Notes from the past…


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Monday Madness: A Question of Back-ups

We all know how important it is to make off-site back-ups of our genealogical data. Watched the news this past weekend? Did you see what’s left of the Dallas Cowboys practice facility in Irving, Texas after a fierce storm and microburst winds hit the structure? Well, that same storm came through my neighborhood only about 20 minutes before it hit Irving. I was headed to Sonic for my daily Dr Pepper fix and suddenly found myself in the middle of 50-mile-per-hour winds, heavy rain and marble-sized hail. I’m talking very sudden! In about 5 minutes the weather went from cloudy but calm and dry to severe storm with lightening, hail, high winds and lots of rain. Fortunately, my house is a bit sturdier than the Cowboys house. The point is, things happen! Weather, hard drive crashes, thieves… it can happen. Don’t wait until after the disaster to wish your data was safe!

I have my genealogy data backed up on an external hard drive and also a USB thumb drive. Ok. But I also want it “in the clouds”, online somewhere, to be extra safe. Also so that I can access the data if I’m somewhere and don’t have my thumb drive handy.

I have been slowly uploading my images to My Picasa Web Album. I’ve been uploading them as I “complete” each surname study. A good start, but taking too long. As an example, I have been seriously studying my McBurnetts for a couple of months now, so at that rate it will be years before all my images are in the web album. But that’s ok, because the uploading process is part of the investigative process, and I want to be as thorough as possible.

But I still want my data safely online, as soon as possible. Remember, I live in Tornado Alley…

Several months ago, I began reading about Mozy, the online backup service. Sounded good, so I gave it a shot. The service will automatically upload your data, as background activity. Ok. So I signed up for it and the uploading process began. This went on for several days, and my computer was virtually worthless during that time period. I have a 3-year-old Dell 710m Inspiron laptop. Not lightening-fast brand new, but not a dinosaur either. My Internet connection is DSL, usually pretty fast. But while Mozy was doing its thing, my little laptop turned to molasses, it seemed. It took forever just to read the online newspaper!  After about 5 days of this sludge, my data was still nowhere near finished uploading, maybe because Mozy kept stopping and restarting. I finally gave up on it. I understand that a big bunch of folks use Mozy and are quite satisfied, but not me. So I just continued with my external hard drive…

Last week, I read a post from Elyse about how she backs up her data using Windows Skydrive. 25 GB free storage is plenty for me! So I went to the Skydrive site and signed up. Simple. I started uploading my data. Simple. The only drawback that I can see with SkyDrive is that you can’t upload entire folders, only 1 file at a time. But, hey, it’s free. Also there’s the Big, Bad Microsoft to deal with. A lot of folks don’t like Microsoft and don’t trust Microsoft. I personally have never had any problems, but then I don’t upload any “sensitive” data, like personal financial stuff. But to some, Microsoft is a stigma.

Overall, I was pleased with SkiDrive. Slow, but secure.

Then a comment from Bobby mentioned ADrive. 50 GB free storage, and the ability to upload entire files or directories. So off to ADrive I went. I read through the site and was impressed. My entire My Documents is only 17 GB, mostly digital photos, and the genealogy folder is 2.4 GB, so 50 GB is more than plenty. I signed up and began setting up my storage system. I created folders mirroring my hard drive organization, so everything is easy to find. My biggest folder within my genealogy folder contains about 800 images of family that my uncle gave me. Most of these photos are from about 1960 forward. Not many really old pix, but still valuable. I set that to upload last night before I went to bed, and when I got up this morning, the upload was just finishing.

Here’s what my files look like:

ADrive1

My plan is to set the upload every night before I go to bed. I’ll let you know how long the entire process takes.