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How Much Should You Back Up Your Data and What is the Likelihood of Drive Failure?

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Posted · Original PosterOP

So I've been doing some research into how much people backup their data and what the odds are of their backups actually coming in handy, as I've never really understood the whole backup culture that exists in the tech world. I have no backups of any of my files and thankfully I've never needed one, so I decided to do some research and make a video on the subject. So I just want to know, if you are aware of the percentages and likelihoods of different types of drives failing, please do let me know, and also let me know if you backup your data, if you do, what kind of data is it, and how much do you recommend both normal PC users and more advance users backup their data?


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umm..... backblaze drive stats??

literally a backup company that tells you all of this.,

they publish stats quarterly

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Think of backups as insurance. Ideally, you will never need to use your insurance but, should the worst ever happen, you will be darned glad you had it.

 

Just because you have been lucky enough to have never needed to restore from a backup so far doesn't mean you never will. Any data storage media, no matter the age, quality, or type (SSD, HDD, floppy disks, stone tablets), is subject to sudden, irrecoverable data loss. Added to that are storms, fires, power surges, etc. that can damage or destroy your storage media, theft of the media, user error (such as accidental deletion), and vuses and other malware that get through and AVs or antimalware programs you may have.

 

Your data's ONLY protection from these potential disasters is to back up your data. For data to be reasonably safe it must exist in at least three, separate places. Typically, that is on the computer, on an onsite backup drive, and on an offsite backup drive. For a backup drive to be a true back up, it must be kept powered dowm disconnected from the computer, and stored somewhere out of sight of the computer. Any "backup" drive that is kept connected to the computer or is even installed in the computer will also be subject to the same dangers that can affect the drives in the computer, especially viruses or other malware (such as ransomware). This rules out automatic backup schemes since they require that the backup media be kept powered up and connected to the computer at all times.

 

The thing to keep in mind when determining the frequency of updating backups is that any data that is not backed up at the time of a disaster cannot be recovered. If the data you add or change on a computer cannot be reasonably easily replaced should disaster strikes, then it should be backed up immediately. If you do not add or change data very often or added data is fairly easily replaced, then the interval between backups can be increased. The actual interval between backup updates will vary from person to person and will vary for each person according to how critical data being added or changed is at the time. I've been known to update backups several times in a day and to go as long as a month without updating my backups.

 

One other note: RAID in itself IS NOT A BACKUP! It is redundancy. All redundancy will do is protect you from drive failure. It will still be susceptible to data loss from other dangers already mentioned. This is not to say RAID is not a good thing. It is invaluable for when it is necessary (or even just desirable) that a computer can keep running without data loss should a drive fail. RAID can even be part of a backup solution (such as a NAS) as long as that solution is kept powered down, disconnected from the computer, and stored out of sight of the computer.

 

 


Jeannie

 

As long as anyone is oppressed, no one will be safe and free.

One has to be proactive, not reactive, to ensure the safety of one's data so backup your data! And RAID is NOT a backup!

 

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Don't play the odds game.  If tomorrow your HDD dies, it's not going to matter that the annual failure rate for that model is 0.1%.   Your data will still be gone. 

There are several people here who found this out the hard way. 

 

How often you do backups depends on your usage pattern, and of course how much work you are prepared to lose if your HDD/SSD suddenly dies.

 

Some things, like movies for example, I don't mind losing because I can always re-rip the Blu-rays etc.  That's just not worth the cost of the drives on which I'd store the backups. 

Other things, like my personal data, are so important that their weekly backups' backups have offsite backups. 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
On 9/3/2019 at 8:21 PM, Captain Chaos said:

Don't play the odds game.  If tomorrow your HDD dies, it's not going to matter that the annual failure rate for that model is 0.1%.   Your data will still be gone. 

There are several people here who found this out the hard way. 

 

How often you do backups depends on your usage pattern, and of course how much work you are prepared to lose if your HDD/SSD suddenly dies.

 

Some things, like movies for example, I don't mind losing because I can always re-rip the Blu-rays etc.  That's just not worth the cost of the drives on which I'd store the backups. 

Other things, like my personal data, are so important that their weekly backups' backups have offsite backups. 

There's also a lot of other horrible things that can happen to us everyday, but we don't do anything about it as the odds are as low as of drive failure. So where's the difference?


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Sure, a lot of horrible things can happen.  However when it comes to data loss there is an easy way to either prevent it from happening or to minimize the impact.

 

Yeah, I probably could rebuild and recreate almost everything if I ever were to lose my most important data.  However it would take at least a year (of 40-hour work weeks) to do so, and it still wouldn't bring back the photos and videos of all the people and pets I've lost over the years.  Those can't be replaced, so I'd rather not lose them to begin with.

 

As I said before, a lot of people here found out about the importance of backups the hard way.  If you want to join that club someday, be my guest. 

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It comes down to the data you want to protect. How much value does it have to you... this can be monetary or sentimental. Is it something you are ok with losing? If so then I would say backing up isn't really worth it. If there is value to it, then it becomes a matter of how much redundancy or backup you want. You just weight the costs of losing the data vs the cost to keep a backup. In most cases a 2-3tb drive is enough for most users and that might set you back 65-70 bucks. You can also elect to do cloud storage which is also pretty affordable and normally will set you back around a 50-150 annually. 

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3 hours ago, avrona said:

There's also a lot of other horrible things that can happen to us everyday, but we don't do anything about it as the odds are as low as of drive failure. So where's the difference?

Seriously. You are using the fact that you don't do anything about it nowto justify not doing anything about it? 🙄

 

If you value your data, you need to be backing it up. Just because the risk is low doesn't mean it won't happen. As Captain Chaos pointed out, several people here have learned that the hard way (I've seen it numerous times on other forums as well). Also, drive failure is not the only thing that can wipe out your data (go back and read my previous post). Frankly, I'm sick and tired of people posting wanting to know how to recover lost data because they didn't have it backed up.

 

Data recovery is usually very expensive, if it can even be recovered, usually costing several thousands of dollars. Trying to recover it yourself is more likely to cause you to lose the data permanently than not. The ONLY way to make sure your data is reasonably safe is to BACK IT UP!


Jeannie

 

As long as anyone is oppressed, no one will be safe and free.

One has to be proactive, not reactive, to ensure the safety of one's data so backup your data! And RAID is NOT a backup!

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
17 hours ago, Lady Fitzgerald said:

Seriously. You are using the fact that you don't do anything about it nowto justify not doing anything about it? 🙄

 

If you value your data, you need to be backing it up. Just because the risk is low doesn't mean it won't happen. As Captain Chaos pointed out, several people here have learned that the hard way (I've seen it numerous times on other forums as well). Also, drive failure is not the only thing that can wipe out your data (go back and read my previous post). Frankly, I'm sick and tired of people posting wanting to know how to recover lost data because they didn't have it backed up.

 

Data recovery is usually very expensive, if it can even be recovered, usually costing several thousands of dollars. Trying to recover it yourself is more likely to cause you to lose the data permanently than not. The ONLY way to make sure your data is reasonably safe is to BACK IT UP!

I do value my data, yet still I don't back it up, simply because there still doesn't seem to be a need for it. The closest I do to it is what I like to call "unintentional backups", which actually protected me from the only data loss I've experienced. 


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Check out my channel if you are interested in tech I guess: https://www.youtube.com/c/avrona

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4 hours ago, avrona said:

I do value my data, yet still I don't back it up, simply because there still doesn't seem to be a need for it. The closest I do to it is what I like to call "unintentional backups", which actually protected me from the only data loss I've experienced. 

I'm simply flabbergasted by how many people like you simply can't grasp the need for backups (or are too stubborn to). Sadly, too many will never grasp it until after they suffer a catastrophic loss. 


Jeannie

 

As long as anyone is oppressed, no one will be safe and free.

One has to be proactive, not reactive, to ensure the safety of one's data so backup your data! And RAID is NOT a backup!

 

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3 minutes ago, Pyramiden said:

I don't need car insurance. I think I am a great driver, and the chances of me hitting someone and paying damages for the rest of both of our lives are so small. It is basically a waste of money.

 

My sarcasm sense is tingling.

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17 hours ago, avrona said:

I do value my data, yet still I don't back it up, simply because there still doesn't seem to be a need for it. The closest I do to it is what I like to call "unintentional backups", which actually protected me from the only data loss I've experienced. 

Data loss can have more causes other than your harddrive failing. Recently I deleted some minecraft worlds I thought I had backed up to my nas already, but they were not... Mistakes happen, and way more often than drives failing as indeed storage has become very reliable over the years. Ive only ever experienced one drive failure, which was a win xp laptop i got from a friend so i dont know what he did with it before i got it from him. 

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my 2TB drive with all my pics on it (I do hobby photography) failed within a weekend and already corrupted a good amount of data when i noticed it. Hadn't I backed it up regularly, I would have lost all my pics because while trying to get the data off (just to have a second backup) the drive destroyed itself more or less. So ... I'd rather invest the double amount for having it safe...


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8 hours ago, Pyramiden said:

I don't need car insurance. I think I am a great driver, and the chances of me hitting someone and paying damages for the rest of both of our lives are so small. It is basically a waste of money.

 

8 hours ago, noxdeouroboros said:

My sarcasm sense is tingling.

I hope it's sarcasm. You wouldn't believe how many people actually believe that.


Jeannie

 

As long as anyone is oppressed, no one will be safe and free.

One has to be proactive, not reactive, to ensure the safety of one's data so backup your data! And RAID is NOT a backup!

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
On 9/8/2019 at 1:18 AM, Lady Fitzgerald said:

I'm simply flabbergasted by how many people like you simply can't grasp the need for backups (or are too stubborn to). Sadly, too many will never grasp it until after they suffer a catastrophic loss. 

Ever considered it's not that I can't grasp it or that I'm too stubborn, but rather just because it really isn't that needed?


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32 minutes ago, avrona said:

Ever considered it's not that I can't grasp it or that I'm too stubborn, but rather just because it really isn't that needed?

Well there are two types of people. Those who want their data and those who don’t care. You sound like you fall into the don’t care category. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have asked this question. 

 

So for you, backups aren’t needed...at least until you finally lose something you don’t want that is. Only then is it that you might convert over one day. 


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Posted · Original PosterOP
2 hours ago, SSD Sean said:

Well there are two types of people. Those who want their data and those who don’t care. You sound like you fall into the don’t care category. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have asked this question. 

 

So for you, backups aren’t needed...at least until you finally lose something you don’t want that is. Only then is it that you might convert over one day. 

But what are the odds of that though, especially since I do have some sort of backup, but it's from what I like to call "unintentional backups" which is when you do something that results in a backup even though it's never been a goal of yours to have it. Unintentional backups actually protected me from my only ever data loss.


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You can lose data due to so many things. The odds vary on too many factors for any random poll result to have any true value towards what you are looking for.  

 

So, you said it yourself that you do in fact backup. It may not be intentional, but you still have a back up, do you not?

 

Whether or not you back up, your odds of data loss are the same. You can lose it to something as simple as an empty recycle bin action or a hardware failure destroying it in flight or on the storage medium itself.

 

One day I powered on my system that was working fine the night before, but after trying to boot nothing powered on. I pulled the SSDs out and found not only did my motherboard just die in my sleep, it took out one of my 2TB SSDs that had thousands of memories stored on it. Fortunately, I have a end of day backup that I perform before shutting down, but it would have been horrible losing everything. As well, if you start sorting and organizing everything, you can end up accidentally deleting things you didn’t mean to. You accidentally open a rogue website and get a crytpto-virus. Natural disasters. Random software glitches. Power outages. Want more examples? 

 

There’s no reason not to have a backup. It takes just minutes to seconds to backup to backup with something like free file sync and backup drives are very cheap. 


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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 minute ago, SSD Sean said:

You can lose data due to so many things. The odds vary on too many factors for any random poll result to have any true value towards what you are looking for.  

 

So, you said it yourself that you do in fact backup. It may not be intentional, but you still have a back up, do you not?

 

Whether or not you back up, your odds of data loss are the same. You can lose it to something as simple as an empty recycle bin action or a hardware failure destroying it in flight or on the storage medium itself.

 

One day I powered on my system that was working fine the night before, but after trying to boot nothing powered on. I pulled the SSDs out and found not only did my motherboard just die in my sleep, it took out one of my 2TB SSDs that had thousands of memories stored on it. Fortunately, I have a end of day backup that I perform before shutting down, but it would have been horrible losing everything. As well, if you start sorting and organizing everything, you can end up accidentally deleting things you didn’t mean to. You accidentally open a rogue website and get a crytpto-virus. Natural disasters. Random software glitches. Power outages. Want more examples? 

I do a backup of some sorts but again, it was never my goal. And what's great about it is that the files you often unintentionally back up happen to be the most important of your files anyway, such as putting some files you need to have access to a lot and from a lot of places going into the cloud. I am also a photographer, so after each shoot I got plenty of photos that need transferring over to my PC for long-term storage and editing, as it's not really practical to have to dig up some SD card whenever you want to look at a photo; same with videos after recording something to the channel. However since the SD cards I do use are rather big, I can allow myself to keep the original files on the card, so instead of moving all the new files, I copy them over, as I have a lot of uses for the files to still be on the SD card and on my camera.

 

And again, it's not just about naming examples or how many different things can happen, it's comes down to the question of how likely are those things really?


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25 minutes ago, avrona said:

I do a backup of some sorts but again, it was never my goal. And what's great about it is that the files you often unintentionally back up happen to be the most important of your files anyway, such as putting some files you need to have access to a lot and from a lot of places going into the cloud. I am also a photographer, so after each shoot I got plenty of photos that need transferring over to my PC for long-term storage and editing, as it's not really practical to have to dig up some SD card whenever you want to look at a photo; same with videos after recording something to the channel. However since the SD cards I do use are rather big, I can allow myself to keep the original files on the card, so instead of moving all the new files, I copy them over, as I have a lot of uses for the files to still be on the SD card and on my camera.

 

And again, it's not just about naming examples or how many different things can happen, it's comes down to the question of how likely are those things really?

If you want to gamble with your data because you think the chances of losing it are too low, then go for it but don't come crying when the unthinkable does happen (and, sooner or later, it will).

 

Actually, the chances are pretty high. As others here and I have pointed out, we have seen plenty of times when people have lost their data because they didn't have a solid backup scheme in place. Just becasue you have been very lucky so far doesn't mean you will continue to be lucky.

 

Btw, Sean works for a living testing and reveiwing SSDs, HDDs, etc. and has probably forgotten more about backups than any of us will ever know. You can ignore me if you want but you would be wise to heed what Sean has to say.

 

Then again, maybe you're just trolling to get a rise from us.

 

Edit: What the big, fat, holy, hairy heck is an "unintentional backup"?


Jeannie

 

As long as anyone is oppressed, no one will be safe and free.

One has to be proactive, not reactive, to ensure the safety of one's data so backup your data! And RAID is NOT a backup!

 

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27 minutes ago, avrona said:

I do a backup of some sorts but again, it was never my goal. And what's great about it is that the files you often unintentionally back up happen to be the most important of your files anyway, such as putting some files you need to have access to a lot and from a lot of places going into the cloud. I am also a photographer, so after each shoot I got plenty of photos that need transferring over to my PC for long-term storage and editing, as it's not really practical to have to dig up some SD card whenever you want to look at a photo; same with videos after recording something to the channel. However since the SD cards I do use are rather big, I can allow myself to keep the original files on the card, so instead of moving all the new files, I copy them over, as I have a lot of uses for the files to still be on the SD card and on my camera.

 

And again, it's not just about naming examples or how many different things can happen, it's comes down to the question of how likely are those things really?

I’m a photographer too!  You’re a business. How can you not have a simple, logical archival/backup methodology in place?

 

I notice that people also don’t usually unintentionally backup their data. And if they do like you are saying, then they are setting themselves up for headaches. Why complicate matters when you can simplify them? Storing everything on SD cards is not something I’d recommend. They fail too often and too randomly. Not to mention it can be costly and it’s hard to keep track of what’s where and so on. 

 

I like to think that if it doesn’t exist in three places, it doesn’t exist at all. The 3-2-1 rule is great to live by. I’ve lost data I thought I backed up to my backup’s backup, but didn’t. Anything can happen to your data at any time. Likelihood it can disappear forever - high. Just because you haven’t experienced much data loss yet, that doesn’t mean many haven’t either. Just look up various data recovery services, posts on the subject, drive failure. The more you know, the more you will understand data loss is highly likely for anyone because it varies soo much on so many factors.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
21 minutes ago, SSD Sean said:

I’m a photographer too!  You’re a business. How can you not have a simple, logical archival/backup methodology in place?

 

I notice that people also don’t usually unintentionally backup their data. And if they do like you are saying, then they are setting themselves up for headaches. Why complicate matters when you can simplify them? Storing everything on SD cards is not something I’d recommend. They fail too often and too randomly. Not to mention it can be costly and it’s hard to keep track of what’s where and so on. 

Because I don't need one, I'm actually in the process of starting up a whole new business and I most likely won't even have a backup for anything related to that, simply because there isn't a need for it, and the money isn't there to fund all that storage either. And some types of unintentional backups are rather popular, especially storing things in the cloud for the purpose of being able to access it from several locations, which in one form or another is becoming increasingly popular, and it's usually also the user's most important files being sent to the cloud as that's what they need to have access to the most, so it's a win-win.


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19 minutes ago, avrona said:

Because I don't need one, I'm actually in the process of starting up a whole new business and I most likely won't even have a backup for anything related to that, simply because there isn't a need for it, and the money isn't there to fund all that storage either. And some types of unintentional backups are rather popular, especially storing things in the cloud for the purpose of being able to access it from several locations, which in one form or another is becoming increasingly popular, and it's usually also the user's most important files being sent to the cloud as that's what they need to have access to the most, so it's a win-win.

Only an idiot thinks s/he doesn't need backups! Sorry to be so blunt and it's not my intent to insult you but facts are facts. Read these articles in these links for facts on the dangers of not having backups:

 

https://consoltech.com/blog/10-common-causes-of-data-loss/

 

https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/04/not-prepared-for-data-loss.html

 

https://www.dobson.net/4-reasons-why-businesses-need-to-regularly-back-up-information/

 

I could have posted dozens of links like this here but these three pretty much cover it. Also, what applies to businesses also applies to individuals.

 

Your "unintentional backups" are not particularly reliable, especially if using free or cheap cloud storage.


Jeannie

 

As long as anyone is oppressed, no one will be safe and free.

One has to be proactive, not reactive, to ensure the safety of one's data so backup your data! And RAID is NOT a backup!

 

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