Let's talk backups.

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So. Being a fucking moron i lost a bunch of my work and realized that my backup solutions aren't good enough by far so I've been thinking alot about backups lately and I'd be very interested in hearing how you guys are dealing with it.

I currently only use Dropbox but that's just for shuffling files around between computers and sometimes backups for various art files but really, that's secondary to why I use dropbox. The downside with dropbox is that it's not automated and you must move files into it yourself.

I'd really like a program/service that sends the latest version to the big safe cloud in the sky. Alternatively a hardware solution that's not my computer or another computer in the house. I think macs have some kinda small backup box that does this?

Anyway. How do you deal with backups and what service do you use? Online storage or extra hdd?

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  • glynnsmith
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    glynnsmith dedicated polycounter
    I use my Dropbox directory as a "working" folder, for the benefits of backup and stupidly easy sharing (especially with the new Dropbox update). All of my current projects are saved to it in their own folder, where they stay until it's finished.

    Once a project's finished, I throw it on my NAS, which has RAID-whatever-it-is-when-one-HDD-mirrors-the-other.

    For me, I don't really want to rely on automatic copying of files, other than the uploading/downloading that Dropbox does, as I'd be paranoid it wasn't working as advertised. Copying finished projects to my NAS isn't any effort at all :)
  • Wahlgren
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    Do you save down bigger projects there (1gb+) or is it just individual assets and workfiles and the like?
  • glynnsmith
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    glynnsmith dedicated polycounter
    Yep. I'll save everything for that project. However, I should note I took part in the beta testing, which got my free account up to almost 10GB, which comes in very handy :)

    Concepts, references, working files, finished files, builds are all on Dropbox.

    The only thing I don't keep on there is a design doc, should the project need it, as that's done via Google Docs.
  • MephistonX
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    MephistonX triangle
    i too use dropbox for working file backup - especially since i discovered that it saves previous versions much like a SVN - which can be quite handy in a difficult spot - i also have a external HDD that's solely used for backing up and take DVD backups that i use as more of an archive for older work
  • Wahlgren
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    Alright. So I guess Dropbox together with a secondary HD or backupbox is a sufficient alternative aswell then. I'd rather not have all my stuff on my computer anymore or even connected to it in case of another fuckup. That's why I've been eyeing this one.

    http://www.apple.com/se/timecapsule/ (but does it work with PC?)
    http://www.lacie.com/products/product.htm?id=10520

    Laurens apparently puts udk packages and the like in dropbox aswell which seems to be a good solution aswell.


    EDIT: I normally use dropbox for my modeling for the above reason you mention Meph. I just didn't utilize it enough. However putting all my stuff online might not be ideal (it's quite alot of stuff) so a mix would probably be best I think. Secondary box for archiving. Online for current.
  • Skillmister
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    I use dropbox for most things and now i got an extra 25gb free storage on it i'll use it for everything
  • Kwramm
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    Kwramm card carrying polycounter
    automated backup to a 2nd HDD inside the PC (if the main work HDD dies)

    manual backup about once a month to a USB HDD which I turn off afterwards and stow away - so if a big power surge fries everything, this is safe

    manual backup of work files only to my own webspace (thanks dreamhost for giving me lots and lots of space!). All I need is some easy to set up drop-box style software that runs with my own webspace (too lazy to do it myself)
  • zicoV
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    I use a program called Goodsync to do a rolling backup of everything to an external hdd. Its pretty easy and when you're done you can always hide the external hdd or take it with you incase of burglary, fire or main hdd failure.
  • r_fletch_r
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    I use Dropbox for working files and then archive stuff ony my NAS(Raid 1) when its done.
    Same a Glynn really.
  • Xoliul
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    Yeah I do it like Glynn, dropbox for all. I'm probably gonna start paying for it at some point, I obly have 3.5gb and it's pretty full. I feel the safety of my files is worth it.
    Once projects are done I move them to a separate HD, which gets backup to another physically separate one every few months. The older something is the more likely I would lose it if I haven't done the second HD backup though. But for old stuff I tend to care less + it's finished anyway.

    For UDK stuff specifically: I try to keep my things in 2-3 UPK packages at most. Everytime I start UDK, I need to open them before loading the map, and I get warnings from UDK about it even though they are safer in dropbox.
    I looked into defining extra auto-load folders, but apparently it's not possible...
  • Andreas
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    Does anyone have an backup solution for game saves? Some steam games don't use steam cloud and I've been looking for a program that will let me select which folders to backup, rather than the dropbox system of having its own folder.
  • glynnsmith
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    glynnsmith dedicated polycounter
    Has anyone tried Google Drive, or Microsoft's SkyDrive? Wouldn't mind hearing about personal experiences of either.

    I'm inclined to give Google Drive a go, as I use the crap out of my Google account, and there's no doubt benefits to going the whole hog, there.

    Skydrive = 7GB (Free). Google Drive = 5GB (Free).
  • JonathanLambert
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    I use Sync toy to back up my active project to a second hard drive on a daily basis and every two weeks I put copies on my server for an offsite back up.
  • commander_keen
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    Until today I was just making daily backups from my external drive to local drive (all my important stuff is on an external drive), then occasionally doing manual backups to my web host. Recently my web host emailed me threatening to delete all my stuff because I was using too much space and they only allow files directly related to running a website...

    After looking around I found that all web hosts do this same thing. Advertising nearly unlimited space, but actually only allowing maybe 25gb at most, and strict limits of what can be hosted (no backups), so I ended up setting up my own web server with some extra computer parts I had.

    So now I have a 50gb dropbox account and am syncing the web server and all my dev stuff like game projects, programming projects, dev apps. To do this I use Symbolic links with dropbox, although unfortunately this only works correctly if you move the folders into the actual dropbox folder and create symbolic links in their previous locations.


    So now I have my web server and game/programming projects all constantly backed up on 2 local computers, as well as the dropbox network.
  • Ahrkey
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    If you wanna automate it you could use the backup function in vista/win7 and point the backupfiles to your Dropbox-folder and set it to backup every... Nth hour,day,month.
    It's pretty smart and does crc-checks or something on the files so if nothing have changed it will not overwrite what has already been backed up etc.

    You can also point it to a external device such as hdd, nas etc. or even to a ip I think.
  • Wahlgren
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    Interesting answers guys. Thanks alot. So far my plan is to do the following.

    1) NAS / External backup box. Prefferebly wireless.
    2) Dedicated HDD for all workrelated stuff - Backups to the above every other day.
    3) Online Storage and/or Dropbox. Not sure if i wanna put exactly everything onto it or just what I'm currently working on. If i want to put everything on I need to get alot bigger space. Also will suck to upload and download like 50gbs.
  • haiddasalami
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    haiddasalami card carrying polycounter
    Skydrive is having this thing where you can get 25gb if you sign up before they revert to the 7gb free thing. Havent tried it out though. Tend to just backup/copy folders to my USB drive.
  • Jeff Parrott
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    Jeff Parrott veteran polycounter
    Google Drive for me. I like that they own my work when I use it. Plus it's $2.50 a month for 30gb (5gb free). You can't public link by default either (which is good or bad depending on how you look at it). Otherwise it works identical to Dropbox. I'll gladly save $7.50 a month and let Google own my crap (They actually don't own your stuff. The privacy thing is just poorly written).

    Edit: Also I forgot I back up once a month/2 months to a external HDD.
  • fearian
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    fearian card carrying polycounter
    Yeah, Dropbox has a similar privacy contract blunder a while back (but not as bad). Basically all that stuff is in there to give them permission to 'publish' your files on their service to you and whoever you give permissions/public link to.
  • Mark Dygert
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    I also use dropbox for working files and storage of things I need access too like UI saves, scripts and plug-ins. Notes and tutorials I write for myself ect...

    I also have my own site where they keep bumping up the storage capacity at no extra charge so I use that also for online storage, mostly reference that I find useful for whatever project I'm working on. If I stuck all of the ref I gather for projects, in the working folder of the project it gets unwieldy quickly.

    I also use Raid1 to back up my storage drive but my regular HD is rarely backed up (nothing but programs, the OS and the working files).
  • Farfarer
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    Farfarer card carrying polycounter
    For my "main" project, I've got it on a GitHub account, So at any given time, at least one PC and the Github server always has the latest version (give or take an evening's work).

    For everything else, it's backed up to an external HDD every so often. Lots of stuff also exists on my USB stick as well as a hard drive somewhere.

    Dropbox annoyed me with a lack of options last I used it. I might look into Google Drive (got an account, but not used it yet). I'm not too keen on the syncing to a remote server thing as some of the PSD or sculpt files can easily be hundreds of MB, it's a lot of data to throw about over wifi with any real speed.

    I had a nice NAS drive for that with gigabit ethernet, but I can't run cables to it in the house where I'm at now and it's painfully slow over wireless internet.
  • Eric Chadwick
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    I signed up with Carbonite about a month ago. $5/mo, easy as pie to setup. Constant sync, runs in the background, small memory footprint. They compress and encrypt everything locally before uploading it, so it's fairly secure. You can also choose your own encryption key if you want.

    Just did a restore yesterday of a failed HDD, about 250GB of stuff, worked great. I also have a couple external drives that are mirrors of each other, for redundancy, using a nightly Syncback task to keep them updated.
  • Wahlgren
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    Been looking around for NAS's today and im leaning towards these ones now. Anyone know anything about them? I realized I don't need the actual NAS to have wifi as I'll plug it into my router.


    http://www.lacie.com/sea/products/product.htm?id=10451
    NetworkSpace2_3-Qtr_Left.jpg

    This one is a bit more and no hdd included. So I'm not sure.
    http://www.synology.com/products/product.php?product_name=DS112j&lang=enu
    DS112j.jpg
  • dustinbrown
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    To all you guys using Dropbox or a similar service: Are you actually opening and working on your project files in Dropbox or are you just using it as a backup? Seems like there would be latency issues working with files that don't exist on your local HDD. I know a lot gets stored in RAM, but still...
  • Mark Dygert
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    You can work locally inside of dropbox without problems. The files do exist on your HDD, in a folder of your choosing and anything you put in there gets copied, uploaded, backed up and synced to other machines that are logged into your dropbox. If the constant uploading gets too be an issue you can "pause upload" or just shut off dropbox until you're done working, turn it on and it will upload and sync.

    It can be annoying if you are sharing a folder with other people to be saving every few seconds, by default you get notifications that tell you when files are downloaded. But if its just you no one is going to care.
  • Esprite
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    Esprite spline
    With Dropbox you have the files on your computer it just syncs the folder with their servers whenever a file is saved, removed, or added.
  • Wahlgren
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    I work directly in dropbox since it gives you a nice history in case of mistakes. For example i had accidentally instanced an object and when i made a variation on said object i messed up the others.

    All i had to do was go back 10 minutes in history and copy paste the old model into the latest scene.
  • BlvdNights
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    BlvdNights polycounter
    I use dropbox, and an FTP. I also have a few different external hard drives that store the last 5 years worth of work and reference. Occasionally, when I make something I really like, I burn the stuff on a disc.
  • Oniram
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    Oniram card carrying polycounter
    as most others i use dropbox, and have an ftp as well. i had this pointed out to me the other day which seems like its a pretty neat thing too.

    http://www.drobo.com/
  • Ahrkey
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    For the advanced user you may want to look into an off-site server(at your parents house or something) running some kind of SVN/Subversion. It's not optimal for binary files but it works and gives great control.
  • scotthomer
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    I use dropbox on an automatic backup cycle every night at 12am using some software called "goodsync" it analyses your source folder and your backup folder and only syncs the new or changed files. I work in 1 folder, and at 12 it automatically syncronised to my dropbox folder and then uploads that to my dropbox account. I pay about £7 a month for the 50gb dropbox combined with the unlimited older versions tool (so you can undo a file if you overwrite it accidently).

    I worried alot about losing my work, so I decided id be proactive and pay £7-10 a month for the piece of mind that my stuff is stored somewhere online. Definately worth it. Living in the city, I figured that if my appartment were to ever get burgled id be most pissed about losing my files, so If i keep them elsewhere then atleast I can be happy that im not going to lose the last 6/7 years of my life.

    Sorry to hear about you losing your work man, the most positive way of looking at it is that im sure that when you redo the work you'll do it better and quicker and general quality will be better throughout.
  • Mark Dygert
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    Another thing to keep in mind is if you back up to physical drives, memory sticks, or even DVD/CD's, if you ever get robbed they will probably take your backup media too...

    I think this came up a year or two back when someone lost their life's work that was stored on an external drive. I think his/her new plan was to have a wireless HD sitting on the network but, buried in the back of a closet or in a wall or some strange place that is hard to get to. It seems a bit extreme... until it happens... =/
  • r_fletch_r
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    Another thing to keep in mind is if you back up to physical drives, memory sticks, or even DVD/CD's, if you ever get robbed they will probably take your backup media too...

    I think this came up a year or two back when someone lost their life's work that was stored on an external drive. I think his/her new plan was to have a wireless HD sitting on the network but, buried in the back of a closet or in a wall or some strange place that is hard to get to. It seems a bit extreme... until it happens... =/

    my Nas is about 200 miles away :D
  • Cyrael
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    Sugarsync

    The best backup solution I've encountered by far - automatically syncs and backs up folders/files, and can sync over multiple computers, so if you need between labtop/desktop or home/work. Also starts with five gigs free - up to an additional 750 mb free and runs deals often, I've got the 30 gig of storage for only $ 25 a year. Switched form dropbox about a year ago and haven't looked back since.
  • marks
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    marks polycounter
    I don't back up anything personal. I should probably change that :|
  • Farfarer
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    Farfarer card carrying polycounter
    Another thing to keep in mind is if you back up to physical drives, memory sticks, or even DVD/CD's, if you ever get robbed they will probably take your backup media too...

    I think this came up a year or two back when someone lost their life's work that was stored on an external drive. I think his/her new plan was to have a wireless HD sitting on the network but, buried in the back of a closet or in a wall or some strange place that is hard to get to. It seems a bit extreme... until it happens... =/
    Haha, if someone wants to try and steal my PC, they're welcome.

    It's a massive, heavy case with about 3.5 litres of water in it along with all the rest of the hardware. If they made it down the stairs without destroying their back, I'd be impressed :P
  • [HP]
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    [HP] card carrying polycounter
    I use dropbox too. Although I don't keep the app open while i'm working, otherwise it's constantly uploading and syncing shit.
    I do open the app when I'm done with my shit, and let it upload.
  • Kwramm
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    Kwramm card carrying polycounter
    Another thing to keep in mind is if you back up to physical drives, memory sticks, or even DVD/CD's, if you ever get robbed they will probably take your backup media too...

    Just gotta hide them. Most robbers are in a hurry (except for the drunk/drugged stupid kind). They usually don't bother turning a place inside out. Nobody's going through all your books or plates and pans and looking what's behind them.

    Just don't keep your only backup right next to your PC. Hide a NAS somewhere (may be a problem with Wifi/cabeling) or just do a monthly backup and hide the media somewhere. Super paranoid people can also rent a safe deposit box at a bank....or if you can afford to lose more, copy everything to a HDD and deposit it with parents/relatives/etc. and then update it every 6 months/year.
  • Mark Dygert
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    Talon wrote: »
    Haha, if someone wants to try and steal my PC, they're welcome.

    It's a massive, heavy case with about 3.5 litres of water in it along with all the rest of the hardware. If they made it down the stairs without destroying their back, I'd be impressed :P
    Hahaha yea, mine isn't water cooled but it weighs 41lbs just by itself (Cool Master Cosmos) probably pushing 50-52 with everything inside. They could push it down a flight of stairs and it would do more damage to the building than to the system, which is what I worry about. Steal it? FINE... but don't make me patch holes and paint, ha!

    Kwramm, that's a good point.
  • Andreas
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  • Kbrom12
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    Kbrom12 triangle
    My main backup is sugarsync and I absolutely love it.

    sugarsync link - https://www.sugarsync.com/referral?rf=bn9f9586xbyoa&utm_source=website&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=referral&shareEvent=458386


    Along with that I use a few WD 2TB HDD, got them back when newegg had them on sale months ago for like $60 a piece.
  • Andreas
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    Hmm. Sugarsynch actually seems like pretty much what I was looking for! The ability to sync up any folder is very cool. What's the catch? :D I'll do your referral thingy later for sure, thanks for sharing.
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