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Backing up your music library - a cautionary tale.


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Hi everyone,

 

For those of you using Windows, I found a simple little (free) Microsoft program a few years ago called Synctoy 2.1. It's got a small footprint and I schedule mine with Windows scheduler to run on boot and at 21:00 daily. It's almost invisible aside from a pop-up window when it's doing its thing.

 

I set mine to copy various folder pairs between my PC, music server and two NASs. The only flaw in this system is when any of the machines are off.

 

Cheers,

 

Dave

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One strategy I use is to have a few Ext HDD's sitting with fellow SNAr's with all my FLAC music library on it.  I have sent you a PM as I reckon I need another Syd site for my off site storage.  ;)

Edited by scuzzii
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Hi, I feel your pain!

 

Years ago, before I got into NAS, I was having a chat about the ready-to-buy NAS systems with my boss. He mentioned those systems are good for a quick setup and work fine, however, most of the time they work with proprietary disk file systems, and if the RAID controller dies, then you're stuck with tons of unreadable data.

 

On that note, I took the harder way and set up a NAS from an old PC and two 640 GB mirrored disks using software RAID and a Linux compatible file system. Problem now, the disk(s) are at 95% percent capacity, so I will have to buy 2x 2TB drives and step by step replace them. In order not to loose anything, I have to

 

  • Take a disk out, and mark it as faulty on the system.
  • Place the new disk and start synching.
  • Remove the second disk, mark it as faulty, place the second new disk and start synching again.
  • Tell the raid controller to use all the space available on the disk
  • Expand the file system where the data resides too

It's gonna be a pain, I know that, and it's gonna take a few nights only synching data. And then, well, I hope I have tripled my capacity in the end.

 

So, there are pros and cons for both ways, I certainly would go for a all in one solution if I wasn't as tech savvy as I am, but I still rely on the Internet and other instructions to go along.

 

And if something major happens at home, well, then I'm all buggered anyway.

 

My 2c.

 

Alberto

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danter, is it possible to borrow someones ready has duo? maybe someone your way would be obliging and then you can just mirror across the data ? that way can then copy the stuff of the nas and move on. am in victoria and have a ready has duo myself. it sits quietly in a cupboard now collecting dust, if you were in melb I could help out. we just pull the thing out now and then dust it off….and use it as a our 3rd form of back up. and then put it away for safe keeping...

 

I found the ready nas duo myself too much on he noisey side just consuming power hence not used day to day...

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DiskInternals Linux Recovery has pulled all the files from the NAS drive (I think - it is a 2Tb drive which I am sure was about 75% full, yet only 1Tb was identified. I may well have had a load of FLAC file which for some reason this program does not like, but this did include 'unidentified' files). Only hassle is that the recvoered files lose all naming conventions and file structure. Am running Zero Assumption Recovery to see if it does a better job with the jpgs, which are the only real data of importance.

 

The borrowing of a Duo is a good idea if located. Mine became very flakey towards the end, then the power went dead and that was it. Not sure if it can be resurrected or worth doing.

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I was thinking all us digital library guys could send around a huge external hdd(s) in the post, keep adding all our music to it and in this fashion (cough) share our backups and keep them off site too.

 

Wouldn't mind another terabyte of music. hmmm

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I was talking to a mate yesterday who commented that repeated starting and stopping of the drive reduces its life span so just as good to leave running. Someone tech savvy confirm or deny?

 

That is true.....................and while my computer runs 24/7 just for that reason, a lot of the drives might only get a start weekly or on a reboot.

Power supplies are notorious for failing on boot up.

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I was thinking all us digital library guys could send around a huge external hdd(s) in the post, keep adding all our music to it and in this fashion (cough) share our backups and keep them off site too.

 

Wouldn't mind another terabyte of music. hmmm

 

We used to do that in the olden days before the cloud came along.

Ended up being mostly pr0n though!

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Any more music and I'll never be able too listen to it all. I already have too many radio shows to listen to (but I am trying)! Nice thought, though.

 

Powering up/down drives constantly... well, it depends. If the disks are spun down for a while - as they probably are in my NAS - then they will last longer (probably). If you power them up and down several times a day they may well keel over early. Mind you, there are so many other variables it is difficult to predict. It is best to simply have enough copies on enough disks to make you feel safe... There again, I guess it is also possible to put data on a disk, put it on the shelf and not be able to power it up when you come to need it.

 

Sorry, didn't mean to give you nightmares ;)

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As my NAS died a while back, I had let my back-up regime fall away (well lets say stop). Backed up my work files to Google Drive, but the rest - primarily photos and my music library (which I had just spent a good deal of time tidying up) were not backed up for well over a year - maybe two.

 

So, I thought, whack in a drive off the dead NAS and back up the main drive to it. All good.

 

Only, I managed to kill the main drive in the process (anit-static would have been a wise move). What's more, I have taken an age to access the NAS drive which has old back-ups of photos (not music) as I have just discovered they use neither FAT nor NTFS. So I have been running a data recovery programme that is doing the job, only you lose all naming of files and folders.

 

As for the music, I have an old backup of messed up files with a heap of ripping now missing.

 

The drive is now in the hands of a Mr Fix-it as hopefully, I have just damaged the PCB, which means the platter and files should be intact. Meanwhile, I am restoring from wherever as best I can.  Waste of time, waste of money, waste of effort.

 

So, the moral of course is if you don't or haven't, put a back up regime in place. Back to the NAS option I think as in Raid 1 you have mirrored drives in addition to the original (I am too lazy for the 'off-site' option for music - maybe for the photos which are of course irreplaceable).

 

And yes, I know all the clichés - 'make two back-ups, keep one off site, do it every week, every day, every hour, on the fly,

 

On a more positive note, was just about to rip and sell off my CDs. At least that work wasn't wasted - and I still have the CDs to rip.  Maybe just back to the CDP.

 

I feel for you danter having been through the same thing myself last year with a major hard drive failure.

The PC was very slow to boot up this one time and when windows finally loaded and I logged in my "D" drive had disapeared.

Along with that had gone ALL my data ... music, irreplaceable photos and documents etc, etc ... my whole digital life had disapeared.

And until this happens to you ... you simply don't realise how much it impacts you to loose everything.

To cut a long story short the drive had a catastrophic failure and I had to use one of those specialist Data Recovery services.

I was lucky and they were able to recover all my data ... albeit at a hefty price.

But how much value do you place on your memories and things like that?

For me ... I paid the price and learned a valuable lesson.

And to rub salt into the wound ... I work in IT and I'm often reminding people at work to back up data they can't afford to loose ...

If only I had taken my own advise ...

 

Any more music and I'll never be able too listen to it all. I already have too many radio shows to listen to (but I am trying)! Nice thought, though.

 

Powering up/down drives constantly... well, it depends. If the disks are spun down for a while - as they probably are in my NAS - then they will last longer (probably). If you power them up and down several times a day they may well keel over early. Mind you, there are so many other variables it is difficult to predict. It is best to simply have enough copies on enough disks to make you feel safe... There again, I guess it is also possible to put data on a disk, put it on the shelf and not be able to power it up when you come to need it.

 

Sorry, didn't mean to give you nightmares ;)

Hard drives can fail at any time ... regardless if they are new or old ... or if they are a simple desktop drive or an enterprise drive designed for 24/7/356 uptime ... they can all fail at anytime with no warning.

A good "Valid" backup is vital insurance in case of a hard drive failure.

And as part of doing a backup ... don't forget to do a "test recovery" to confirm your backup strategy works.

Again ... I have seen people have hard drive failures and think they are safe because they have done "a backup" ... then when they try and restore the backup data is found to be corrupt or incomplete and the backup they thought they had is useless.

I hope this doesn't give you nightmares :P

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I've had that horror moment where have gone to do a back up and it tells me the disc is corrupt...or not valid or something...makes you wonder...hell what if I had needed that back up had previously made on it...only solution is a couple of back up...one stored remotely if worried about both getting lost due to some other event like fire or something.

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I group all my rips into 6 month intervals folders .

Then every 6 months I only have to copy the last folder rather than my whole drive each time.

Saves a great deal of time backing up one folder and not the whole drive.

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Well, got the drive powered up, but the click of death. Had a quote for close to $2k to get the data with no guarantees.  Clean room?  I can have it done in a surgery for cheaper.

 

But on a happier note, I have found most all of my photos including the latest from a back up I don't even recall making, so harm minimised. Work docs went to Google Drive, so just personal crap of the recent past which is definitely not worth $2k !

 

Found a 200Gb music back-up that is in all sorts of drama, but have resorted to Spotify in the meantime while sorting out libraries.

 

Now to sort out the best back-up software. Not a mac so no time machine. Have used FileSync and Cobian in the past. Any recommendations out there ?  Think I will mirror the drive internally plus an external back up and send the pics to the cloud as well (ready for the next Fappening!). Have 55Gb on Dropbox, 50Gb on Box and another 30Gb on Google Drive which should come close - as a 3rd back up, no concerns if hacked or lost.

Edited by danter
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