XP - Uninterruptable Power Supplies? External Hard Drive Back-ups?
- I'm looking for recommendations on equipment -
1. Uninterruptable power supplies - I use a cheap-o Belkin system I
got at Office Max - is this OK, or is there a better, more reliable
system for protecting computers from brown-outs and power blips?
2. An automatic external hard-drive back-up system that will back up
the day's work every day (without having to back up the whole damned
system every day) - again, I have one system, not sure if it's much
good (I had a Maxtor that seemed to have caused a hard-drive crash,
so I don't trust that brand) ...
Ned Barnett, APR
Marketing/PR Fellow, AHA
Barnett Marketing Communications
Exceptional Marcom Services for Exceptional Clients
420 N. Nellis Blvd., A3 - 276 - Las Vegas, NV 89110
Phone: 702-696-1200 * FAX: 702-696-1211
ned@... - http://www.barnettmarcom.com
Barnett on PR: http://barnettmarcom.blogspot.com/
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BMC - A Sound Investment in Exceptional Success
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- As you know, Ned, I do PR for data protection/storage companies, so
I've heard a thing or two about this computer stuff. I am of course
not certified, but people say I'm certifiable...ba bum bum.
But rather than taking my word for it, I highly suggest browsing
product reviews at PC Magazine dot com or PC World dot com. You will
learn a lot in a short time, and I trust both publications' storage
1. APC is probably the market leader in UPS devices, but we had one
and it wasn't especially reliable. Knowing us, we probably bought
the cheapest they have. One of the sites above will allow you to
compare products. Belkin does not specialize in UPSes, but makes
dirt-cheap peripherals of all types, from keyboards to modems.
2. Full disclosure: I helped introduce Maxtor's "One Touch" backup
devices. These are external hard drives with a button on the chassis
that launches the backup software. Backups can also be configured to
run on a schedule, but the magic of this product was the push-
button, making it virtually impossible for people to NOT back up.
Remember Kodak's slogan, "So advanced, it's simple?" Kinda like
Since this was such a successful product, there are a few others
available now, such as the Western Digital Media Center. This also
includes the push-button starter and adds an extra function or two,
such as a memory card reader for your digital camera, PDA, or other
devices. This is great too, because if you rely on any kind of
handheld device, you really should be backing that up too.
Finally, Seagate, the other leader in hard disk drives, has recently
acquired Maxtor, so you may or may not see any differences. Iomega
also makes disk storage, but they tend to change their minds about
what they do for a living fairly often so I question whether the
support resources will be there.
But minus the neat stuff the vendors do to the outer casings, hard
drives themselves, the guts, are all about the same. We're talking a
difference of milliseconds to kick up and start spinning to full
RPM. (Your Maxtor drive didn't cause the crash, some sort of
software conflict did.)
The real intelligence in the system comes from the backup software.
The process you describe of backing up only that day's work is
called an incremental backup or a differential backup, and as you
note, differs from a full backup because it captures only new and/or
changed files each time it runs. Incrementals are more common in low-
end home office software; they're simpler than differentials, but
you may see both, and of course some products do neither. So get one
that does incrementals.
Whether or not you choose a push-button drive, your software should
allow you to set up a schedule, so that your computer backs itself
up when it's idle - say, midnight every day. But many schedulable
software programs don't offer you a feature I believe to be
necessary: shutting the computer off once it's done. Leaving a
computer on all the time is bad for your data, for reasons I will
not go into here. However, if you have apps you just cannot shut
down, like if you host your own website on your own server, then you
need software that will back up applications while they are up and
running, as well as any open files. If this is a priority, expect to
Finally, a backup on a hard disk sitting right next to your PC is
not going to be much use to you if your house burns down or the
upstairs neighbor's pipes burst, causing you to have a flood.
I think it is necessary to have an off-site copy of your data that
is reasonably current. Since you don't live in hurricane country, an
online service may be overkill, but those of you who do may want to
look into it. Generally you'll be charged based on the amount of
storage space you hog. If you don't take up too much space, say, 5
MB or less, there are some free services that might be worth using
just for important files.
For the rest of us, use the software to make a copy of the backup to
a DVD, tape, old hard drive, or something easy to keep in another
place. Use the encryption feature on your software, and/or password-
protect the contents, if security is a concern. However, where you
keep this need not be a bank vault; your sister's house or your
neighbor's office downtown is just fine. And this off-site copy
should be swapped with a new one as often as you feel necessary. An
old backup copy offsite, even one that's six months old, is better
than none at all.
At the risk of repeating myself, anyone who would like further
comments and tips on computer backup strategies can check my blog
Good luck -
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Ned Barnett <ned@...> wrote:
> I'm looking for recommendations on equipment -
> 1. Uninterruptable power supplies - I use a cheap-o Belkin system
> got at Office Max - is this OK, or is there a better, more
> system for protecting computers from brown-outs and power blips?
> 2. An automatic external hard-drive back-up system that will back
> the day's work every day (without having to back up the whole
> system every day) - again, I have one system, not sure if it's
> good (I had a Maxtor that seemed to have caused a hard-drive
> so I don't trust that brand) ...
> So, recommendations?