What's a good back-up strategy for 1 desktop PC?




Last Updated October 11, 2016 09:00 AM

No, this is not a comparison of back-up tools, nor is it a solicitation on What to backup or Why and only a little bit about Where to backup and When to do it.

This is basically a strategy question: what, where and when all together. "How" is not really relevant: there are tons of back-up programs out there and they all do the same basic thing: make copies of data.

But the real question is: are these back-up programs making copies of the data important to you? How should you install&run Ubuntu while safeguarding your data?

There is no "one size fits all" when it comes to computers, Ubuntu versions or a backup strategy, therefore I've split this up into 5 basic user types with each their own answer:

I don't have a computer! My computer doesn't contain my life... My computer contains my life! My computer IS my life! (or you're running in UEFI mode!)

And as the above does not fit everyone, one...

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5. I want the fastest possible restore!

If speed of recovery and having everything exactly the way it was when you backed up is more important than the space the backup contains

you can backup every drive using




to create image file(s). Place the image file(s) on a drive that is large enough to contain everything. Note that you will need enough room to save EVERY sector of the drive(s) you are backing up, not just the space used. You can determine the full size of a drive and it's devicename with the terminal command

sudo fdisk -l

or the Disks (Disk Utility) application.


A. Whenever you've done more than you care to do over since the last backup
and / or
B. Prior to upgrading your system to a new version


External USB drive(s) or better: internal/external SATA/SCSI/Fibre Optic drives.


All the commands used here (with the exception of mentioned applications like Disks,...

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In a recent Backblaze survey, 54% of people said they either know someone, or have themselves recently lost data. Most of those surveyed were individuals. If you consider how many businesses have hardware that gets lost or stolen each year as well, the total amount of hardware lost each year is staggering.

Additionally, the study concluded that even with those losses, out of all the companies polled, “two-thirds do not take advantage of even basic security practices, such as encryption, backup and anti-theft technologies.” While Backblaze can’t help with computer encryption or anti-theft technologies (though we can locate a computer), we can help with backup, and that’s what I’m going to focus on today.

What is a 3-2-1 Backup Strategy?

A 3-2-1 strategy means having at least 3 total copies of your data, 2 of which are local but on different mediums (read: devices), and at least 1 copy offsite. We’ll use “kitten.jpg” as an example for this scenario....

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I have a software RAID setup on my home file server, which willhas protected everything (including important documents, photos, and music) from a hard drive failure.

For the photos, I also upload them all to Flickr, and important documents are encrypted, and uploaded to Amazon S3 nightly. This way, if something catastrophic happens to my apartment (fire, breakin, etc.), the irreplaceable things will be safe. The music will be lost, but I can live with that (I hardly ever listen to it any more anyway, since Pandora is so great).

The S3 backup is performed using Duplicity, which runs from a cron job.

I would strongly recommend encrypting any important documents before sending to an offsite facility that you don't control (including S3, Dropbox, etc.). You don't want your bank statements or scanned identity documents to be accessible to even the administrators of the...

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So folder redirection as haultj suggested would work well so that your users save their work directly on the server instead of locally on their PCs. Once you've got your DC running you can set this up via GP. In the meantime you can create a network share on the server where users can save their files.

One thing to keep in mind with your plan is to make sure your MS licensing includes the ability to create that golden image. You'll need at least one VL Win 7 license in order to do this for Windows and assuming similar for Office.

If you're looking for something that's free, you can use Veeam Endpoint Backup to do either a full image backup of each device to your server or do file level backup (much like a CrashPlan would do). This is totally free to use.

As for your server backup, you'll need to have somewhere to save its backup to. Either a NAS or external drive, and you'll want to make sure you have a copy of your server backup that's kept offsite as well...

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1. Install and Update your Antivirus software

HP's Customer Care Web site regularly provides important updates, information and tips on computer viruses, worms, and hoaxes.

2. Install and update spyware detection/removal software

The best way to stop spyware from sabotaging your PC is to install and use InterMute’s SpySubtract. As with your Antivirus software, it is important to keep up with the most recent updates of your spyware detection and removal software. For more information visit the PC Security Center.

3. Update your software and drivers

Avoid problems, add functionality, and improve system performance by checking to see if you have the most current software and drivers installed.

Defragmenting your hard drive is not as hard as it sounds and improves your...

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External Backup Drive

You can also use an external hard drive to create an archive of your changed and deleted files. An archive is different from a clone in a few ways: first, it isn’t meant to be a bootable backup; second, it isn’t limited to a "snapshot" of your entire drive at one point in time. Instead, it creates incremental backups, which keep up with you as you work.

External drive backups are mainly intended to provide a backup of your personal files, especially irreplaceable things like pictures. Instead of looking at your entire hard drive, this type of backup only looks at certain folders, such as your home directory. The archive part of this type of backup means that if files are on your primary hard drive are changed (or even deleted) you can go back to undo the changes and even recover those deleted files. If your computer dies you can simply plug the external backup drive into a different computer and immediately have access to all of your files, as...

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With the rise in popularity of laptop notebooks over the past decade or so, desktop computers have become less of a must-have for consumers. However, a nice desktop PC can make all the difference: it typically has more space to store larger files such as music and movies, and is a perfect solution for ensuring all of your laptop files and data have a safe place to be backed up in. If your laptop has ever been infected with a nasty virus, adware or a Trojan, you probably understand the importance of having a good alternative when you are unable to access your notebook. An added benefit for purchasing a Desktop is that prices have drastically dropped over the years due to the “supply and demand” economics from laptop’s increased popularity.If you’ve ever asked the question, “What are the best desktop computer brands?” you’ve definitely come to the right place; this list includes the top brands for desktop computers, such as: Dell, Apple, IBM, Intel Corporation, Hewlett-Packard,...

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System Manufacturer/Model Number HP Pavilion p6795a
OS windows 7 64 bit
CPU intel core i5 3.30GHz Quad Core
Motherboard HP
Memory 6gb
Graphics Card AMD RADEON HD 6450 1GB Dedicated
Monitor(s) Displays LG
Screen Resolution 16:9 Hd

Keyboard Wireless
Mouse HP wireless keyboard and mouse
Cooling Fan
Hard Drives 1TB
Internet Speed fast enough
Other Info Beast Of A Machine!

Computer type PC/Desktop
System Manufacturer/Model Number Lenovo IdeaCenter 450
OS Windows 10 Pro X64
CPU Intel Quad Core i7-4770 @ 3.4Ghz
Memory 16.0GB PC3-12800 DDR3 SDRAM 1600 MHz
Graphics Card Intel Integrated HD Graphics
Sound Card Realtek HD Audio
Monitor(s) Displays HP 22" LCD
Screen Resolution 1680 x 1050

Keyboard Dell USB
Mouse Lenovo USB
Hard Drives 250GB Samsung EVO SATA-3...

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In the past I have always separated system files from user data, in order to back up each appropriately. So I'd partition my hard drive and go through the exercises moving my user directories onto D: . Then I'd take a full image of my C partition once or twice a month and incremental images of D: daily. I'd save enough image files that I could roll the OS back a couple of months. And the incrementals of the user data served as version history.

Then I got my surface pro 3 and it all seemed like too much unpaid IT labor ;) Besides I wanted to try the windows file history thing for versioning.

But I wanted to keep the imaging software I was using (Easeus) because it let me explore and copy files from the image file, whereas windows backup produced an opaque file. So I imaged the whole disk every couple of weeks and used FileHistory for versioning.

Then I contemplated rolling back windows, and realized I would also be rolling back my user files, and FileHistory...

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The world runs on Windows. More businesses run on the Windows platform than any others combined. Any Windows veteran can tell you that you’re going to run into problems that will require you to rebuild your PC at some point, and that is why having a backup is important. In this article we will talk about what you need to know to develop a good backup strategy and ensure your data is available when you need it.

Now, before we get going too far down the road, you probably want to first read about what Windows System Restore can and cannot do for your PC. System Restore is the precursor to the recovery process built into Windows 8.x and Windows 10. Understanding its beginnings may give your system recovery efforts a better chance at success.

Note: reducing worry and stress due to a dead or dying computer or hard drive is all about preparation. If you understand that you will surely need to rely on some sort of backup strategy and restore plan, then you’re halfway...

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A friend has asked me for help in setting up a backup strategy for her computer. I am way out of date on the best practices in this area. It's a desktop computer currently running Windows 7 but she wants to bring it up to date with Windows 10 so I'm looking for a good backup strategy once we've done the upgrade.

I think the big question is what should be backed up and what shouldn't. We obviously need to do backups of her user data - she says she has lots of recipes and photographs - and they are presumably getting updated regularly in the form of new photos and recipes so I imagine we'd want a full backup of those at intervals with incremental backups in between full backups. What else should she back up to handle any reasonable contingency, including Windows crashes, hardware failures, etc.?

I realize this is a complex topic and would be quite content to be directed to a good, up-to-date...

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I would like to find a backup strategy that would make it easy for a user to recover any necessary files.

I would also like to be able to recover to bare metal if necessary.

What backup strategy should I use to accomplish this?

One economical approach that I can think of is to use ntbackup to do a full backup and on a regular basis do a differential backup.

In the event of a total wipe out, I would reinstall the operating system and then do a full restore of the Ntbackup backup.

Is there some product that would account for the changes that might happen in case a new machine is necessary with the same operating system so that the new and different system settings would not be...

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We all know we're supposed to back up our data. We could go so far as to say that a backup of digital data is essential to a person's well-being and peace of mind. (One copy of a file on your computer does not a backup make. Redundancy, people, redundancy.)

Just look at these stats directly from WorldBackupDay.com—the big day is Friday, March 31—presented video style:

That's millions of people, making quadrillions of files ever year (there will be 1.2 trillion digital photos taken in 2017 alone), with a big risk of losing all that work.

Why do so many people still not bother to back up? Even after losing an important document, irreplaceable photo, or entire sets of financial records, some still don't take the time. Perhaps it's because backing up takes some effort. In the past, it's been overly complicated. Now, thanks to new software, hardware, and services, it's easier than ever. Here's a quick look at the types of backup available, as well as the tools...

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For photos and videos you can use iCloud Photo Library to keep them in sync on all 3 devices. See the following for more information: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204264

Note that this is a sync strategy and not a backup strategy -- if you accidentally delete a photo from any device it will automatically delete from all devices and iCloud and if you don't notice within 30 days you will not have a way to recover it.

However, if you are backing up your Mac (to an external usb drive for example) and you have iCloud Photo Library set in Photos Preferences on the Mac to "Download Originals to this Mac" and your Mac backup includes the photos then you will have a backup in addition to having the photos sync to the other...

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Buying a desktop computer becomes easier if the purchaser knows exactly what they want to use it for. The best tips for purchasing a PC include looking at the specifications of the machine, the operating system, the factory installed software and the tasks that the user expects to get out of it. For example, a buyer who wants a computer to play games on and do some basic word processing may look at some different factors than a person who needs a business computer that can edit video applications and perform accounting procedures.

The first thing to look at when buying a desktop computer is the specifications. The speed of a computer is often important if the user wants to be able to run multiple programs at the same time. This is expressed as a number in GHz (gigahertz). The higher this number is, the faster the computer will run. Most mid-range computers have a processor speed between 2.3 and 2.5 GHz. Memory and RAM are the next things a buyer will often look at. If a PC...

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Wayne Watson asked for advice about backing up his PC.

First I’ll give you six great reasons to back up your PC: Hardware failure (especially your hard drive or SSD). Ransomware. Theft. Fire. Flood. User error (probably the most common).

Next, I’ll give you an easy, three-item checklist for backing up said PC.

They’re steps well worth taking. Answer Line gets emails every day from people desperate to recover lost files. The ones who backed up didn’t bother to write.

[Have a tech question? Send your query to answer@pcworld.com.]

Back up your data files. That’s your first priority. Data files include documents, spreadsheets, photos, songs, videos, and email. In terms of locations on your hard drive, that means your library folders, appdata, and maybe your desktop. You can find more information in our how-to on backing up for free.

1. Choose cloud backup vs. external backup

I recommend backing up these files to either an...

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hatuko wrote:

And you? What kind of strategy do you have?

Well, I do not have a high amount of resources then I do the best I can.

What I do is simply:

1.Backup everything I have every now and then (every 2 months and above). This includes all folders in my "/home", post installation scripts, and some few selected hidden configuration folders.

2.Backup critical files every week or so, depending on amount of work done, everyday, as we never know when tragedy occurs... I call it critical because it is the fruit of hours of hard work or they contain information that is very important and are updated very often (e.g. passwords database).

3.The critical backups are stored in google drive if possible, my upload rate is limited at 50kB/s then I cannot upload too much without waiting long. And I keep them in a flash drive too.

4.The long term backups are all burned to DVD discs. In my experience DVDs are pretty reliable for long term storage (5-10...

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To make sure you never lose essential data, consider implementing a 3-2-1 back-up approach:

You need to have 3 copies of your data. That means that next to the original file, there must be two backup copies. The original files and one set of backup data can reside at the same location but they must be stored on 2 different media. This means you should not store a backup of a disk on that same drive. If the drive dies, you lose both the original files and the backup! You must have 1 offsite set of backup data. This ensures that if a fire, theft or malware leads to the loss of the onsite data, there is still a spare copy at the other location. Many prefer a cloud based backup solution, like Carbonite, Crashplan or Backblaze. With these backup solutions, the data are stored in a datacenter, possibly in another state, country or continent. You can however also store hard drives with company data at home or keep a copy of data at your parent’s place.

There are a few other...

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Making sure you have a solid backup strategy for your Windows 10 computer is one of the most important tasks that few people remember to do. In earlier versions of Windows, its backup utilities left a lot to be desired, and a third-party backup program was usually your best bet.

However, Windows has evolved, and today Windows 10 has new built-in tools that make it simple to have backups of your photos, documents, and other sensitive data.

Set Up File History in Windows 10

File History is a feature first introduced in Windows 8 and is similar to Apple’s Time Machine in OS X. It’s the perfect choice if you want to ensure that files you often make changes to like spreadsheets and Word documents are backed up regularly.

File History monitors the files in your folder for changes and automatically backs them up when they are modified. It’s turned off by default, but it takes just a click to flip it on and to configure it is easy, too.

To use it, you’ll...

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A UPS is certainly a good solution for unexpected/unintended loss of power. And, as Tristan pointed out, there is a CMOS battery on the motherboard to maintain some amount of power required for volatile components.

But to me, the question seems to be asking about using something like 9V batteries. Here, we run into issues of cost and reliability that Gautam touched on briefly. Sure, there is the cost of the technology that would go into operating a computer on batteries, but that is nothing compared to cost incurred from the batteries themselves.

Let's take a Duracell 9V battery as an example to try and power your desktop computer and say we can buy batteries at $2 each [1]. Now the question is how much power does your computer need? Here, let's assume a fairly mainstream desktop the would normally have a 200W power supply (noting that some gaming computers easily reach 1kW PSUs) and that our desktop and monitor take about 1A of current to operate. So how much power do we get...

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The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

Pexels/Business Insider

The Insider Pick:

A desktop computer can be more powerful than a laptop and offer more connectivity options for use at home or in your office. The best desktop you can buy is the Dell XPS Tower, thanks to its varied processor options, reasonable price, and many ports.

Computer components have gotten smaller and more powerful, and laptops have become increasingly popular as a main computer for most people. That, of course, does not mean there isn’t a place for a great desktop computer in your home or office.

After all, while laptops are perfectly capable of handling most tasks, some people just need a little extra oomph. For example, gamers need to be able to run high-performance games, video audio editors need powerful processing to work with high-resolution...

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Data is now everywhere and we store pretty much everything as data. Contacts, diaries, music, photographs, videos, conversations, business records, everything is data. In fact more and more people are shredding the paper copies of everything they have and going digital with scanned copies of important documents being much easier to store. Unfortunately this also makes this data and information much easier to lose!

In this multi-part article I'm going to look at best-practice strategies for backing up your important files and documents. I want to start with the home and begin this part by looking at some of the devices we now have our data stored on. In years gone by it was just an Internet-connected PC on which you stored information. Now however we have laptops, netbooks, tablets and smartphones. All of these devices have personal data on them.

Now it's not always easy to back data up on tablets and smartphones, though some services such as HP's TouchPad do back your...

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Windows 10 is already running on approximately 100 million devices.

As Microsoft is offering Windows 10 as a free upgrade for users from the decent but old Windows 7, and the badly implemented and generally disliked Windows 8, consumers have been taking the opportunity to move to the new, continuous-delivery version of Windows – the last that Microsoft will provide a number to. From now on, new functionality will be added at regular intervals, downloaded at the same time as the regular patches.

For businesses, this raises a few issues. The end of life of the Windows XP operating system (OS) has been much discussed, with those still using it finding support increasingly expensive – and open to security risks and a lack of a native, up-to-date browser. Organisations on Windows 7 and 8 are wondering whether the licence cost, (Windows 10 is not free to businesses, but is covered under volume licences supporting upgrades), and the business cost, (the upgrade work,...

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Time Machine is Apple's backup solution, included in OS X. An external drive is required. It backs up changed files every hour, and stores as many "snapshots" as it can hold. After the initial full backup, it only stores changes to files, which makes things more efficient, and allows for more granular snapshots. In addition to being able to do a full system restore, you can selectively restore older versions of specific files, which is handy in case you delete or make changes you didn't mean to.

Using Time Machine on OS X 10.7 and later also enables "local snapshots", which keeps snapshots of changed files on your main drive when you don't have your backup drive attached, provided there's sufficient space. Obviously this doesn't help if you have a drive failure, but in the case of accidental deletions, etc. it can be helpful.

For more information, Apple's Mac 101: Time Machine article is a good starting point.

If you're on the go a lot, you may want to consider...

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In the past few months I’ve been flooded with emails from people looking to migrate away from Neat Desktop for their receipts and document scanning and organization.

When you get one or two emails on a subject you assume it’s a coincidence. When it becomes dozens of messages, it’s time to see what is going on.

Neat Desktop Is Being Discontinued

Neat is getting out of the desktop software game, and that seems to have many people heading for the door.

Here is what they say in their support note:

Effective immediately, Neat will no longer continue developing feature enhancements, updates, and/or bug fixes for the versions of Neat desktop software listed below:

Windows – Neat version 5.7 and all previous versions Mac – Neat for Mac version 4.5 and all previous versions

Neat has been developing their cloud system for quite some time, but until this year you have been able to continue using Neat on the desktop. Now they are pushing everyone to...

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