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Cheap, Reliable Data Backup. Online and Offline.


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#1 KnowShtuff

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 02:02 PM

I'm wanting to backup as much of my data as possible and I've never really done anything close to it other than store small multimedia online in various web mail accounts or file hosting sites and burned a couple CDs; so I guess the big difference is I've never been concerned with storing 15-80 GB of data and only had experience with probably less than 1GB storage.

I've just organized a lot of my data in one file that total about 13.5 GB. It would be great if I could just upload that one folder to one or more storage sites and or 1 or as few as possible disks. I suppose that since all of the exe files I could find are there too, then I've backed up a lot of my software in that 13.5 GB too. However, I'm also concerned with anything I might be missing from all of my programs, my outlook email storage, and any other spaces I'm forgetting.

External hard drives are out of the question at this point simply due to price. BD-R is out of the question because though it is nice that you can buy a 25GB disk for 20$ it seems that you need to buy the $600 +/- hardware to go with it.

Firstly, for attempts at peace of mind, is System Restore on XP reliable and efficient enough for me to be sure that if it is activated and a crucial folder with many GB of data gets completely deleted then I can easily recover it without having to hire some recovery specialist?

Just in case System Restore isn't good enough ... or my PC gets destroyed in a storm or something to that effect ....

I'm looking for free web storage with largest file size uploads and largest total space.

I'm looking for largest capacity and cheapest data disks that I can purchase locally that will allow me to store all file types for various video, audio, image, text and data like software.


Some sites I previously knew of that might work were Box.net and Goowy.com , but it actually looks like their files limits and total size limits for free users are just not good enough for me.

I've just started googling with a "free unlimited online storage" query, http://www.google.co.....line storage" , and started looking at details for sites like http://www.mediafire.com , http://drive.123-reg.co.uk/Pages/Home , divshare.com etc results. Any sites that are exactly or close to what I am looking for that you are willing to share?

For disks, I've been looking at the options from Best Buy, mostly, at http://www.bestbuy.com . This is how I just learned about BD-R Blu-ray disks. However, since BD-R is not an option for me, I could use some help figuring out what my best options are.

I'm still not sure if all types of data can be stores on both DVD and CD or if they are limited to only CD and or if they are limited to only certain types like RW disks or not.

I have both drives - CD-RW 40X10X40 and DVD-ROM 16x max speed.


My current understanding is that CD-RW can surely store all media types. But, I'm not sure about DVD.

I see that the largest capacity CD R-RW is only 700MB per disk, which is going to mean a lot of CDs to store data, but better than nothing.

I see that the DVD disks have much larger capacities but I'm just not sure if they will store all types of data. Will they?

I currently have about 15 700MB CD-RW disks and almost 50 4.7GB DVD-R disks. I'd definitely have to buy more CD-RW disks if that is the only compatible disk for storage of all file types, which sucks. If I can use the DVD-R disks to backup all my data that would be a great temporary solution! Is this possible? Will all data types store properly on DVD-R and be readable and transferable to other computers etc? Also, not sure how DVD+R, DVD-R and DVD-RAM differ and if that is at all relevant to my goals for data storage so please advise while I also do some reading on my own.

THANKS FOR ANY HELP!

#2 KnowShtuff

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 02:29 PM

DivShare is difficult to determine specifications for. The only specs I see for the free version of the site is that it says you can upload 5 files at a time and each files can be up to 200MB. This blogger says they claim unlimited storage: http://blogs.adventn...online-storage/ . 200MB is largest file limit I've seen yet, but I'd really like to just upload the 13.5 GB folder at once if possible. Also, it looks like you may not be able to direct link and share anything unless you use their pay "direct" service, but not sure.

MediaFire says 100MB file limit and unlimited storage and also has some nice public and private direct linking features.

http://www.mediamax.com/index.aspx has 25GB free storage, 10MB file limit, 1GB/month bandwidth.

http://onlinestorage.nildram.net/ is another version of that 123-reg site mentioned in my opening post. I see, http://www.Humyo.com is the main storage site and not sure why these other offspring sites exist. Maybe they have some sort of private franchise model.
Humyo looks great and says it has unlimited storage for all file types but gives no specs on file size limit.

Still looking around. Please advise on sites and disks as mentioned in first post!

#3 KnowShtuff

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 02:58 PM

Emailed Humyo and DivShare about more of their specs.

#4 Alk3

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 02:59 PM

Why dont you just buy an external usb hard drive? Hard drives are cheaper and you also know where the data is. You dont have to worry about someone else having access to your data... If you are looking for a good (secure, fast, worthwhile) remote storage server, then you will most likely have to pay the same ammount for the server as the hard drive.... if not more. (and the payment isnt just a one time payment, it is recuring.) 50$ gets you a decent ammount of space in GB's. You also can secure the data more easily, like with hard drive encryption.

Just my opinion.

http://www.tigerdire...a...136|&Sort=4

Edited by Alk3, 02 September 2007 - 02:59 PM.


#5 KnowShtuff

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 03:12 PM

Thanks for the reply, Alk3.

I'm really looking for something I can start using fast and don't need to have shipped to my home. So far, when looking at local store sites like BestBuy, Circuit City, OfficeDepot, OfficeMax etc I did not notice any cheaper external hard drives than about 100$ and that is just much more than I am willing to pay right now. 50$ for 100GB Seagate drive as seen in your link is much more reasonable and thus worth considering, but still a bit high and still another piece of hardware that can be ruined and is less mobile than the web. Still, looks like that is a more user friendly option than discs, unless I really want to save as much money as possible.

I'll think about it, for sure; and look back at some other those sites to see if I missed cheaper drives.

So, those drives you linked to just plug in by USB port and quickly accept files like your internal hard drive, eh? Just need to make sure I have a USB cord too if I go that route, as some of them do not seem to come with USB cables.

Still, if I could use these DVD-R discs that would be my quickest solution for offline backup. Do you know if these DVD-R discs will accept all media types for backup? That was one of my questions.

Other than that, if you look at the free online servers I'm finding it looks like there is good hope for a workable solution there. Plus, this is great for mobility and some of those sites even backup all the files you upload with their resources as well. I think if anyone wants to get serious about backups, they should be as mobile as possible and backed up in more than one way. Plus, there are SOME things that I would like to be able to share with others as well, so it would be nice to have a backup and sharing/hosting site in the same spot. So far the MediaFire site is the only one that sticks out in my head for public and private sharing options.

All help is appreciated!

Edited by KnowShtuff, 02 September 2007 - 03:14 PM.


#6 KnowShtuff

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 03:16 PM

Anyone know how to quicly backup all of the email stored in Outlook Express? Can the organization of it be kept in the process?

#7 KnowShtuff

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 03:33 PM

Just found that the cheapest, adequate capacity, external hard drive I see at BestBuy is also the largest because it is on sale. 320GB! Also comes with USB cable. Still, more than I'd prefer to spend at 80$. Tempting though!http://www.bestbuy.c...d=1164157591202 . Usually 130$. Plus, I still want to find online options too!

Cheapest at Circuit City is 65$ for 100GB Maxtor. May as well go 15$ more for 320GB if I were to go this route instead of discs, though.

Edited by KnowShtuff, 02 September 2007 - 03:38 PM.


#8 KnowShtuff

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 03:45 PM

Really going to try to steer away from external hard drive at the moment simply due to cost.

I'd really appreciate it if anyone would answer the basic questions about System Restore reliability and efficiency, and if my DVD-R disks will store all kinds of data properly or if I can only use CDs or only DVD+R or DVD-RAM discs etc. I'd expect that some of you can easily answer those questions.

#9 Alk3

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 04:15 PM

Really going to try to steer away from external hard drive at the moment simply due to cost.

I'd really appreciate it if anyone would answer the basic questions about System Restore reliability and efficiency, and if my DVD-R disks will store all kinds of data properly or if I can only use CDs or only DVD+R or DVD-RAM discs etc. I'd expect that some of you can easily answer those questions.


System restore in Windows isnt meant to restore your data, just the system. I am not all that familiar with it, as I used to just back up my data and keep a ghost of my Windows operating system. More reliable than relying on MS to keep my data safe.

DVD+R discs are large, but not rewritable. SO it would be a one time backup, and those discs can get expensive.

DVD-RAM is a good option, but not as fast as a external hard drive would be. BUT, you need to first check to see if your DVD-ROM drive supports DVD-RAM discs. Some do not.

I know what you mean about having free internet based backup solutions. It is a good idea. However, I wouldnt suggest that you keep sensitive data on those servers. They are not as obligated to you as a company that you are paying to keep your data safe. It can also be a problem if you have a slow internet connection in some places, and if you simply do not have an internet connection. I also wouldnt recommend transfering sesitive data over open networks (unsecured wifi, school networks, library networks, @ public networks) because it can be intercepted with various types of attacks and then forwarded to you.... without you even knowing it had happened.

I suggested an external drive, because most come as a firewire or usb connection (and the do come with the cords).. you can also get an adapter called an IDE to USB connector... which is good if you end up wanting to use the external hard drive as an internal drive (in the long run, and you wont be restricted)

Not only the versatility of how the drive can be used, but also you will have the same transfer speeds EVERY time you backup. You can also control the safety of the data.. much more thoroughly. ie Encryption.

As much as you think an external drive is large in size, you can get ones that are actually quite small. I would say that $50 bucks is worth spending to keep your data available... /and/ safe. (Unless you buy your own hosting plan for network backups and such... then it is up to that company to keep your data safe.)

This is just my opinion.

#10 KnowShtuff

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 04:46 PM

Thanks again, Alk3.

I thought System Restore returned your computer back to the exact state is was in at a previous date that it has archived, including files that were on the computer? I was just curious about how reliable it is. But, now you seem to be saying it won't help to restore deleted files. Maybe I need to do more reading. Just busy.

I'm really not disagreeing with your advice at all, but the price and mobility are reasons I am not jumping on it right now. Plus, it can be broken just like my computer can, by being dropped, burnt, crushed, etc ... and of course lost. List goes on, but not a bad idea just not ideal for me at the moment.

You mentioned DVD+R and DVD-RAM, but you did not mention DVD-R. I have over 200GB of DVD-R right here, in somewhere around (50) 4.7GB discs; I just don't know if they will store all files properly and prefer asking while reading up on all other options before I try to transfer 13.5 GB and find out that it is all corrupted/unreadable on the disk or untransferable from it etc. Do you know if the DVD-Rs will PROPERLY store all types of files?

Not sure how to find if my DVD drive supports DVD-RAM. Still not sure of the differences between DVD-R, DVD+R and DVD-RAM but I'm sure a few quick searched would help. I'm just busy doing other stuff at the moment.

#11 KnowShtuff

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 05:08 PM

Hmmm. Considering using http://www.sendyourfiles.com in conjunction with a large storage email client like GMail, Yahoo (now unlimited though I hear putting limits like 10MB per attachment), Inbox etc. It's a service that seems to let you send 10GB files to ANY email and lets the receiver download some or all of any files that may be in a 10GB folder file. I only have an 80GB hard drive so in theory 8 emails could store everything. Maybe this would be a good temporary, mobile, web based backup method.

Thoughts?

#12 KnowShtuff

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 05:16 PM

Whoa. SendYourFiles is pretty cool. Looks like that combined with MediaFire and probably an Inbox.com account (5gb free AND they do not close your account after any time like Google and Yahoo) may be all the solution I need for web based for now.

Some more from SendYourFiles:

SendYourFiles uses advanced encryption and built-in antivirus
technology to ensure that your files are safe. All transfers are
secured using 128bits SSL encryption.

Both using the SendYourFiles web mail or desktop software you can protect the e-mails you sent with a password. Just enter the password you want to use and the recipient must provide the password before being able to download the
files.

The dropbox is your own branded page where you can receive files from anyone you want. The sender does not have to install any software and can send up to 2GB of data in a single e-mail. You receive an e-mail with a link to the files that have been sent to you.

Usage statistics
Real time statistics about amount of data a user sends and
receives within any given time frame.

Multiple users
Allow everyone in your company or group to share one account.

Track file downloads
Whenever a recipient downloads the files you have sent, you receive a download confirmation e-mail from SendYourFiles. This way you always know if and when your files have been collected.

Enable your software to send large files
SendYourFiles offers a flexible developer API that provides a smooth integration into web based or windows based software. Click here to request more information about the API.


Edited by KnowShtuff, 02 September 2007 - 05:17 PM.


#13 KnowShtuff

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 05:19 PM

Still want to know more about the DVD-R discs! I'll be sure to do some more reading on my own. But Im juggling computer work, business work and yard work with a stomach growling at me to cook some food and a schedule demanding I not stay up too late .... so if you could provide any insight that will save me time then I appreciate it!

#14 kingospam

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 05:47 PM

http://www.bestbuy.c...mp;type=product

The FreeAgent product from Seagate cost me $75 USD at BestBuy. 250 gigs for $75 isn't bad at all.

#15 KnowShtuff

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 06:24 PM

Yeah, king, I'm considering. For 5$ more I could get the 320GB one .... or 70 extra GB for 5$ ... thanks to the sale. Like I said: tempting!

Looks like I found how to backup outlook: http://www.freebits....ackoutlook.html

Still need to learn about DVD-R and data storage compatibility.

Edited by KnowShtuff, 02 September 2007 - 06:25 PM.


#16 xGERMx

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 10:38 PM

check out Mozy Online Backup

as for backing up outlook, go to File, import/export and export the folders you want to save.

#17 KnowShtuff

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 07:42 AM

Thanks xGERMx. Mozy is also recommended by MediaFire, one of the free unlimited hosts that I found though the "free unlimited online storage" google query. In the MediaFire support/FAQ archive, they distinguish themselves as a file host from a backup services and suggest that while their service could be used for backup and for not they do not intend to delete anyone's files ever, it was not intended for backup and they recommend Mozy. I noticed that a few of the other good results I found from that query looks like some may be distinguished more as hosts that COULD be used for backup but really aren't designed for it. One less than ideal thing with mozy is, it's still 60$ per year for unlimited backup while their free backup is limited to 2GB. I also noticed the somewhat cool feature that it seems to be "set it and forget it software" that is a running process in the background, like Anti Virus, which is constantly backing files up; but this is a bit of a concern to have a constantly running process eating away at my memory and if you saw my first thread on this forum in August then you'll know why that is a concern for me.

With this in mind, I just initiated a new google query: "free unlimited backup". http://www.google.co.....mited backup" . I'll get to looking. First result is talking about Mozy in a blog and the 8th comment, posted on August 21st 2007, recommends http://www.zoogmo.com from free unlimited backup (and of course the comment is by the Zoogmo admin as is easy to discover when looking at the first zoogmo vid). Some videos on their site explaining it. But, at a glance it looks like another software download intended to be a constant running process that allows you to select which servers to backup to, like your friends' computers, but for some reason I'd rather backup on a strangers server like many of the third party hosts I've found than a friend's so I'll keep looking. Though, this could help to easily backup data to other computers of my own.

How come nobody has told me whether or not my DVD-R discs are going to be able to properly store all file types? ;)

More reading to do.... :roll:

Edited by KnowShtuff, 03 September 2007 - 07:45 AM.


#18 KnowShtuff

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 11:32 AM

So it looks like a DVD-R is often used for cheap backups, so I guess it can store all types of files properly. However, brain-farting-me recalled that the reason why I still have these discs may be because I never got a drive to record anything with them.

I only have a CD-RW drive and a DVD-ROM drive. So, would you please confirm to brain-fart-me whether or not either of these drives are even capable of burning the data to my DVD-R discs?

As I recall, neither are capable. As I recall, the CD-RW can read and write/burn and the DVD-ROM can only read DVD formats, not burn, regardless of what software you have. Could it be that for data storage, though, and with advances in software, that there is some way to use one of the drives to properly backup data to the DVD-R discs? Seems like a stretch for the latter, but have to ask.

Still some decent online solutions.

#19 Alk3

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Posted 05 September 2007 - 11:39 AM

I suggest you find out what exact specifications your CD/DVD drive entails. This will then point you to what kinds of media you can use to back up your files.

#20 xGERMx

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Posted 05 September 2007 - 03:22 PM

How come nobody has told me whether or not my DVD-R discs are going to be able to properly store all file types? wink.gif


You need a DVD-RW or DVD+RW drive to burn dvds.

Not CR-RW or DVD-ROM.

Hope that clears some things up.




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