Tag Archives: Backups

Moving to Windows 7

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The Roller Coast of Upgrading

I have finally done two things for my computer and online environment that I’ve been contemplating for a very long time: Upgrading to Windows 7 and Moving to a new Web Hosting service. (Moving to a new host will be described in another post.)

When Microsoft Vista came out, there were a great many reports and issues involved with this transitional operating system, and many of those did not like what they seem trapped with when they bought their new machines, and many corporations refused to move to Vista.

Even with time, service packs and patches, Vista never seem to be ready for prime time, so when Windows 7 came out in October of 2009, many people were even more anxious about this new operating system. Would this new operating system be a similar public relations disaster?

As more and more people used and reviewed Windows 7, it became clear, the Microsoft had learned from their earlier mistakes.

Personally, I had said to myself many a times, that I was going to wait till I got a new computer before I made the switch to Windows 7 on my primary machines, but that thinking got squashed when Adobe announced that Lightroom 4 would only run in Windows 7.

To my knowledge, this was the first mainstream application that required the use of Windows 7, and since I rely heavily on Lightroom, I had to reevaluate my thinking and my pocketbook.

So after freeing up some time and getting all business related activity done, I set about the task of backing up my system and beginning the migration to this new operating system.

I had not done a fresh install of my main computer in many years, so I was very concerned that I was able to keep my various settings, as well as applications that I had grown very fond of over the years.

I made backups of backups, hunted down preference settings and serial numbers, and finally made the switch.

After booting into my fresh operating system, I noticed my machines seem to be responding quicker to normal tasks which was quite pleasant.

I am still amazed the amount of time  necessary for our newly installed machine, which easily reaches 200+ patches, if one includes Microsoft Office, but once done it is like driving a new car, but without that unique scent (some would argue there is a different scent…).

At the moment, my single biggest issue with doing the upgrade, has been the restoration of my files, and this has to do mostly with my usage of Robocopy and User Account Control (UAC).

In the past, using Robocopy was a matter of learning the various command-line switches and writing your script accordingly, and for the most part, this still holds true, but one still needs to manually increase their privileges for the script to work.

This can easily be done, by typing in “cmd” in the program search field, and then holding the “Shift” key, as one right clicks, and selects “Run as administrator”.

I do need to spend some more time to get my backup scripts running with the same robocopy scripts but at the moment I’m happy doing it manually.

At least, I know they are running and completed.

All in all I had been very pleased with the upgrade, and does seem to increase the life of some of your existing computer equipment, assuming you can find compatible drivers.

If for nothing more, you now have a lot longer period till you have to worry about Microsoft no longer supporting your operating system! (See Microsoft Product Lifecycle for XP)

– Andrew
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Half-Full or Half-Empty Hard Drive?

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Over the past couple of weeks, I have been slowly consolidating Hard Drive space within my home-office network.

Because of my background as an backup administrator, I am especially concerned and focused on having redundant copies of data, just in case.

Murphy would be proud…

With that being said, I looked at my various existing 100GB-250GB internal and external hard drives that were sprawled all over the place, and bought a couple of TB hard drives.

Then the fun part, looking at the life cycle of the house data.

There is current local stuff, the Live Data for the house, and then the Secondary Backup.

Next was writing the various robocopy scripts, and making sure I use /e and /mir correctly…

Several more days of data transfer, I finally think I have ALL the data in a nice consolidated fashion!

For the first time in 5+ years, I have everything on one Hard Drive!

Yeah!

But now, as I now am analyzing the capacity of the Live Data drive, I find myself evaluating the situation.

Is my new Half-Full or Half-Empty?

In my 30 plus years of IT, very rarely, have I heard of a hard drive referred to as Half-Empty.

Seems that the when we talk about technology and storage, we tend to be optimistic!

When was the last time your thumb drive Half-Empty? or that CD/DVD that you just burned… Half-Empty?

When was the last time you checked your backup?

Thoughts?

– Andrew
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Backupify.com – First Look

One of my readers pointed this out to me last week. (Thanks Steve!)

Backupify, which uses Amazon “cloud” as the backup medium, so everything is done online, and quickly!

What makes this service unique, as compared to services like iBackup, is that Backupify only backs up your online life.

As of this blog entry, Backupify supports the following services:

  • Flickr
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Zoho
  • Google Docs
  • Photobucket
  • WordPress

and is in Beta for:

  • Basecamp
  • Gmail
  • Facebook
  • FriendFeed
  • Blogger
  • Hotmail

with the following “soon to come“:

  • Youtube
  • Xmarks
  • RssFeed
  • Tumblr

Now until February 15th, Backupify is offering a “Free Account Giveaway”.

Setup

Sign up is quick, and does not require much more then a Name, eMail address and a Password, and your in, but you will need to Verify your email address.

From there, you are presented with a “Dashboard” of services to configure.

Setting up a Flickr was a simple as using the wizard to connect, basically UserName and Password (going through your Yahoo account). Done.

With WordPress, I had to download a zipped (.zip) plug-in, and up-zipped it.

There is no “Read Me” file, or simple what to do next.

I opened the enclosed “wp-backupify.php” file, and in reading, it appears at first glance that this type of backup is if you host your own WordPress environment.

It would have been nice if Backupify had said something along these lines. (Will investigate later… maybe…)

Gmail is another enter UserName and Password, with a “Please read this before setting up your Gmail account”, that when followed, only states that “Gmail Backup Temporarily Disabled” which was posted December 23, 2009. (Merry Christmas!)

When I checked my email later, I did get notification that: “Gmail backup has been throttled back to once every 3 days until we finish implementing new changes to support the high volume of Gmail backups

Facebook is the standard “Connect to your Facebook account”, asks for permissions, and then allows you to choose what you want to backup: Photos, Friends, Statuses, Links, Notes and Events. You also have the ability to add another Facebook account.

Since I do not have any other accounts offered, I went down to “Backup Settings”, which is very primitive.

You only get a frequency: Weekly vs. Daily, and a Notification email settings: Every time, Daily, Weekly or Do Not, then you click “Save”. My settings are the Default: Daily & Daily.

From the main Dashboard, you can select the “Archive” tab and which service to look at.

I found that my Flickr images have already been backed up!

When I check Facebook, it only appears that my images have been backed up, even though, I had selected the Default settings of everything (see above), upon further review, there are other files, namely XML files.

The Dashboard “History” tab says everything was successful.

Restore

On the surface, it looks like that information is available, but trying to Restore your online life is going to take some time.

Images are readily available from Flickr and Facebook backups, but your content from Facebook is saved as a XML file (.xml), but as of this writing, I am not sure how one would integrate this back into a Facebook account.

Conclusion

The Backupify does do what it says. It backs up your files. Period.

The question that I have, and you should also, how does one do a Restore?

The Testimonials only talk about Backing up, but that is only half of the issue.

Having been a Enterprise Backup Administrator for several years, I would like to see some more controls, and some more documentation.

To be fair, I have not spent allot of time trying to find this info at the Backupify site, but at the same time, the info is not right in front of you, and trust me, when you are facing potential data lose, you do NOT want to be running around trying to figure out what to do.

Another thing that is not easily apparent, is the cost of the Service.

I did find one link that suggested I could find Costs, but it made me sign up, and I still can not easily find an answer.

In searching the FAQ, the word “Cost” only appears once, and if you carefully read the FAQ, it does hint at some of my concerns with a Restoration.

To me, there is also a feeling of scare tactics, but this might be the way that I personally handle my data.

My Facebook data is disposable. I have a backup of my images in my local environment, and if there is something important, I deal with it locally.

In regards to the backup from Images services (Flickr, etc.), at least in my work-flow, I have everything Local, then I post, so I already have a backup so to speak.

I maybe missing something here, but at this point, I am not sure how long I will keep my Free Backupify account.

Please let me know your thoughts.

– Andrew
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