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Safe Backup Strategy - Does Backblaze protect against bad sectors?

ItsGiusto
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I've been a Backblaze customer for several years, but I'm now wondering if this strategy is protecting me against my hard drive developing bad sectors. I think Backblaze keeps versions for only 30 days, so if a portion of the drive becomes unreadable for a long portion of time, then I think I'd only have 1 month to figure it out and respond. For data that I don't check on that often, perhaps this isn't safe, unless Backblaze notifies you if it can't access a sector of your hard drive. I don't know if it does, does anyone else know this?

 

What's a better strategy for (somewhat frugal) long-term maintenance of data I don't want to have to check in on frequently?

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Maybe buy another hard drive and back up the data physically yourself?

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9 minutes ago, ItsGiusto said:

...unless Backblaze notifies you if it can't access a sector of your hard drive. I don't know if it does, does anyone else know this?

As far as I know, their software just backs up data it's able to read from your drives, so if the data becomes unreadable, it'll backup an unreadable file. This is why you should have SMART monitoring software installed to detect when sectors start to become remapped on your drives so you can replace them as soon as possible.

 

10 minutes ago, ItsGiusto said:

What's a better strategy for (somewhat frugal) long-term maintenance of data I don't want to have to check in on frequently?

Um, if you're not checking on your backups regularly, ideally performing a full restore, then you "don't have a backup" - why? Because an untested backup is not a backup. Aside from testing backups, it's best to follow the 3-2-1 Backup Strategy for any mission-critical data you cannot easily reproduce or otherwise recover.

https://www.backblaze.com/blog/the-3-2-1-backup-strategy/

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10 minutes ago, Enderman said:

Maybe buy another hard drive and back up the data physically yourself?

Yeah, I am doing this now. But I'd rather have a method that's more "set-it-and-forget-it", so I don't have to remember to do this every so often.

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I use backintime on linux. this machine is a mATX with 4 sata ports. I have been buying an extra drive every 2 years so the ages are staggered. I also have different brands of drive. I do not use RAID. I keep each drive separate. Now all the sata ports are used ill prob rotate the drives with a new one when the time comes. I set it to keep daily snapshots. My data requirements are not huge, all my snapshots fit onto a single drive.

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21 minutes ago, kirashi said:

As far as I know, their software just backs up data it's able to read from your drives, so if the data becomes unreadable, it'll backup an unreadable file. This is why you should have SMART monitoring software installed to detect when sectors start to become remapped on your drives so you can replace them as soon as possible.

 

Um, if you're not checking on your backups regularly, ideally performing a full restore, then you "don't have a backup" - why? Because an untested backup is not a backup. Aside from testing backups, it's best to follow the 3-2-1 Backup Strategy for any mission-critical data you cannot easily reproduce or otherwise recover.

https://www.backblaze.com/blog/the-3-2-1-backup-strategy/

Cool, I'm not too familiar with SMART software. It monitors your drives and tells you when things go bad? Do you have a recommendation for a good, free Windows one?

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6 minutes ago, ItsGiusto said:

Cool, I'm not too familiar with SMART software. It monitors your drives and tells you when things go bad? Do you have a recommendation for a good, free Windows one?

No worries - there are plenty of software options out there to display SMART diagnostics for your drives.

https://www.howtogeek.com/134735/how-to-see-if-your-hard-drive-is-dying/

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42 minutes ago, kirashi said:

No worries - there are plenty of software options out there to display SMART diagnostics for your drives.

https://www.howtogeek.com/134735/how-to-see-if-your-hard-drive-is-dying/

Okay, I've read the article and installed CrystalDiskInfo. Sounds like basically, I just watch for notifications from it that my hard drives might be failing? It's good that it already warned me that one of my drives is of questionable quality (it said "Caution").

 

One thing I'm wondering about - If it says that there is a "Reallocated Sector", does that mean that there was data loss? Does it maybe depend on if there was data on that sector? How can I know?

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1 hour ago, ItsGiusto said:

Okay, I've read the article and installed CrystalDiskInfo. Sounds like basically, I just watch for notifications from it that my hard drives might be failing? It's good that it already warned me that one of my drives is of questionable quality (it said "Caution").

 

One thing I'm wondering about - If it says that there is a "Reallocated Sector", does that mean that there was data loss? Does it maybe depend on if there was data on that sector? How can I know?

Yes, basically SMART can help you detect when a drive is failing. However, know that drives can fail with ZERO warning signs, so you always want to backup. Reallocated sectors are something to watch out for, you can learn more here. https://kb.acronis.com/content/9105

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