HDDs for Backing Up Windows, Libraries etc.

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SpringywheelSpringywheel Frets: 563
edited August 2021 in Studio & Recording
What's everyone using to back up their music libraries, VSTs, DAW settings, Windows etc? I'm looking for a reliable External 4TB HD that won't crap out on me later down the line. With Amazon full of fake reviews these days  it's hard to make an informed decision.  
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 31155
    I'm use a NAS- made by Synology, that uses redundancy (RAID 5).
    That then gets backed up to the cloud.

    Network backup is better than local backup.
    I've had instances where plugging in a drive has hosed a system.

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  • TanninTannin Frets: 1077
    These days there are only two major drive manufacturers left. Half a lifetime in IT taught me to always distrust Western Digital. That leaves Seagate. Anything with another brand on it is one of those two rebadged.

    Your best bet is to not worry about the choice of drives, just use lots of them - they are very cheap after all - and store them in different buildings.
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  • ToneControlToneControl Frets: 10108
    First: can you run a network cable to an outbuilding where you can run a NAS drive?

    one backup drive is not enough btw, you need at least 2

    Many years ago I used to have automated DAT backups, from a machine with mirrored HDDs. Thought I was sorted.
    One Christmas morning, the OS corrupted both HDDs at the same time, whilst it was doing a full backup, after it had already deleted the old backup. I had to go back several months to old tapes 
    Lesson learned.

    Normal rules are 
    • one backup offsite
    • one backup automatically working onsite at least daily

    Some Enhancements are:
    • Mirrored/striped onsite backups - constant or automated
    • automated offsite backups
    • Set of offsite backups, from different months - in case a corruption lies undetected for a while (e.g. from virus, or corrupted HDD)
    • there are many more, this is just the basic stuff
    I use a mirrored/striped NAS near the PC, and a 16TB windows automatic backup drive
    Also I manually curate backup copies on different themes to 4TB drives to keep offsite

    some USB drives are noisy btw



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  • SpringywheelSpringywheel Frets: 563
    edited August 2021
    Thank you fellas, I don’t have the luxury of backing up to an outbuilding via network cable, but I think going down the multiple drive route is wise advice, in addition to subscribing to a cloud backup service. Just need to find a good deal. 

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  • TanninTannin Frets: 1077
    Cheers Springywheel. Backing up off-site is easy-peasy. Simply backup to external drive(s) (USB or etc.), then take the drive(s) somewhere for safekeeping - bottom drawer of your brother-in-law's spare room, parents' garage, wherever. Then, assuming something dreadful happens to destroy your other backups (such as a house fire), you are still OK.

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  • SpringywheelSpringywheel Frets: 563
    edited August 2021
    Cool. I just bought a HGST and Toshiba 4tb. The former has the lowest failure rates at 1%. I’ve had a toshiba 1tb for the past 8 years that I paid 50 quid for which is still going strong. Turns out they have the second lowest failure rate at 3% with WD and SG being the worst. Probably doesn’t matter that much with multiple drives, but i guess it’s a bit more reassuring.
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  • MusicwolfMusicwolf Frets: 2469
    Tannin said:
     Simply backup to external drive(s) (USB or etc.), then take the drive(s) somewhere for safekeeping - bottom drawer of your brother-in-law's spare room, parents' garage, wherever.


    A few years ago I was working from home when the drive on my works laptop started making a horrible noise.  I couldn't remember when I'd last backed up, and I was due to fly off somewhere later that day, so no chance to go into the office.  I jumped in the car, went to Tesco (this was fairly early in the morning) and bought a twin pack of external drives.  The cases were bright primary colours, you couldn't miss them.  I backed up the works stuff to one drive and, since I had the second, I backed up my home stuff.  Labelled them both and put them somewhere safe.

    Despite numerous attempts to locate them, when I wanted to make subsequent backups, it took about 4 years to find them.
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  • siremoonsiremoon Frets: 1220
    Tannin said:
    These days there are only two major drive manufacturers left. Half a lifetime in IT taught me to always distrust Western Digital. That leaves Seagate. Anything with another brand on it is one of those two rebadged.

    Your best bet is to not worry about the choice of drives, just use lots of them - they are very cheap after all - and store them in different buildings.
    Which just goes to show how personal experience influences decisions.  Forty years in IT taught me always to distrust Seagate*.  I always use WD! 

    *There was a major project 20 odd years ago where we had a spate of Seagate failures - I mean dozens over a period of months.  We never found out why - a bad batch, change of factory, change of design, no idea what it was and Seagate themselves were about as unhelpful as it it is possible to be.  I presume both they and their products are not like that now but it put me off them for good.  By contrast I've never had any problems with WD.  You pays your money and takes your choice I guess.

    In terms of backing up your DAW work etc - I recommend belt and braces and another belt.  I keep 3 backups of all my stuff.  One I do at the end of each session and the other two I do weekly.
    “He is like a man with a fork in a world of soup.” - Noel Gallagher
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  • Tannin said:
    These days there are only two major drive manufacturers left. Half a lifetime in IT taught me to always distrust Western Digital. That leaves Seagate. Anything with another brand on it is one of those two rebadged.
    Funny that. My experience is just the opposite. I found Seagate both unreliable and poor support. Never had a major problem with WD!

    Funny thing life?

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  • TanninTannin Frets: 1077
    I do claim some science in my support. For many years I sold hard drives, both as stand alone products and as part of systems, upgrades, and repairs, and kept detailed records. Every time a hard drive in one of our systems failed, it cost me  money. Yes, me personally.  Between the cost of a replacement drive (which I paid - the manufacturers do replace failed drives but months late and  with unreliable refurbish units you'd be crazy to trust) , the wages for a someone to rescue the data (where possible), or the time to do it myself, and the inevitable loss of reputation and goodwill (which translated to future lost sales), we are talking $500 to $1000 a time. Basically, I was a fanatic about hard drive reliability and for more than 20 years I watched the return numbers obsessively. 

    Of course, the relevance of data two years old in an industry which moves as fast as the storage game is questionable, and the relevance of five year-old-data is very questionable. Nevertheless, I still can't bring myself to really trust a WD drive, even after all these years. Too many traumas. Just yesterday I plugged in a new WD external to make a backup - it was the only one I could get my hands on at the time and I forced myself to buy it anyway - and now that the backup is finished I can't wait to make another one, just to feel really safe.

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