want to consider going through the same process. How much total data are we talking here?

 

In reading your comment, may I make two suggestions for what it's worth.

 

"Our Veritas software seems to do well verifying the data for us..."

Don't trust your vendor. Ever. You mitigate your risk by testing your backup and your restore. If vendor X's one true backup solution can't recover your data from a test restore then stay on them until it's resolved. Example: I copied a Excel sheet that was used to invoice customers. Made sure it was included in the backup jobs. Deleted it, then went to do a restore. That restore fine. Did the same test, but using an email file. Vendor X's software couldn't find it. The backup job reported it was successful. After a few days, vendor X's support asked me to upgrade the agent that did backup job.

 

"We have rotating tapes, 5 for each weekday, two for odd month/even month. And we review the evening logs which record any file failures. Once in a while I have to replace tapes."

 

Tapes are cheap compared to the cost of business downtime. At a minimum, I would buy a new one to replace month 12 (year's end) and leave that off-site in a bank safe deposit box. If budget permits, then 4 tapes, one a quarter. This way the business can have that data for various reasons.

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5 years of support and I have yet to see a tape drive fail. I have seen bad tapes. I would not replace a tape drive with a flash drive or hard drive. This thread started because of a suspected bad hard drive.

 

Guess it's because you have only been doing support for 5 years. I've been at this for more than 20. I have had 3 tape drives fail on me.

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At a minimum, I would buy a new one to replace month 12 (year's end) and leave that off-site in a bank safe deposit box. If budget permits, then 4 tapes, one a quarter.

 

We have year-end tapes for the last two years, stored off-site. Since they are not in the rotation, I didn't mention them.

Will consider quarter tapes.

 

We had a tape drive fail years ago on our previous server, after years of service.

But also had flash drives fail. Can happen with any media I guess.

At least with the tape drive, there are older versions of the media where with a flash drive if it dies, you don't even have an older version to fall back on.

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Can happen with any media I guess.

 

Exactly. For me, in my experience, tape drives have failed less often than hard drives. Why I put my backups to tape. One final thought. For day to day file recovery on a Windows server, you may want to look at Diskkeeper's Undelete software. At a former employer, it worked well.

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Been using MAXTOR external backup drives at home and work for years, mostly with success.

 

Recently had a major scare.

A backup drive that had important data on it and no where else just stopped working.

The power cord was connected and the Maxtor drive would power up.

Yet no light on the front of drive.

No PC could recognize the drive!

Just stopped working. No reason, no errors, no warning. Just nothing.

After several attempts on several machines, I set it aside for an hour and tried again.

This time it connected and I was able to move data from it to a pc.

I can no longer trust this drive and need to replace it.

 

I was choosing Maxtor because they came with decent backup software.

The newer ones have very limited backup options while the older Retrospect software was really quite nice.

 

Did some reading on the web and found similar complaints for some of the MAXTOR externals. They just stop being "seen" by computers. No abuse, misuse, damage, or issues that a user can prevent. Maxtor will replace the drive but will not try to recover the data, when still under warranty. Most of mine are out of warranty (too old). that I have so I do not want to go with that brand again!

 

So, are there any backup externals you folks like?

1) for a single PC

2) to connect to a network so 2-3 machines can use it for backup.

 

I'm so sorry about your scare!

 

I have a Maxtor One Touch (1 year old) and it's been great. I also have Lacie drive for my studio computer system and that is great. I have also heard great things about Western Digital, tho I don't have any first hand experience myself.

Edited by webgyrl

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I have a Western Digital USB and I backup all 5 Desktops and 2 laptops on it monthly at home. I use Ghost and have restored twice and everything works like a charm.

 

What's GHOST?

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The only product by Nortons I'll use, A backup and restore program.

 

h_tp://www.symantec.com/norton/ghost

Edited by Madmanmcp

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The only product by Nortons I'll use, A backup and restore program.

 

h_tp://www.symantec.com/norton/ghost

Thanks I will check that out!

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The only product by Nortons I'll use, A backup and restore program.

 

h_tp://www.symantec.com/norton/ghost

 

I think a better one is Shadow Protect: www.storagecraft.com/products/ShadowProtectDesktop/

 

So far, it has been very reliable for me.

 

Regards,

Dan

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