How-To Geek

Ask the Readers: How Do You Backup Your Data?

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Data loss is serious—and tragic—business. This week we want to hear about your data backup strategies and how you ensure that your data stays safe, secure, and ready to be resurrected should the Binary Reaper strike.

It isn’t a matter of if you’ll lose data but when. All storage media, be it optical, magnetic, or solid-state, degrades in quality and eventually fails. A proper data backup strategy is the only defense we have against the inevitability of media failure. This week we want to hear all about your backup strategies. Do you use only local backup? Local and cloud-based backup? Do you keep data off site? How often do you back up?

Sounds off in the comments and then check back on Friday for the What Your Said roundup.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 05/18/11

Comments (239)

  1. Hatryst

    I just ‘take care’ of my data

  2. donaldum

    Buy a Seagate product….no fuss in installation…works good…
    Price…on sale about $100.00 Well worth it

  3. Spotpuff

    I’ve had over half my hard drives die “early” on me (<3 years, many DOA) so I'm paranoid about it. I run a 2TB RAID 1 with a 2TB external for backup.

    System is imaged every week and I back everything up to the external… I always look at RAID 5 solutions, cringe, hug my wallet, and stick to RAID 1.

  4. Chronno S. Trigger

    Automatic synchronizing software and two sets of hard drives. Won’t save me from something like my house burning down, but it’s already saved me from a hard drive crash.

    The really important stuff in in my dropbox (encrypted with Trucrypt) where it gets copied to four different locations.

    For the business related stuff, I have multiple backups going back 5 days. Oddly, that’s being done by a .bat file (that has worked better then my syncing software at home).

  5. Keith

    Dropbox (with certain filed encrypted with truecrypt) and an external 1TB hard drive.

  6. Thalley

    For important files I back all of those up in the cloud. For games and media I have an external harddrive from Samsung. However, I keep the same(almost) data on my desktop computer as well, should one of them fail.

  7. Wrocky

    Windows Home Server saves the day (and maybe my marriage too). Now, I just have to remember to have an offsite copy of that, just in case something happens at home: fire, theft, flood, hurricane,

  8. bemymonkey

    Important stuff (Documents, work/uni stuff… less than 10GB in all): Dropbox with local nightly versioning (with the last 10 full copies being kept) backup.

    Media: Local backup.

  9. Richard

    rsync to external harddrive

  10. Joealex

    1 TB external every 4-5 days, plus Carbonite.

  11. BirchSama

    For small files dropbox, for bigger ones spare HDDs I suppose.

  12. horizonguy

    I use several methods: 1. I do monthly backups of my data files (for clients) to an external hard drive using MS SyncToy 2. I use Dropbox to keep another mirror of those files. 3. I use Macrium Reflect every month or so to image my drives from 3 PC’s to one large 2TB external drive. 4. I keep a full set of portable apps on Dropbox, but occasionally will copy those onto a 1GB thumb drive too so I have the latest stuff ready if I’m on the go. I try to have my important stuff in 2 places in addition to my PC hard drives.

  13. jdDurrett

    Redundancy overkill is King!!
    Carbonite & Dropbox for offsite real-time backup of volatile self generated data (spreadsheets, docs, pics, etc)
    WHS for complete overnight backup
    Multiple computers, multiple external & internal disks for periodic (at least weekly) copies of data
    Acronis to image main computes’ C-Drives (unto D-Drives and cross-copied to E-Drives)

  14. Jake T

    I use EASEUS Todo Backup to create disk images on my 1TB external drive.

  15. Jason

    Right now, I just have an image run on my laptop on a weekly basis. Given that is only one of 6 computers in the house, that’s not very smart. I am planning to implement CrashPlan soon.

  16. jdDurrett

    use syncback pro to automate most of work!

  17. mrh61988

    Yup, I use EASEUS Todo Backup to backup my files twice a week and then a whole disk image once a month.

  18. Noah Doersing

    Have an 2.5 inch USB 500GB external hard disk thing (WD Elements), it works pretty well. I use it for backups and as a video/audio/things storage. Additionally, I have a 1TB internal hard drive which I use as an external one where I backup all the data from the first disk.

    Planning to sell the internal 1TB disk and to buy two external 1TB disks.

  19. SteveO

    weekly image placed on external drive using Truecrypt full drive encryption – disk is taken offsite
    daily backups automatically to SpiderOak (like dropbox only secure and just works better)

  20. Brodiemac

    1) Sync between my laptop and desktop
    2) Carbonite on my desktop

  21. Franco

    I have an external drive…there, i will buy a pendrive :P

  22. Nolan

    I use two 1TB external HDDs. One is at my place and one is at my mom’s. Every month or so we’ll swap drives. I don’t generate much new data so I’m not on a set schedule for running backups in between. To handle the actual backup process I use Microsoft’s SyncToy with a set of folder pairs for each drive and create an image of my Windows partition, which doesn’t have data or games on it, with the Windows 7 backup utility. I also use Dropbox for some of the smaller, more important stuff.

  23. krunk fu

    I use Mozy Home Free, I am up to 5 GB off referrals. That does all documents and photos I never want to lose, in case of a fire of something. Then I use CrashPlan to backup to a local disk. Mozy runs 3 times daily, CrashPlan nightly. Also a lot of stuff is in DropBox and I keep documents in GMail too.

  24. deviator

    @Donaldum “Buy a Seagat product” … DON’T buy a Seagate product.

    I own a Blackarmor 220 and the difference between FTP transfer (~80MByte/sec read, 22 MByte/sec write) and Windows file transfer (~20 MByte/sec both directions) is horrible. With one of the latter firmware releases they switched of passive FTP for the NAS, so you need to control the NAS with active FTP, which, in my understanding, is hard to route (e.g. no NAS server via Internet, Windows explorer needs to be re-configured which then doesn’t work with internet FTPs any more).

    Support just closed the ticket regarding FTP without comment.

  25. Seasider2

    Why bother? One big EM pulse and all the electronic data in the world will be gone.

  26. toastiejoe

    Windows Home Server + Carbonite + occasional image to USB drive. As close as I can get to one local, one remote and one on different media

  27. Nsh15

    WD External hard disk =)

  28. QuaCKeReD

    Machine data (documents etc);
    Offsite backup via crashplan
    Sync between machines (and offsite) with Sugarsync

    Machine complete;
    SuperDuper clones monthly
    Time machine runs to NAS twice a day but that’s left as is

    NAS (media etc);
    Offsite via crashplan
    Onsite encrypted copy via crashplan

    Means I have at least two current copies of all documents, media files, etc along with unlimited versions of each file

    Paranoid? Nah…but better safe then sorry

  29. Luedd

    I use Carbonite

  30. xana452

    Theres a seperate HDD in my computer that doesnt spin up unless accessed. So thats good to go whenever mine dies. As for my personal stuff, I just to my good ol’ Flash Drive.

  31. 01nb

    Local backup to external via Time Machine.

    Cloud backup via CrashPlan.

    All automated and incremental. Approx 500gb of irreplaceable data, in a state of perpetual redundant bliss.

  32. LIsa

    1. Dropbox for all current projects

    2. Crashplan…cloud backup every 15 minutes

    3. Back up to external HDD every few days with Deja Dup (Ubuntu)

    I’ve had computers crash plenty of times, but haven’t lost any data.

  33. scoobertron

    I use cron and rsync to create hourly incremental snapshots over my home network to an external drive plugged into my server. An identical drive lives at my parents and gets switched over whenever I go home.

  34. Bart B.

    I use Online Data Savers (
    And yes – I am part owner.

  35. Howard

    I image my C drive in full once a month with weekly incrementals to a 2nd partion … once or twice a month or when convineinet , I move the recent copies off to an external USB drive.

    I also do hourly updates of some important folders to the cloud.

  36. T Hendricks

    I use 2 external hard drives. One saves a system image of my hard drive, the other backs up all media files from various drives (my hard drive and 2 other external drives).

  37. KB Prez

    I am VERY PARANOID about losing data, so I run several different apps. I have a Clickfree device that’s set to run every 2 hours. I also use WinZip or Fastcopy for weekly backups to an external drive. And just in case my hard drive crashes, I run Acronis True Image 3 times a week. I LOVE Acronis. I’ve had to use it twice to restore my hard drive. It was pain-free and worked perfectly!

  38. Keith

    For now sugarSync is my favourite.Thinking a bought switching to CX after they get out of beta.They have 10gb free vs 5gb fo SugarSync.I use to backup on disk that was very time consuming and often lost things before I got around to backing up. I’m a big fan of cloud base apps for backing up things.I only use ons that can auto sync just in case they go out of business it will still be on my computer.

  39. shinigamibob

    My backup system is quite effective for me, and was basically free

    A relative gave me a laptop that he thought was dead, then went out and bought a new one. I tried fixing it, and all it was, was a bad RAM stick. I replaced the RAM module and instant free computer.

    I didn’t have any actual use for it, so I thought I might as well try using it as a server. I installed Fedora 14 on it, then installed Amahi Home Server.That now serves as my NAS and game server.

    Then recently, I installed Crashplan on the Fedora laptop. I have 6 total computers backing up to it at around 2 am when network traffic is low. This only works for my folding@home computers because they’re constantly turned on.

    For my more mission critical work, I have backups to the Server via CrashPlan every hour. This is only done on one computer because its the one that I use the most. I also have DropBox backing up my data on the fly for added security and file revisions.

    To further safeguard my data, I have my Video Editing rig backed up onto a RAID 5 array with a total space of about 8 TB. This is on an external RAID server so that its completely system independent.

    As for programs, I don’t really back those up, I just have a list of all the programs that I use and their serial keys. If something goes wrong, I can just reinstall those programs easily.

  40. Mike Hathaway

    Desktop TimeMachine to Second Internal Drive
    Same Desktop, Laptop, Server and all other family machines CrashPlan + To Drobo attached to server and CrashPlan + family plan to the cloud.
    All date exists on the initial machine, The Drobo backup drive attached to server and the crashplan + cloud service.

    Dreamhost (could be any shared host) account rsyncs every day to home server where it is backed up by crashplan +.

    The idea behind this setup is speed and lack of thought. All data exists in 3 places The machine the drobo and the cloud. Nothing requires intervention from anyone it all just runs in the background. And I can restore reasonably quickly any machine that fails, unless the house burns to the ground, then I will be paying crashplan money to fedex restore hard drives which in that case is the least of my problems.

  41. brenn13

    the cheapest and easiest way to backup is to burn all my stuffs on tons of dvd and gmail for all the important files.

  42. capuce

    Grsync to external harddrive.

  43. bobobano

    I use good old fashioned DVDs for the major stuff (old school files, profiles). I know its old fashioned but I like that the data is physical stored, and thus lasts alot longer than backing up on a HDD. That said I do have a backup HDD I put the same data onto once a week, I have never had any luck with the built in recovery points in Windows and its a cross platform protocol I can use.

  44. John

    I’m currently backing up all my files on an external WD 500 GB HDD every night. I’m glad I have windows 7 because the back up program seams so simple.

  45. Nick

    One backup drive in the PC, second in a “toaster” Thermaltake Esata housing. Every night Second Copy runs at shutdown and backs up data (documents, email) to both drives. Also run Second Copy after doing a bunch of work. Once every couple of weeks swap out the drive in the toaster with one I keep in an outbuilding, just in case the house burns down. Every 3-6 months I make a complete drive image with Windows 7 drive image, keep it in an outbuilding as well.

  46. Wayne

    Using Carbonite and Dropbox for data. Looking to add a 2TB Raid NAS solution that will provide some onsite backup and allow my daughter’s laptop to automatically backup when she connects to the network.

  47. Kent

    My desktop computer has dual mirrored 1 TB drives. I have a USB 1 TB backup drive and a dual mirrored 1 TB NAS. As long as the USB backup drive is off-site, I think I’m covered. But that’s 5 TB of storage covering 1 TB of data. :-)

  48. Adam

    Windows Computers -> WHS -> CrashPlan
    Linux Laptop -> CrashPlan

  49. Neil Sielski

    I have a 8Tb Drobo for my mac that I use for backup, all of my documents are also on google docs, photos are also on flickr, some things go to dropbox, and I also backup windows computers to my Window Home Server.

  50. Doug Barker

    8 HDD’s = 12TB storage.
    I have my server imaged three times a week, my htpc is imaged
    three times a week and two workstations are imaged 5 times a week.
    My music, movies, pictures and extremely important files are imaged on 2, 2 TB drives
    and kept off site in anti-static bags with anti desiccant in the bags. I don’t use the “Cloud”
    for anything. No need to have my personal info out in the world where it has been proven
    beyond a doubt that some one will hack into it!! Raid just doesn’t do it for me either.
    All forms of backup are susceptible to virus and malware infection. An image is, in my
    opinion, the safest, and the easiest to restore in the event of a catastrophe.

  51. Hjoranna

    Daily backups to a multi drive WHS, plus data manually copied to a NAS as well as one of 2 USB drives every few weeks.

    Also, pictures to Picasa/Flickr, documents to Google Docs, music to Amazon Cloud Drive.

  52. rp

    I just take an image of my good system anytime I add something significant…
    I place the image in 2 places: local and external drive.
    Restoring the image with Acronis is beautiful, effective, and easy.
    This takes care of my data, viruses, trojans, etc…

  53. MangaFalzy

    Local. Pay once for the drive, good to go. 1TB is good for me.

  54. Kingmaker

    I have a little HP nas that I backup my pictures and music to. Another WD portable hd to backup my C drive. I use Microsofts free synctoy to do the backups.

  55. Prashant

    Never did it…. Downloads the thing again if got lost … or get things uploaded on windows live….

  56. tjX

    Windows Backup and Restore all the way… :)

    A system image a month keeps data loss away!

    250 GB of pure hard disk awesomeness.

  57. cmcollins

    500 GB external hard drive for files, music, and photos and other assorted odds and ends like programs. Google docs/dropbox/windows skydrive as backups for files/documents/more important photos. Picasa web album, facebook, photobucket for most of the other photos. I can access just about anything I need on my phone, or my tab, or from any computer. If I happen to lose my external, or it crashes along with my laptops’s hard drive I still have access to my data. And, as a last resort, I save a clone of my laptop hard drive on 2 spare laptop hard drives, one in a safe place at home and one in a safe place at work. So, it would take the entire net going down, plus an act of nature or other disaster at home and at work all occurring at the same time for me to lose all of my data.

  58. Aaron

    Buffalo external HDD. I have yet to move to cloud. Perhaps I’m too scared I’ll fall off.

  59. Zamo

    I’m surprised nobody mentioned Bvckup up to this point — it’s from the creator of Hamachi and it’s in active development. You should also look into it at, , it’s a bit quirky since it’s still beta, with a big improvement (v2) around the corner. Main advantage: real-time and really blazing fast! I do a weekly backup on my WD 1TB external drive via eSATA. Have to think of an offsite backup as well, thanks everyone for the tips !

  60. Марфа

    ATIH and only ATIH

  61. LASERman

    External HDD in router hourly backup (Time Machine > Time Capsule)
    Occasional copy of Home folder on USB HDD.
    Important files copy on Cloud (iDisk > MobileMe)

  62. Antriksh

    For my school stuff, there’s Dropbox. I have about 4GB of space for free right now.

    For my photos and such, I use the good ol’ external-hard-drive-hidden-in-corner-of-house method.

  63. rOBzUC

    Free DriveImage XML with an external HDD. I still don’t trust the cloud.

  64. Matthew

    Any very important data I back up to the cloud (using Dropbox). However, my less important data (such as music and videos), I don’t back up. My hard drive recently died, so I now know how important it is to back up data (it’s sad when you lose around 400GB of software, music and videos).

  65. Bob

    I use CrashPlan to back up to their online services, and another copy to a friend (who uses me as their backup destination). Those run at least daily.

    I also have a local backup to an external hard disk that runs hourly.

    Recovery gets tested every couple of months for the online stuff and weekly for the local stuff.

  66. durr

    – I’m paranoid about it. I run a 2TB RAID 1 with a 2TB external for backup. –

    Paranoid would be Raid 10, 01, 5, 50, 6 or 60, the same amount of space for external backup, an extra server with the same amount of space

  67. mpffffhhhh

    dropbox, wuala, easeus, ext. harddisc. thats enough ;-)

  68. snookie

    As far as my personal data I back up 4 computers C drives and documents with ntbackup built into XP and it runs a full backup on each computer, overwriting old image with new image weekly for each machine. Has saved my hide several times being able to reinstall XP and use backup for my data. All that goes to a 1TB external that is only used for backups.Also use a .bat file for coping those monthly to a 2TB external that I keep in a fire safe, just in case.

  69. MooG

    When I got a bigger drive I left the old one in and use Corbian to back up stuff to it an a rolling monthly or Weekly basis. Most of this stuff is replaceable – if I downloaded it once I can again it would just be a pain. The stuff that isn’t (my photos and projects) gets burnt to discs (to be honest I don’t do this often enough) although I’m thinking of getting an external hard drive.

    The really really important stuff – family photos and a Truecrypt file of personal and financial details – also goes to Dropbox and Mozy

  70. Abdullah

    1TB WD External HD but I need good software.

  71. AbbaDabba

    I back up all computers to a Windows Home Server machine. I then use a cloud service called CrashPlan. They’re cost effective and very reliable. I used to use Carbonite but they lost lots of my data because of a major bug in the program. I kept trying to get them to acknowledge they had a problem and they really didn’t seem to care. Not once was I able to get someone other than a script-reading customer care rep to call me to let me show them how they failed. As far as I know, they still have a serious, major bug. Anyone using them should BEWARE!! If anyone at HowTo wants to do an expose on Carbonite, I have the screen shots and can show you what happened and why they can’t be trusted.

  72. andy

    Weekly backup to an external drive and really important folders also synchronised with SkyDrive

  73. tony

    I’m retired, so I just have one computer for home use. All I use it for is email & browsing. There’s nothing on the hdd that would need backing up, although I do use Norton Ghost 2003 (win xp) to make an image to dvd’s once a month. Once a year I format & do a clean install.

  74. Adam

    I’m running OSX at home, so it’s Time Machine backups to a local external HDD. Also, I’ve got a remote backup using Tonido to an external HDD at my work PC. So, one local and one remote, using two different schemes, but not quite 2 different media. About once a year I put all the irreplacable stuff (photos, home movies, etc) on a few DVD-Rs and send them to a family member’s house, as a worst-case precaution.

  75. George

    I use Ubuntu One and Dropbox for my most critical files and projects I’m working on. When I’m ready to upgrade Ubuntu to the next version, I use rsync to an external HDD and keep the previous 2 backups. For my Windows PC, I use Symantec Ghost to create an image onto the external HDD with a also keep the two previous images.

    I am looking into a NAS device and take advantage of the 1GB LAN connections on m Linksys E4200 router. The external HDD will most likely be used for off-site storage.

  76. kelltic

    Image system once a month. The disk I image to is in the fridge.

    Second Copy automatically backs up all my files to: 1) An internal hard drive; 2) Large external hard drive; 3) USB drive, which is switched out to its twin USB drive daily. One of those travels with me, via purse, everywhere I go.

    I don’t use online backup.

  77. Andrew

    All the important files on my home network is stored on a file server which is backed up to a NAS at the opposite end of my house. Everyone in my family knows that if fleeing the house for some disastrous reason, grab that HDD if possible. Sure it’s not as bulletproof as cloud backup, but it’s cheaper and the house would really have to burn to the ground to take out both the file server and the backup HDD.

  78. iMi

    I backup my most vital files (receipts and major projects) on a cloud, Dropbox. The receipts are saved there automatically since I once had a computer crash after a year of being self-employed a couple months before tax season.

    Every few months I back up all projects, sensitive docs, stories, pictures, and whatever else I care about to a portable HD. I don’t do a very thorough job of it. I guess a childhood of having my fictional stories lost every time my hand-me-down computer crashed made me realize what I really need back-ups of and what I can do without.

    Oh and I only use cloud email and never delete anything. But that’s because I’m crazy.

  79. hobbit

    For very important documents – Skydrive (25GB free!)
    For files I always open or update – Dropbox (2GB is more than enough)
    For the rest of my files – External hard drive

  80. GolfManiac

    External hard drive and SugerSync!

  81. larry

    machines at home are all on carbonite (pc & mac), also occasionally use timemachine to an external hdd. work = zonealarm/idrive. have used RepliWeb RDS for hot (scheduled) backups – awesome app.

  82. Old Gnome

    Cobian backup to a couple spare drives, Dropbox for key files.

  83. John Davies

    RAID 6 on main NAS Volume which backs up to a RAID5 NAS volume

    NAS and all PC’s run Crashplan Plus Family and backup to CrashPlan Central

    All PC’s run Rsync to backup profile and data to the NAS (which is backed up to Crashplan, as well as the PC’s them selves)

    Android phones run Rsync to backup to the NAS, which is running Crashplan

    I have been running RSnapshot on the NAS, but am running out of space on the backup volume so have stopped it for now and just use crashplan for backing up files changes at present.

  84. Letsrock

    I do mine manually (Copy & Paste) every month to an external 320GB Maxtor drive. I backup My Documents, My Music (which just store my iTunes library files) and My Pictures. My music collection, on a separate internal drive, gets backed up to the external drive too. I keep the previous backup and the current back up.
    Every six months or so, I backup with all the above to DVD and store at work. I keep the previous plus current backup there too.

  85. jake

    I use windows 7 data backup which after the absolute delight of windows 2008, is such a traversty. It is not configurable so i can’t opt for incremental, it takes forever and I HATE IT!! Help me Obi Wan HTG, you are my only hope. We need a review of the available data backup software that works with windows 7, is user friendly and ranges from free to cheap in price.
    I was sysadmin for a bank for 3 years and boy do I miss the configure and forget joys of windows 2008 backup.
    Microsoft should realize that there is such a thing as OVER SIMPLIFICATION.
    Disclaimer: I have not read the valuable contributions of my fellow HTG readers so if i have duplicated anything or upset anyone… :-)

  86. Robert

    I use Storagecraft’s Shadow Protect to backup my data and PC. I can boot from a recovery CD and do a complete bare metal restore to another PC if I have a hardware failure. Works great.

  87. Ed

    Microsoft SyncToy
    Backup Platinum
    Dlink DNS-321 NAS

  88. Will

    I have a 400GB SATA in a hot-swap bay for my HAF X. Once a week (or after some heavy photo-editing for an article) I’ll let windows do a backup and a system image, then I remove that HDD so it’s not powered on with the computer and keep it hear the computer. I’ve already got a 500GB Crapgate HDD on my desk that failed after a year – needs a logic board. It’s still sitting on my desk 4 years + later because I can’t afford to have the data retrieved, but it’s there for when I do.

  89. tony

    monthly using Microsoft’s Backup to an external drive which I keep locked in my desk at work (ie well away from my PC

  90. Ed D.

    I use SugarSynch for backing up a desktop and two laptops. Shared files are automatically updated between computers. My wife has overwritten some of her docs (business and personal) so I had to learn to archive her folders weekly and assure not too much is lost. She also saves files to a thumb. Not much different from using an old tape drive backup.

  91. Lynn

    Carbonite and external drive backing up daily. I have seen too many hard drive failures to not have multiple backups.

  92. Tony

    Redundancy is key! At home, I don’t change enough to warrant frequent backups, but I have an external that I copy files to. I will save local and use the external along with a 2nd 1tb disk internal. In essence there is always 3 copies of a given file. Every time I rebuild or upgrade my OS (once a year or so), I also burn DVD’s of my data.

    At work, we have 2 weekly full backups and daily differential backups to tape and we also use DFS to sync files to corporate daily, who also backs up to tape. For that we use Symantec Backup Exec. Definitely not my 1st choice, but it works. I prefer Veritas Netbackup over anything.

  93. J0000

    Local 1 TB external drive backup only – of system image and all files. Anything really important such as tax info I print and keep in a physical file.

  94. Arnau

    I just finish setting up one bacula server per site (office and PDC1 and 2) with external iSCSI system with RAID6.

    It rocks!

  95. SteveG

    I BU with Macrium Reflect (free) to a 1.5 tb drive every evening at 11PM automatically.
    We do this on two separate laptops to two separate drives.
    It create a disk image…and one can restore all or individual files. It’s great!
    At the end of the month, I delete older files to free up the drives.

  96. Davey126

    1) Full image weekly, incremental images daily. Complete backup sets retained for six weeks.
    2) All personal data files backed up to Amazon S3 (via Jungle Disk) nightly; retained for 2 yrs.
    3) A small number of critical files synchronized real-time with cloud service (w/version control).
    4) Windows System Restore for quick recovery of system files in case of corruption.

    System image is the gold standard. Contains every file regardless of location and can be used to rebuild dead system from scratch. I happen to use Macrium Reflect. Fast and reliable.

    Jungle Disk is one of a few services that supports ‘data deduplication’ which dramatically reduces upload times and online storage requirements. Mandatory IMO for leveraging the cloud for daily backups of large data sets.

  97. skulldrinker

    Weekly data backups to a dedicated external hard drive. Weekly C & D images save to same dedicated drive. Monthly uploads of everything to my domain server. My 250 gig cap loves that! Plus every computer i work on I save their image also for 1 year. My 28 Gigs of mp3’s besides saving them with my previously mentioned way I also have them on Blu-Ray. Way to much time invested it mp3 searches to ever lose them. Over 5 years and countless countless hour of spell checking them.

  98. skulldrinker

    oh yeah and my 2 gig NAS with RAID.

  99. James

    Dropbox with truecrypt, 1TB FreeNAS & 500GB Ubuntu. Robocopy scripts /copyall /e /xo scheduled to run daily on Vista laptop. Would love a shiny new Windows 7 64bit though : (

  100. rjp370

    Synplicity to sync between the two computers in the house is constant. Image hard drives on both machines monthly to an external hard drive. Acronis Home 2011 back up in the cloud for both machines ongoing.

  101. Hank

    I bought a clickdrive on QVC – WOW what a life saver, I am not a “Real” geek but know enough to be dangerous so I bought this with the intention that my wife would simply plug it into her laptop periodically and back it up – it worked! When her laptop crashed and I put a new hard drive in it I simply loaded the machine software, loaded the clickdrive software and it did the rest, all the files were in there proper place, e-mail went back into outlook properly (as well as contacts!!!)
    Probably the neatest part of that drive is that they are live files (I can plug it into anyone of my machines and pick a specific file and copy it off!)

  102. Hank

    OOPS! that should have said “Clickfree” not clickdrive….

  103. Joe

    BackupPC ( has saved my ass many times. It’s easy to use, easy to set up and best of all, once it’s set up you just forget about it until you need it.

  104. TaC Walker

    Not being important enough to have anything to back up except phone numbers, passwords and email addresses…I write all my data to a scribbler and keep it in a drawer in my room.

  105. Willy

    I used to use Mozy, but it was way too flaky on my system. Now I do it myself.

    I have 3 internal drives, a relatively small one for my OSs (WinXP & Linux) and 2 1.5 TB drives for data. I have 2 Rosewill HDD Docks and 4 1.5 TB drives. 2 drives are in the docks and 2 are in my safety deposit box at the bank. I use Macrium Reflect for backup and backup a few important directories on my OS drive (Fonts, etc). Macrium Reflect is a bit flaky, but it works better that the other products I have tried.

    I am on the lookout for better backup software that works for data sets as large as mine.

  106. Tim K

    Several years ago I almost lost all the data on a hard drive that had my photos stored on it. Thankfully I was able to recover the files with the only loss being the file names and metadata. Since that point I realized I needed a storage strategy.

    I am currently using Windows Home Server 2011. I have:
    – the os drive mirrored with Raid 1,
    – another drive in Raid 1 contains my, photos, music, documents, software and computer backups…this drive is also backed up to an external drive that I keep offsite.
    – a Raid 5 array of five (5) 2Tb drives for 8Tb of storage for my video / DVD rips

    I also place my important photographs on the cloud to ensure I don’t lose any of my memories.

  107. Richard

    I store all my picture (i’m a devoted photographer) on a RAID1 that’s based on two Samsung 1TB. My plans are to build an server that runs a RAID5/6 configuration that I will store my pictures on. I have also bought an 2TB external drive that I’m going to use to mirror my RAIDsetup to once a week and then store in some safe place (dream is a fire safe looker)

  108. Tom

    I’m interested to see what programs are used to backup to local hard drives. Cobian backup works for me but what else is out there…?

  109. Deniz Sevki Kayabay

    I do it the old fashioned way. I backup my data ( the recent changes ) every day to 2 more HDD drives at home, and once a week to a 3rd HDD which is in my office. So in order something stupid goes wrong at home ( a fire hazard or so ), there’s always a fresh copy at the office. Never needed yet, but who knows ?
    Also all my photos are copied to some DVD’s and are safe in a safe, but I do it seldom, once a year.

  110. Richard Bishop

    I am the King of Redundancy when it comes to backups. For the most part, I have multiple copies of backed up data (five copies at the minimum). Mostly done on a daily and/or weekly basis by automated synch programs. I have two drive image backups that are replaced every three months. Since I have the install disks for most all my applications and cloud based storage for the downloadable software I’ve purchased, the data is the more important. Most of it is irreplaceable, hence the redundancy. I use a lot of CDR & DVDR disks because of their cost effectiveness. For the image backups, I have them on their own dedicated 2-1/2″ USB External 500Gb drives.

  111. Fahd

    I burn DVDs! I dont have that much data that I consider critical. The only space intensive stuff I have are games and most of those are on steam so its not a big issue

  112. Mike Park

    Syncplicity + Windows Image Backup + MS Sync Toy

  113. Furryface

    I have an external 500MB hard drive that I do full backups to on Sunday and incremental backups during the week. I use GFI Backup 2009 which is free to use for home and small business users.

    My wife runs a home based business and computer “up” time and backups are critical. Her computer is a RAID 1 with two mirrored hard drives but backups are still still done on a nightly basis also we do backups of critical data to two USB memory sticks that are swapped on a daily basis and one is always kept with us in the event of a disaster like a house fire, robbery etc.

    After reading some comments I will be doing disaster backups as well. I am a writer and a disaster would be devastating so I’ll be doing disaster backups to two memory sticks as well.

  114. Steve

    Windows Home Server – Nothing but the best

  115. GeezerAl

    WOW! I must be insanely paranoid.
    I use Storagecraft’s ShadowProtect Desktop on all my computers (4). I backup OS AND data incrementally twice a day and a new full backup once a month! All backups are disk images and ShadowProtect permits individual files restored via mounting a specific backup virtually. For my clients, I suggest ShadowProtect for business/enthusiasts and Acronis Home for “recreational” users. Their schedules vary based upon my/their assessment of need.

    I do frequent beta testing both in Virtual OS and the base operating system and often have to restore after a buggy product or faulty installation by me caused havoc.

    I keep my data on a separate directory from the OS. I use DropBox for offsite backups and also external and internal drives for both OS and data. I have programmed software that wakes the computer in time to do the 2 daily and 1 monthly backup and to keep track of the time it takes to backup.

    Why do I backup the OS and recommend it to my clients? Because it is cheaper, faster, and more accurate to restore to a known state in a recent time than to reinstall and update.


  116. R BAIG

    Im need data , its most imp

    Im using sync toy

  117. LM

    +1 Dropbox for critical files
    Non Critical Files go on a USB external drive or DVD disc.

  118. Harry

    Using WordPerfect (doubtless this can be done in Word etc. too) I have a keyboard shortcut which runs a macro which saves the current file to C: and D: (both internal, and, on the non-portable computer, separate physical drives) and to two identical external USB HDDs, and to Dropbox, synchronizing to laptop and netbook. In addition, a copy is made to D: with a timestamp built into the filename, so saving a file and then discovering it already contained errors such as a passage erroneously deleted is not much of a problem. And then I have SyncBack SE for occasional (say twice a day) use to save WP’s QuickCorrect and keyboard definition files to the two external drives, as well as saving new photos, emails etc. For email, SyncBack’s smart synchronization means I can move mailboxes around and still have all filters working in all three copies of Eudora. Such fun, working it all out, and it works too!

  119. Rouzell

    Using SugarSync means I get backup and restore in one step. Also, I have several TB of external drives for local storage and I use StorageCraft products to create images that are then stored on those drives. I *had* a 1.5 TB external drive (Seagate) that failed last year, so now I need to find a way to backup my backup…. The cloud is the answer, but it can be expensive.

  120. Jstyle

    Different methods:

    – 4 TB RAID 5 for data (system images, pictures, video and music, sofware images)
    – Github for programming projects (private)
    – dropbox for documents, settings files, pc repair tools (online access ftw) (thinking about going Carbonite here)

    System image taken weekly true Acronis.

    I do have 2 1 TB HD, but this is more used for taking software images to clients for repair purposes.

  121. JOPFEF

    I back up to two separate 2.5″ external drives, kept in two separate locations off-site. I also carry a 32-gig Corsair Survivor drive with me at all times; it has my most critical files on it. If anything happens at home, I can rebuild from scratch in no time at all. I’m a fiend on backing up, having seen what other people go through. Haven’t yet jumped to the cloud; thinking about it.

  122. seacrow

    I learned my lesson long ago. If I value something, I must backup to several locations. No excuses! So, real-time backup to external hard drive. Weekly backups to free online storage account and Yahoo email account.

  123. PendragonUK

    I don’t make backup’s in the traditional sense. I make use of a couple of tools that mean I can get back to a normal and productive setup very quickly. I use XMarks to keep my Browser sorted and DropBox for my files. Recently have been making use of UbuntuOne as I’m making more and more use of Ubuntu as my primary OS. From a borked system to 100% useful in less than an hour. That is more than acceptable as a Backup strategy to my way of thinking.

  124. Scooter

    I have an external drive connected to the router that is also a print server. Then I back that up with another external drive using free SyncBack – very inexpensive and painless.

    I used to repair desktops in a research facility and saw many many instances of lost data because the user did not back up their data as instructed. Lots of sad sad stories. So I learned my lesson from their mistakes.

  125. shooter

    From internal hd to 1 of 3 external hd to 2 backup copy cd/dvd…1 stored off site.

  126. Nancy

    I use Carbonite.

  127. Lagartija

    I backup to 2 external disks .. 1 is in a fire safe, the other connected to the PC. Each week I switch.

  128. Dr. Philip

    I back up to an external drive with Acronis once a month. The external drive is disconnected from the computer when not backing up or restoring and is stored in a safe place within the house. Hopefully, the house will not be destroyed with the Lacy external drive. I also back up Quicken to several flash drives and to another external hard drive after every use of Quicken.

  129. Brian

    I use Carbonite now, after being burned by Mozy a few months ago. I found out (too late, after a HD crash) that Mozy did NOT automatically backup any of the HTML files on my system. Being a UI/Web Developer, I had quite a few HTML files. I didn’t like the control (or lack of it) that Mozy offered, as I saw no easy way to ensure backup of HTML files. I switched to Carbonite, and love it so far.

  130. WebIT Northwest

    One word, Paragon. Paragon Software. Backup & Recovery Suite 10. It’s free, and its flawless. Imagine doing a fresh install of windows, your apps, getting it perfect, then creating an image of that to restore on any machine any time in the future. In addition, adding a Differential and Cyclic backup option allow an ongoing up to date image of your system. So we have both, a nice clean image we can install on a new computer (yes, it can be done) and a daily or weekly automated backup thats always ready to go. There is nothing like knowing I have my systems (and all of my clients systems) imaged and backed up both locally and offsite with total automation. If something goes wrong, I (or have client) boot with a CD, make a couple of menu selections, and go make coffee. Poof!, the machine is sitting at the desktop waiting to get to work when I return. Why bother troubleshooting a crash/bug when I can just restore the entire hard drive partition in minutes. Try that with windows backup.

  131. brentb636

    I use a program SmartSync Pro to back up nightly to a 10 TB Raid 10 NAS ( Plextor PX-NAS4) . Weekly I use SmartSync Pro to backup up the NAS to a 3TB WD USB3 drive. About every other month, I do a drive image of my C drive using Acronis imaging software. This strategy should work just fine until the NAS files get larger than the 3TB WD usb drive. Maybe by then I can afford another NAS .

  132. Faxin

    I have a 4x500GB RAID5 in my working computer. Thats enough space for living. :-)

    Additionally there is a storage-server with 5x2tb raid where I backup absolutely everything (6gb, 1 parity drive, 1 spare drive). This computer is usually turned off.
    In case of a fire or a lightning stroke all important data (like photos) is putted on a tape which lays in a safe somewhere else. But I seldom renew the tape.
    Therefore this computer also has a dvd-burner where I burn the most important and fast changing data additionally on a encrypted 3,5″ cd-rw which stays in my car. This reminds me to reburn the cd today. :)
    Additionally the encrypted zip is copied on a internet server.

    So I am going to lose part of my important data at the day my house is on fire, my car is stolen and the company which hosts my servers has last my data, too. Alternatively I lose all seldom used data if my house is on fire and the other house with the safe is burning, too.
    But at least I have still the important data in my car.
    In the case a big meteor hits the earth I still have serious problem… any ideas? ^^

  133. MILTY

    EASEUS Todo 2.5 has saved my butt, and several of my friends, many times over, and you can’t beat the price = FREE.
    I have been using Easeus for several years, after a massive failure with a paid backup program.
    I also find that backing up every two weeks ( or after applying important changes or additions ) is more than adequate for non commercial users.

  134. lyle schaller

    Do routine maintenance weekly, then use ACRONIS TRUE IMAGE HOME 2011 to back up my computer to an external 1.5 tb external drive. Have had to recover a few times takes 30 to 45 minutes to recover, and about 2 hours to backup…then everything is fine.

  135. Paul Niemeyer

    I use a simple 6 line batch file I created for DOS programs back in the late 60’s. I’ve modified it to use WinZip to check for changes and/or additions to my files in my DATA directory. Everything I do goes into the DATA directory. Once WinZip updates and adds the files, it creates a *.zip file and then copies it to a San Disk thumb drive, which I keep on my key chain and always have available. I must run this batch file five or six times a day.

  136. Joe O'Loughlin

    I have 5, 2.5in laptop drives that I rotate through a weekly backup scheme.
    I CLONE the existing drive to a laptop drive using EZ GIG II software. That
    software came with an enclosure but the software works with any drive I
    have tried connecting to. I don’t use the enclosure but instead use a USB 2.0
    to SATA/USB cable I located on ebay. It was only $15. Backing up a 15gb
    drive takes all of 12 minutes. If I want to install new software I do another
    backup before installing the software – just in case. The end result of using
    the method described is an exact clone of the existing drive that can be placed
    in the drive tray and running in less than 2 minutes. The method described
    has save the day more than once and I can’t think of a safer or faster way
    to do a backup. For what it’s worth – the USB cable came with some software
    that makes claims of being able to do a Clone but it doesn’t do the job and
    is dead slow on top of that. I’ve also tried XXCOPY and it fails to copy several
    required windows files.

  137. EFHG

    I am a Linux user and sync my laptop both at home and at work, so I keep 3 images of my home directory. This means I can recover not only for a crash but also from a “disaster”, like a fire or a theft. I have been using a free software called unison for more than 5 years and it makes very well the job I need.

  138. BobF


  139. Fodaro

    I use a USB stick to hold a data backup, as well as to transfer files between my home computer and my college network drive. I keep some important files at college as well, even though I never use them there, as the help desk do a backup every day.

  140. Anthony

    Not as organized as I like.

    Qwest Digital Vault provides 2gb of free storage, and I had it running automatically a couple of times a week for My (Non Picture) Documents. Used it to get my stuff back after the drive died. I then turned off the automatic operation because of fear it would erase data when syncing from a hard drive from which data has been lost.

    DVD images are a backup already of physical media, but I often do overnight copies to the kid’s computer, which has decent-size hard drives.

    My Music lives on a laptop which I use for media, and back up the library after I have added new stuff to it to a large drive on my desktop.

    I back up pictures to the kid’s computer about monthly. (I have used recovery software can get erased pictures back from my SD card to get back more recent pictures.)

    I have started using EaseUS (Thanks HTG for telling me about this) to make system images after I COULD NOT RECOVER FROM A WINDOWS 7 Backup System image. I was trying to use a Windows system image to move my system to a new hard drive, but it said it could not put the image there. Now I don’t trust it.

    I probably have too many copies of a lot of stuff. Would like to move toward something that does some versioning for me. My main fear of automatic backups is that I might not find out something is wrong until the automatic backup has overwritten my backed up data with recently corrupted data.

    I also want backups to be copies of my files rather than some proprietary format where I have to run their program to get my stuff back. However, zip is okay, and I am willing to use it on documents that are compressible.

    Finally, I use an old hard drive and copy documents, pictures and music to it, and store it at my office.

  141. Chad

    I do FULL backups once a week using rsync over SSH to my server, via the following syntax:

    $rsync -avP [source_dir] [server_name_or_IP]:[dest_dir]

    Every other night of the week I do an incremental using the same utilities:

    $rsync -avP –link-to:[server_name_or_IP]:[1st_backup_dir] [source_dir] [new_dest_dir]

    -a = archive
    -v = verbose mode
    -P = keeps the ‘done’ portion of the transfer is the process is interrupted

    ** A note on incrementals: The way that rsync does it is by creating hard-links to the original backup (–link-to:[server_name_or_IP]:[1st_backup_dir]) and then copies the ACTUAL files for the rest of the incremental backup.**

    Good stuff, never had problems and I’ve had to recover with these backups a few times – that’s what I get for being a persistent tinckerer :P

  142. SeumasR

    I have two partitions on my main HDD, system on C: and user data on D:

    Every evening before shutting down I do an incremental backup manually by copying all new files in selected folders on D: (1) to an external HDD and (2) to USB sticks (! – yes, I know this is crude and that they are easily lost but they have the advantage of much larger capacity per volume as against DVDs. A recent HTG article on securing data on USB sticks was very helpful). Why just selected data? – because I don’t want files with more personal data (e.g. emails, personal financial records) to be stored unencoded on relatively easily stolen media such as the sticks, or even the external HDD, so I keep such unencoded data in separate folders on main HDD and back up only coded versions of it.

    The above is my first-line backup. I also do:

    – a continuous incremental backup to the external HDD using the Nonstop Backup feature of Acronis True Image Home (again omitting certain files such as the above unencoded personal files).
    – a weekly full manual backup of the system partition (C:) to external HDD using True Image.
    – additional manual True Image backups when they seem necessary e.g. before installing new software. All my True Image backups are encoded.
    – a Carbonite backup [to the cloud], running continuously.The unencoded personal files, and certain very large files which would be very slow, are excluded.

    Some people may consider all this to be overkill, but there was one occasion where data had been lost and I had to resort to each and every one of these backups to get all parts of it back!

  143. Sarasvati80

    I’m trying to get my things all together so I can then back up my things…. I dunno what would be best though… I’m still an apprentice geek! :P

  144. Pirgnori

    I use GoodSync ( and find it the easiest, most reliable backup to use. Goodsync and RoboForm, a password creator, saver and user program by the same company, make my computing life as simple as possible. I give both programs a 5* rating. I back up data to 3 external hard drives because, if I lost my data, I’d be dead meat. I also use Acronis True Image Home 2011 to back up my entire computer (clone), just in case the computer has a hissy fit and kicks off.

  145. 1101doc

    +1 for Acronis every day.

  146. GeorgieV

    Horizon Data System’s RollBack Rx. Lets you restore to any “snapshot” date you have set (can be automatic) and allows recovery of computer before boot. I used Retrospect previously but it was “updated” and the personal version will only backup to a tape!!

  147. Joe

    I have Acronis TrueImage 2010 do an incremental backup of everything on my main drives at 2 hour intervals. The backup drive is a 4TB RAID-5 array. Also n the RAID array are my media files/other server files. These, I don’t back up because they aren’t completely critical, and at the very least have redundancy. All mission critical things get backed up to the cloud as well.

  148. bay60billy

    Carbonite ( Had two seperate hard drive crashes within months…both computers were backed up on Carbonite. Downloaded data to new Seagate drives both times with help from their tech dept. Backups continously. Costs around 50 bucks per machine per year.

    Both computers are less than 2 years old. The original drives were junk, plastic turntable bearings. When they get a lot of constant use the spindle bearings wear and the drive skews. Voila…disc crashes. Next time i’ll spec Seagates in a new computer as long as they still use ball bearings in the drive spindle.

  149. lostnsavd

    Recently I knew I had to have my hard drive reformatted. I could have done it myself, but I also wanted a dual video card installed, which again was no problem, but…. my motherboard was not happy about the upgrade. I decided to store all my important data, photos, installation programs, etc. on a cloud. After doing some research, I decided to use “Dropbox.” When you go to it will show you a video on how to use it. Then, create an account (it’s free for up to 2G of storage space), and It is user friendly; even a caveman can use it. Use it for backing up your data and/or just another place in the clouds to store your information.

  150. dan mcelroy

    I use FREENAS on an old PC (Dell 2400) and SyncToy from Microsoft (also free) to back all data on my Win 7 box. I manually backup the Ubuntu box to the same FREENAS server. I also manually backup my wife’s XP box occusionally.

  151. Keil

    5 PCs and 1 Mac in the house, using CrashPlan for backups to local external hard drives and for online backups. I’m using SpiderOak for online backup of the data which needs to be accessible without doing the CrashPlan “restore” option and also using DropBox for collaboration with colleagues.

  152. Julia Dawn Mason

    I back up all my data to a Seagate Back up drive and to DVDs burned by myself.

  153. Donotalo

    I keep two internal HDDs. One I use for everything, the other one is used for backup. So in a sense I have two copies of every important files. I use DirSyncPro to synchronize.

  154. p liu

    data (personal and work) – sychronize with application like “2nd copy” from internal HD to external HD.
    family photos, video – back up to 2 copies of DVD, one at office, one at home; some videos are kept on 1 1.5TB HD until filled.
    applications, miscellaneous downloads – no backup (most can be downloaded again), important ones are stored on DVDs (one copy only).

  155. swtracey7

    I use a local server.

  156. dropboxforthewin

    I use a 2GB free accoutn on DropBox to backup/sync the important files I use a lot. I also have an 8GB USB drive for some files as well as a 500GB drive which I backup to with Windows Backup. It seems to work well.

    Dropbox For The Win

  157. John

    At home everything gets backed up to a 1.5 TB external drive using SyncToy & a scheduled task, and critical files go to Dropbox & Evernote.

    At work I do the same thing, but it gets backed up to our servers. Our servers then get backed up to an offsite storage facility. We can even run the entire system remotely in the event of a catastrophic failure.

  158. Cathy McLaren

    I use Acronis to keep an image of every computer and laptop in the house on an external 3 T USB drive, just to be able to restore a machine completely. New image created yearly (or as required) and incremental every three months. Drive disconnected and stored in safe place. Data is also backed up using scheduled Robocopy once a week, or as significant data changes occur, to a D-Link DNS-323 NAS with 1 Tb mirrored drives. I refuse to put my data online. No clouds or dropbox for me.

  159. Richard

    I back up once a month to an external drive.using NTI back up program that came with the drive but looking at Synctoy as an alternative for sequential backups.

  160. Lumpy Rutherford

    * SugarSync
    * Evernote (here mostly scanned documents)
    * Dropbox ( free version; Android and iOS)

  161. George

    I like GoodSync. backed up to a thumb drive.

  162. ed

    For anyone searching, guessing, hoping to find a suitable backup device, the WD Elements HD seems to be a perfect fit for the Win 7 Backup program. The HD has no software; it’s just a storage device; set a backup schedule & Win 7 Backup takes it from there without further action on your part.
    I only backup locally, weekly. I have over 20,000 doc files & do a lot of editing within those files. So I usually defrag before the weekly backup.

  163. Mable

    I have been totally unsuccessful in backing up data. Every time I try I get the message that the backup failed. It seems to be horrendously complicated. What am I missing?

  164. Toni

    I have lost so many pictures… it makes me ill to think about it. I’m a total carbonite girl.

  165. H Verne

    I use Acronis to back up to my Server.
    I use OOPS to back up my data files (to Ext HD)
    I save a Windows image periodically (to Ext HD)
    I use DROPBOX (excluded from backups) for files shared between several computers/sites

  166. Terry

    I keep it on an external hard drive, and, I Have put it on discs as well just in case.

  167. Josh B.

    I run linux and have a pretty decent setup that I’ve put a lot of time into.
    There is a server that runs openvpn and has 2 2TB drives, and I manually image one drive onto the other when I’m confident I have a working backup (I tend to tinker and break things on the laptop).

    For the laptop, I have written a bash script that backs up to the server via rsync once a week. It detects whether I’m on the home network or on the Internet and will rsync via ssh appropriately to maximise thoroghput.

  168. Torbjorn S.

    I have redundant systems at home. My primary storage is on QNAP NAS servers and in addition I also backup the data from the QNAP NAS servers to a Windows Home Server with a lot of USB disks to ensure that I have backup of everything.

    Works great, and by using different platforms I can also utilize many other functions that might not be available on both platforms, and use the other platform as backup platform.

    However, what I feel that I don’t have, is a good Cloud backup solution with some speed to it. Having the backups locally is just a tragedy waiting to happen. A sudden lightning strike and it’s all gone.

    In Sweden, currently there are no one (that I have found) that can provide a Cloud backup solution with unlimited backup storage, that allows copying from neither Windows Home Server, or NAS. Basically, any network connected drives are prohibited, so I am out of luck. I have looked around EU and also tried US, but the speed is just too slow to have a functioning backup, especially since data on backup clouds often is deleted after a period of time (normally the data is deleted before I have had the opportunity to read back the data to the replacement system).

    Now, I am a media geek and have copied over my entire BLU-RAY and DVD collection to disk, so there are a lot of terabytes of data to back up..

    I tried the solution “KEEPIT” before. Took 7 months to perform the initial backup from local disks, but when moving to Windows home server and NAS, I could no longer use KEEPIT, and all data in the cloud was deleted.

    Any tips on some descent Cloud backup solutions with good transfer speed from Sweden to a reasonable price is requested :-)

  169. gerry

    In addition to using a back up program saving to external 1TB drive, I have begun to email to myself files that are important to me. yahoo and gmail allow massive storage for emails. also I store some files on my webspace in a password protected folder

    I have been bitten by external drive failure due to electricity backout, corrupted the drive so I store my eggs in more than one basket

  170. Mike

    Without a doubt it has to be Time Machine on OSX, with an external 2TB WD drive. Easy to use, runs by itself, and easy still to roll back files

  171. Charliemike

    I may sound a little paranoid, but I have WD 500 GB drives in RAID 1 in each machine. They backup to a DNS-323 with 2 WD 1TB drives also in RAID 1 and Carbonite. Other than that, I hardly give it a thought.

  172. Brian M.

    I use Acronis True Image 2011–Differential backups every few days to a secondary internal drive as well as to an external drive. But if a 747 hits the house I’m in trouble. Haven’t tired online storage yet.

  173. Horse

    Almost anything by Carbonite. Lost a bunch of my data. Never responded to me. Good thing I was only testing and had redundant backups elsewhere. Someone referred me, and now I’ve convinced her to lost them as well .. We now use Easeus (image and file bu) to external drives, one offisite — and believe it or not, a combination of windows sky and gmail for many important personal document backups (check out some of the apps you can get to make use of all that nice, juicy gmail storage space).

    I’ve heard from good people that Dropbox is tops. I will be giving them a test run soon. Best to you all.

  174. ChuckTheGeek

    I ghost all my hard drives to an external 500g drive twice a week.

  175. john

    I have 5 TB in my pc and 5 TB in a Probox (external RAIDbox) that I use for storing movies. Both groups are spanned to show up as 5 TB drives. I use a GREAT, free program called Puresync. I run it once a week. i hit “Compare” and then “Sync”. It will even update the smallest change in an .xml file. It just works. The raidbox even shuts itself off after the pc shuts down.

    I also have a single WD 250 g hard drive in the box and just do a simple “Copy & Paste” of my documents, pictures, and videos. I do this about once a month and each backup is about 50 gigs. I always keep 2 or 3 of the most recent backups this way if i delete something, I can go back into one of the older backups to recover it.

  176. Edward Fairchild

    I am also one of the paranoids about backup. Because I have been burnt in the past in not being able to restore a full system backup, I do it with multiple products with that hope that at least one will work. So I have an external Seagate 2TB External Disk where I keep
    — full partition backups of C: using Macrium Reflect.
    — Weekly Windows Backups including a full disk image.
    — Continuous Norton 360 backups (included in the Comcast Norton Security Suite.)
    In addition, I have cloud backup using
    — Carbonite currently backing up 136GB of data.

  177. Gerry Hatrick

    After losing the lot two times in quick succession, several years ago due to software glitches I now run 3 Win 7 plus a Ubuntu machine. Photos etc stored on each . I now run with minimum software on all machines and have never looked back.

  178. Jester

    Ok, there’s a really cool file sync software that is free to download called Allway Sync . It’s capable of syncing files, creating a back up, and do multiple folders at once. There is a version that costs some money, but all in all, the free one is really all you need. I use it to keep my flash drive synced with certain folders that I may need to take with me, and use my hard drive for back up and a secondary source for all my important files.

  179. Idgie

    Having lost all of my important data once, I try to have several safeguards in place, but need to keep it fairly inexpensive. I was using Mozy until they recently raised their rates – A BIG raise for me, considering I have 2 TB’s of Photos, Graphic Designs, etc. They did save me once though, so I won’t diss them too much. I just bought a 3 TB EHD to back up my entire computer and a 1 TB EHD. I plan to back up every couple of weeks. I started burning some of my graphics to CD’s, but OH MY! Eventually, I will probably start this again with my absolute, most important treasures. I see many people mentioning Seagate, but I had one go bad after a couple months of use. They sent me a replacement and the same thing happened 6 months in – I will stick with WD – I have yet to have one fail…They just keep running out of room. LOL! My graphics are space intensive…Sigh…I need my very own cloud…perhaps a galaxy.

  180. Rick76

    #1 Dropbox (every hour)
    #2 MS SyncToy (weekly)
    #3 ClickFree 1 TB Wireless (nightly)
    #4 WD Passport 400 GB (weekly)
    #5 WD MyBook 500 GB (monthly)

  181. rMatey180

    I just use Deja Dup on my Linux laptop and desktop. I back up to external drives, one for each. I also keep DVD sets at the bank for home disasters.
    I use Windows BAckup for Win7. Also use Clonezilla for harddisk cloning. I have a separate external disk for these backups, too.

    I also test my backups before I need them.

  182. Edward Fairchild

    One furthur backup that I forgot to mention above is that my wife and I have equivalent accounts on each others machines as a hot backup. We sync the data from the primary machines to the backup machines weekly using 2BriteSpark’s SyncBackSE.

  183. jwt

    Raid 5 locally on two computers, Mozy, Dropbox, Exchange real time amongst and between three computers and a manual GoodSync to an additional disk daily.

    I’m keeping this data!

  184. kzinti1

    None, anymore. The backups never worked so I just don’t bother.
    NukeBoot Disk once a year, now. Then new install of anything I can remember.
    Tried numerous backup programs but I really haven’t a clue as to how to use them. They’re just way too complicated. By the time I look up some term I don’t understand I’ve forgotten what it applies to, so to hell with all of them.

  185. dsuggitt

    Policy I learned while working with the CGI team on Battlestar Galactica: If a file does not exist in two locations, then it shall be considered that it does not exist at all.

    Therefore, I use a combination of strategies.

    1. for small and frequent files I use Dropbox

    2. for large long term storage Vantec Nexstar dual drive USB2 enclosures running RAID 1 (mirroring without parity or striping). I have 5 of these enclosures with 1TB drives in each for a total of 5GB of mirrored storage (mostly my timelapse photo library). As they are not almost full, I will simply upgrade one box to 2x2TB or 2x3TB and it will scale nicely.

    3. for large local storage I have two 1TB drives mirrored with standard mirror (Win7 x64)

    4. for system drive, I use 64gb SSD that I re-image from a backup image once per month to ensure an nice clean system all the time :)))

  186. rg

    I use Carbonite on all my computers.

  187. Grump

    Windows Home Server 2011 on an HP EX485 server with 6tb of HDD does nightly backups of all computers.

    Saving for 6tb of external HDD to backup up server.

  188. JoRosenhain

    This is a problem as I still only back up to an external hard drive.
    Would like to know more about cloud backup.
    Should know better as we lost everything in a house fire some years ago (home office).
    Your info on this would be great.

  189. mari z


  190. mari z

    i use carbonite

  191. Clarence

    Daily back ups over a network using a batch file I wrote, then once a month backups to a CD-ROM. Have two storage folders that keep track of what needs backup and back both up once a month then delete the older one. That way I have double copies of all my stuff. Works pretty good. Don’t back up apps. just data then when I have to reinstall, it’s a simple matter of selecting the latest data back up files.

  192. Dov Todd

    My iMac has a permanently dedicated hard drive for backups, it’s on automatic and I never touch it. I have actually on a few occasions gone back to an older file to restore a file when a file mysteriously disappeared from my desktop, maybe I accidentally spaced it, and I was just so relieved that I had a backup of everything on my desktop.

    However, even though I have two portable hard drives for my Macbook laptop (I recently purchased them in the past month, the MacBook itself I purchased some 3 months ago), I am still working on how to get the backups organized, I am not in the habit yet of staying on top of this and have to figure out how to make this as convenient as possible so that I’d be more likely to do it and on a more regular basis. I cannot leave them continually attached to the laptop, the same way that I can with my iMac desktop, because I am always carrying my laptop around with me while I never move my desktop. And it’s just so easy not to be on top of this. I really wish there was a way, like a portable hard drive that could be attached to the back of the laptop. Or maybe, even, I wonder, is there such a thing a wireless portable hard drive? I doubt it. I could just put down my laptop near a wireless backup portable hard drive and the backup would be automatic. But the laptop would probably have to be turned on first before that wireless backup could happen, so the hassle factor is still going to be there, albeit in reduced fashion. That’s probably pure fantasy, but I haven’t really looked at this possibility yet.

    I don’t trust USB flash drives as much as I trust portable hard drives, but USB drives are much less of a hassle (much more lightweight), I lost all of my data on one USB drive (it won’t mount anymore). But I still need to use USB drives on occasion, and I now always buy USB drives in sets of two and try to remember to back up and additionally to backup the same files on both USB drives.

  193. Dov Todd

    I forgot to mention this in my above post from a minute ago, I think that in the near future I will research the possibility of making use of cloud backup for my laptop, that might be the answer I’ve really been seeking all along but I still need to learn a lot more about that. I’m far more familiar with the use of hard drives. I still don’t know of a single person in my life anywhere who uses cloud backups.

  194. Dov Todd

    I think that one thing that might be holding me back from pursuing the idea of cloud backups more aggressively is that I’m worried about hacking. Credit card numbers, passwords, you name it, they get hacked all the time online. I’ve yet to see anything that tells me that cloud backups are more secure than any other way of storing info online.

  195. lagerea

    Custom built JBOD box with 47ishTB and a little program I wrote to cycle the data between drives with a 1-5 priority scale I set on each file whenever the drives are idle for a set amount of time. I’m not a big fan of P2P which is what most think when I show them the setup, it’s mostly storage for R&D projects.

  196. Ginny Rock

    I use Acronis and do an image. I use two alternate external drives.

  197. Jack

    CrashPlan for several machines, some on DropBox. CrashPlan backs up to one set of mirrored disks on one Linux box. I backup nothing (other than what is in DropBox) Offsite.

    Some of my ‘static data’ I back up to CDs or DVDs occasionally.

    I don’t used ‘cloud’ backups mainly because I have very low bandwidth, and ‘real broadband’ is not available in this area.

  198. Jim

    If I am dealing w/ a windows machine I will…
    first and foremost…use the MFG S.ware 2 burn a OS reinstall set/programs-drivers disc
    ~windows 7 has a nice repair disc if you search for repair disc in the main menu…burn it & possibly use it 2 repair the boot menu(also might wipe ur grub)…
    Using ninite, and a half dozen other programs it only takes me 2.5 hrs. 2 restore a powerful windows machine, 2 hours more for a clean backup…BTW never forget a clean registry backup…
    **note an actual system restore wether from system restore disc or partition will let you restore to a certain amount of HDD space, and I use the leftover for a shared NTFS volume & Linux swap/boot/( / )/media space…
    ***worthy 2 note that the restore on my acer a couple of months ago never touched my custom boot loader…I was extatic I didn’t have to wade through RTFM of grub/grub2 wiki running from a live disk 2 reinstall the grub…(btw I use grub legacy 4 the encrypted PW-grub2 2 load the newest kernal so I can uninstall the old(after a few weeks)
    ***Also worthy 2 note…grub of any kind that I have used usually has a link 2 the restore partition…so you don’t have to guess which Fct. key to press upon login, which is rarely clear in the man…
    Windows 7 also has a really nice && very functionally easy 2 use 4 Noobs…create an incremental B.up on a schedule, and get access to ur files any time you need them…then maybe compress them…based on the circumstances…
    I can’t afford 7 yet and I got vista 4 free I am using a shareware title from download of the day that will hopefully do the same thing…
    Linux Ubuntu/Debian has the same functionality in Deja’Dupe incremental image backup…
    if backing up a Linux sys…I always backup the sources.lst/boot files like menu.lst…/
    The 2 basic ways of creating a Linux Cmd line style are…
    archive… .tgz .bz2 Open-source archive containers…
    Use RSYNC & CRON 2 manually set a scheduled image backup…which is basically what deja’dupe is anyways…
    I also use the program APTonCD 2 backup my package cache as soon as I am done installing all of my programs…then if I can’t get online, and need my pkg cache back I can restore it from disc, which I saved an image of…Also I like to go in2 synaptic pkg mgr and go 2 file>>>save markings as…save it 2 external drive…so that after a reinstall all updates/upgrades & added software will be marked when you read the markings and hit apply…
    also using the gconf-editor to backup the Linux(Ubuntu) registry is much the same as doing it in Windows…
    I keep a current markings list, cache b.up…selective files, and I mount my home folder directories AUTO so I can backup my linux media files w/in Windows…I hope 2 afford cloud storage big enough some day, but for right now that is out of my reach…

  199. Nancy Ward

    1. I have a separate hard drive (WD MyBook) connected to my computer. I save all my data to this drive.

    2. I use Windows Home Server to back up all four of my computers. The Server is built of mostly older parts; however, the motherboard, RAM and hard drives are all used for the first time in this machine.

    3. I have several (8 or 9 at last count) jump/flash/thumb drives. I keep particularly sensitive data on these, so it’s backed up three times.

    Redundent, but it works for me.

  200. Kathie

    ClickFree. I back it up maybe once a month; more often when I think of it. Immediately when my computer suddenly acts weird. Works well for me.

  201. Phylis Sophical

    I do an image with Macrium Reflex whenever I reformat and update all programs. Use Karen’s Replicator for daily backups to Firelite external drive, then once a month to 500 GB Verbatim drive. Backup to DVD’s twice a year and keep them off site.

  202. Greg O'Neil

    rsync baby!

  203. Martinho Neves

    I use Second Copy 8 to sync my data between my computer harddrive and my 500GB external HD. both disk are encrypted with truecrypt.

    I Sync everyday

  204. astral_cyborg

    For files of my job, I use dropbox and I synchronize them with a folder inside dropbox of my pc.
    For other important files, I send them through e-mail to myself for archiving (thanks to large mail server storage of the main web mail services). For larger files, I use a 4 GB USB memory stick to transfer them to/from my pc.

    For personal files, I duplicate them in another folder of my hard disk and I synchronize it (using SyncBack) with external hard disk (180 GB external 2.5″). I use the same method for various application settings files.

    My music folder is synchronized in separate hard disk (360 GB external 2.5″). My movies folder in another separate hard disk (500 GB internal 3.5″ but with external cable adapter).

    For video series or other stuff I use DVD recordable discs, but I don’t trust generally the DVD technology, as many of my DVD’s (of various brand names) are not completely readable after some time (cyclic redundancy errors), even if their surface is clean.

  205. MADIII

    I’m a relative beginner and wanting to make sure I don’t run into any data loss problems or spending a lot of money, the decision was easy… MOZY!!

  206. BilboD81

    For important data, business and data that cannot be replaced, 1 main and 4 backup (daily); Secondary Hard Drive, USB, Laptop and IDrive (online). All other data backed up weekly to Secondary Hard Drive

  207. Liz

    ha ha, just had hard drive failure on the company server, files corrupted. Luckily I do a once a week back up to two separate externals which are straight forward copy and paste, I then use a program called beyond compare to synchronise updated data which generally goes pretty quickly, once a month one of the externals is totally backed up and taken off site while the other randomly synchronises from day to day. I do this manually as I find with windows “automatic” works when it feels like it.

  208. Jim

    I don’t trust the cloud. I back up periodically to 2 external hard drives. One uses a laptop hard drive so it’s small. I take that one to work and keep it in a locked cabinet at my desk. This way in case of a fire I still have a backup remotely.

  209. Nemecio Lago

    Cloud backup in Google Docs with DocsSync. Also backup Google Docs in my Pc and synchronize with others computers.

  210. Hisa

    I prefer the hands on approach. I have two TB harddrives (just upgraded my last 500 GB) that are mirrors of themselves. Every couple of years, one is upgraded incase one decides to wave the white flag a little earlier than expected. They are only accessed when additional data is needed to be added or old data has been updated to attempt to keep them from dying and early death.

    All extremely sensitive data is backed up onto flash drives and DVDs and stored in a “lock box” (happily, my most sensitive data is now hidden safely in an incredibly obscure location thanks to an article from HowToGeek!) ^^

    It might be old fashioned, but I don’t feel comfortable having other people or websites handle my data. I just won’t put my finances or financial future into the hands of an anonymous website host and webmaster.

  211. Mike M

    I use ClickFree a really super backup device. Works like a champ. It has been demonstated at the last 2 Consumer Electronic Shows in Las Vegas

  212. Dan8685

    I have used Carbonite for a few years and am very happy with it. It has worked through 3 different hard drive reformat or replacements now and I have been very pleased with the results. I am a little put off with them because they won’t offer a good discount to cover a second computer we have. (laptop)

  213. TimMillerGeek

    We have a $100 1 TB Buffalo NAS drive for media storage (and can stream straight to our Blu-Ray from it). I use cloud storage for low priority files, Drop Box for sharing pics and docs with family and fellow geeks & geekettes and a 500 GB USB drive that is encrypted with TrueCrypt for the stuff that I need to keep secure. I have about 3 TB of storage in various forms and use it all.

  214. IGHITST

    Windows Home Server automatically backs up my home network (6 desktops and one laptop). If the house burns down, I would be in trouble since I do not back up my WHS. There are options, I just haven’t implemented one of them.

  215. Anthony

    I would do the backup first and then the defrag.

  216. ATLCR

    The past is the past…

    I image my drives every few months or so.

    For my important documents, I store them all in folders and have Syncron back them up every day at noon. That way, I have a working copy of my self-employment files and also have an easy way to restore my system in the case of failure. (HD or otherwise)

    I use Clonezilla to make my disk images.

    All my emails have redundancy through the art of forwarding. Everything goes through gmail for the great postini spam filtering and every email is sent to at least two other mailboxes. If gmail ever crashes, I have my old email offline through Outlook. If that fails, I still have my business emails at the original email address. And if that fails, then that means the world really is ending and it’s time to take shelter, or build a potato gun.

  217. Steven Shaffer

    I have a home server where I store and centrally share to my machines. I have 4 raid0 pairs of hard drives. I built it several years ago with 8- 500gig hard drives. I have slowly began to upgrade and replace these with 2TB drives now that they are in the $79 price range. I have some very important documents and such that I also store in the cloud using Windows Live Sync. I use this program also to sync files between my desktop,laptop, and server.

  218. Buffet

    Acronis True Image.

  219. sVen

    With less than 5GB of pics/docs to backup, I just put them on disks. I save pics in PNG, for very little loss.

  220. paleolith

    I image with MACRIUM REFLECT as well as PING. PING is superb because the image is created with only the CD, i.e., Windows is not in use.

    I use BACK4SURE for file backups. BACK4SURE saves the files in native format which is important to me.

    I use DOUBLE DRIVER for driver backups.

    I save an external USB hard drive.

    I am imaging less because a Windows 7 is a much quicker and easier reinstall than XP.

  221. Darren

    I use acronis to a 8TB Raid-ed NAS which gives me about 5.4TB or redundant storage. My main PC is just under 2TB and I image it once in a which, but rely on acronis to do it’s thing with live backup. I have had several hard drives fail on both the NAS and PC. This configuration has saved me every time.
    I amson IT, but mess around with film and image editing. It’s my livelihood and hobby (so I tell myself). The data is important to me.

  222. Darren

    Excuse my typos. I hate the predictive text on my iphone.

  223. TheBigOldDog

    I’ve tried everything from the DAT tapes to imaging to an external drive via Ghost and True Image on a schedule. I’ve even used products like Goback.

    The most reliable method I have found by far to backup my system- data and all – is Windows Home Server. It works beautifully. It’s reliable. It provides nightly snapshots. I can mount the images and pickoff individual files to restore or I can restore the whole machine to any number of snapshots saved. It saves space when backing up multiple computers by only copying the data that’s different. So, instead of saving X copies of Windows 7 as part of its backups for X machines, it stores 1 plus the differences. WHS v1 (can’t speak for V2 AKA Vale) is just a phenomenal backup system. I go one set further by savings the WHS backups to an external drive via a free WHS add-on.

  224. BigDan

    SyncToy to an external. It’s easy, it’s fast and it’s free!

  225. aidin toussi

    0- be “carefull” for dangers
    1- saving data on the other drive ( d: , e:, non c: )
    2- backup my important data on external HDD .
    3- use a backup software system like “acronis” or “norton ghoast”

  226. Roger

    This is a home situation – but it’s where we run our business from.

    PCs run SecCopy which auto backs up all data files (incl Outlook) every few hours to a another area (folder or partion or disk) on the same same PC and keeping the last 5 copies. This protects against deleting or screwing up files.

    A couple of times a day, this backup (but not the copies) is auto backed up to at least one other PC. One PC at least has -all- the backup copies. This handles the case where a hard disk goes bad.

    Every week I pull out the 1TB backup disk from the car, manually do a synch of the PC with all the backup copies, then put it back in the car (it always stays in the car!). This is auto encrypted by TrueCrypt (using facilities in SecCopy). This handles fire, burglary, etc.

    This is how I protect about 500GB of data.

    Plus now I’m using Dropbox and Skydrive to save my ‘critical’ data – but 2GB or 50MB files don’t really work so well.

    Interesting times! :)

  227. John Parrish

    I use “Share & Store” from my ISP (Centurylink), I have 400GB of photos and documents backed up.

  228. Darron Sellick

    I have two backup servers with raid to back up all my other computers. 1 server for programs and files, the other server for multi media. then both the servers also have external hards drives were the backup servers are backup and then taken off site incase of fires or floods.

  229. simon h

    Just had a virus which wiped out all network connectivity when I deleted the infected files (and XP repair reinstall didnt fix the @#$% problem!). I use Cobian to automatically back up data files from 2 pc’s to each other, and it also backs up critical items daily to a Dropbox folder for online syncing. I WISH I had used Seagate DiskWizard (the free version of Acronis) to make images of these two machines onto an external drive. It is such a fantastic program I think I might buy the real thing, as I have used it many times to image and install XP in maybe 20 school machines .. takes about 20 minutes each once you have a good setup on one machine. Diskwizard has an override if you dont have a Seagate drive.

  230. Robert

    I have a Seagate One Touch 600 Gig USB hard drive.

    Once a month, I delete the existing backup and create
    a new backup via Paragon Backup & Recovery.

    It seems to work very well. Paragaon also allowed me to create
    a recovery boot disc.

    The acid test of course is when I need it,
    will it work.

    I have no way of knowing until I have to do it.

    Right ?????????

  231. Robin Hood

    First image the drive then install as master and slave (or if using SATA they will prioritise). Put a wallpaper on the slave saying “if you see this panic!” Then using Shadowcopy set up a daily copy of the important data onto the slave in directories Mon Tue Wed etc. – 5 sheduled tasks required.
    If the main drive gets a virus it won’t transfer to the slave and if the master fails the slave will automatically boot (if it is SATA) and warn of the failure. it is also proof against accidental deletions and preserving programs for which you don’t have the disks any more.

  232. ozymandias


  233. Wes W.

    Ubuntu server running CrashPlan on a RAID 5 array of 3×1.5TB Samsungs. Dropbox for the small stuff.

  234. tony

    PC and laptop synced together, both synced with a media player. Once per month I backup my data to an external hard drive and leave it in my locked desk at work. Once per year when I go home to my parents I take a drive with me and leave it there. (I really do not want to loose the 200GBof photos/videos of my kids growing up)

  235. tony

    A lot of people on this list do not seam to be making offsite backups. Bad idea. Your raid/NAS whatever is fine but what if your PC and NAS both get stolen…

  236. Dave

    I use Acronis on a weekly run.
    I back up the C drive which only has Win7 and other software installed.

    All my data, emails private work etc etc is covered by D drive, this is also backed up weekly.

    If I install software and it makes a mess of my system, I just re-install C drive. This saves time and is no real problem.

    All back ups are onto any of the other 3 (E, F, G) drives which I have installed.

  237. Dave

    I agree with Tony, it does not have to be stolen you could have a fire of a complete burn out of the PC.

    Monthly, I copy all backups to a mortable hard drive, but only keep it in the house as I am retired, off stie is not an option, but the safe is fireproof (I hope).

  238. David M.

    I use (2) SATA external docks and (1) (custom engineered) IDE dock. I have (1) 2 Tb SATA for server backups, (1) 320Gb SATA for the support desk PC and the sales PC backups, (1) 1 Tb SATA for my box, and (1) 500 Gb IDE for 2 other PCs. Everything gets backed up weekly (minimum) and put in a media safe inside a firerated file cabinet.

  239. august

    I use Syncrify to backup from my laptop’s HD to an external one.
    From the product site:
    “Syncrify is fast, incremental, and cloud-ready backup that implements the rsync protocol over HTTP.”

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