Some advice needed on backup process.


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rotor55
rotor55
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Hello, I have about 4TB of data I want to backup to an external USB drive, I have used the file/folder backup and it worked quite well only taking about 4-5 hours to do it which seemed much faster than basic file/folder copy of windows.

The bulk of the data rarely changes, so maybe once a year it needs to be refreshed, what is the optimal way to do this.

1 - just do a new file/folder backup again from scratch ?

2 - use the differential method to update the image ?

I like the idea of 2 if cuts down the time to run the backup, maybe I'm reading it wrong but it sounds like it creates a second image with the updated changes alongside the first.

Thanks.
jphughan
jphughan
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A Differential does not update the existing backup.  A Differential creates a new backup of your data at that point in time, but stores it in such a way that the backup file itself only needs to store the changes that have occurred with your data relative to the pre-existing Full.  So for example if you backed up your original data in a Full, then created a brand new 50 MB file at your source, and then made a Differential, the Differential would only have to store that new 50 MB file.  But if you were ever to browse or restore that Differential, you'd still get all of your data since the Differential is aware that the point in time "data state" it is meant to represent also includes all of the data from the Full.

So a Differential will indeed typically take less time and result in a smaller backup than running another Full, but the resulting Differential will also be dependent on that existing Full.  That means you wouldn't be able to delete the earlier Full without rendering the Differential useless, and it also means that if the Full ever becomes corrupted or partially unreadable (possibly due to an issue with the underlying storage device), then the Differential that depends on it would be useless as well.

If your data truly changes so infrequently that performing only annual backups is feasible, that's perfectly fine, but as a general practice I'd recommend having at least two Full backups at any given time in order to mitigate the corruption/unreadability risk.  Storing Fulls across multiple devices is even better.

Edited 14 April 2021 1:02 PM by jphughan
capair45
capair45
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I would suggest using at least a 2-disk rotation, keeping at least 1 of those disks disconnected from the computer and only attach it for a backup. Keep this disk in a safe location when not in use (home safe, off site, etc.). Rotate this disk through the imaging process regularly then disconnect it and store it safely away.

If you decide to stick with using the single backup disk and you only use it for annual backups (assuming there is no other need for the disk), I would suggest disconnecting the disk when the backup is complete and store it away safely.


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rotor55
rotor55
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Thanks for the advice, yeah the data is on a raid 1 array and the usb is the in case something happens solution, it remains stored away and only turned on for backup.

I think sticking with a full backup is the simplest/safest way to go even if it takes a while.


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