Need advice from members about Microsoft Cloud

DonnyThompson

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2012
Location
Akron/Cleveland, OH
Hi gang...

I need my computer savvy friends here to explain to me - preferably in the simplest terms, ( don't rule out using hand-puppets as learning aids if necessary) about the Microsoft Cloud... or about any virtual backup/restoration system...

It's not that I've had premonitions of impending doom of catastrophic failure regarding my files and system, nor have I had a close call, or anything in particular happen, to suggest that something is wrong; or is going to go wrong soon... I'm just trying to play it safe here. I'm interested in finding out more about having a virtual drive to back things up from now on, should God decide to hate me enough to have my PC crash and burn... and while I can do research on my own, I'd rather have unbiased thoughts from my friends here who have got my back, and aren't trying to sell me anything. ;)

I've read posts from computer-savvy members here on RO in the past, where they've mentioned system failure and backing things up, because "it's not a question of if your system/HDD would ever fail, it's only a matter of when ..."
And for whatever reason, it's been on my mind lately.

A few questions:
Does a Cloud allow you to store ( or even automatically back-up ALL your files?
Does this Cloud technology allow users to also back up an entire system - drives, registry, settings, etc.?
In the even that my HDD - or even my MB or bios system - would die, how easy is it to recover lost files, or the whole system from the Cloud if needed?

What are the downsides - if any - to this method/system?
Is it secure - Banking info, Paypal account info, passwords, etc. ?

Is Microsoft for PC- or iCloud for Apple - the only ways to go with this, or are there other - or perhaps better - similar services I should consider?

Should I get more serious about considering this type of backup?
Or is this something I could do on my own with an additional external drive of necessary capacity?

Any thoughts would be appreciated!

:)
-d.
 

thewonders

Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2005
Location
Where they play the West Coast sound
You don't need to use Microsoft's cloud just because you use Windows ( The same is true for Apple computers although iCloud is dead easy to use from a Mac). There are many Cloud options available - here are a few:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2288745,00.asp

(Not that I'm a big fan of PCMag but this is a starter list.)

I've heard good things about Carbonite and OpenDrive. I'd also be inclined to trust Acronis' cloud solution. You can even use iCloud from a PC.

With any Cloud solution, you just install the software they provide. Most of the time the software will guide you through setting up your backup, how often you want to backup, and other options. There should also be instruction regarding what to do if you have a computer crash and how to get your data restored.

Also, you'll be charged for the amount of space you need to use. So price comparisons are good.

Pretty straightforward. No need to use hand puppets. ;-)
 

pcrecord

Quality recording seeker !
Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2013
Location
Quebec, Canada
Honestly, I don't use online free cloud services for backups. One thing you need to know is that in the fine prints of the user agreements, your files become their files. They make sure they keep it ambiguous but, they might use your files at some point. This scares me to the highest point !!
We needed to issue warnings more than once to our customers. One in particular business owner was using it wildly and get this, his company made parts for planes and the army !!
So if you really want to make online backups, I suggest you pay a service on a private server.
Of course online, is nice if you want to protect yourself in case of fire or flood.
If you put that aside, a NAS on your network is also a good recovery plan.
Also, what I do is, I scan my drives nearly every weeks with Crystaldisk info (it's free). It gives an accurate state of your drives and so you can replace them before they crash...
 

DonnyThompson

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2012
Location
Akron/Cleveland, OH
So if you really want to make online backups, I suggest you pay a service on a private server.

Thanks, Mon'Amis ... ;)

Certainly I want to back up files... but I'm also interested in backing up the system itself as well...

Would you - or anyone else here ( @thewonders ) - then suggest a service like Crashplan or Carbonite? According to their site(s), I can have unlimited storage for about $5 per month... but so far, researching these services, I haven't yet been able to find out if I can back up my entire system with current settings ( registry, configurations, drivers, etc.)and everything?

If I went with a private server like the above, do you know if this is possible?
So if my PC does crash, I would like to be able to download and restore the whole system so I wouldn't have to reinstall software, re-configure drivers, etc.

Or, am I better off backing up my system to an external drive, perhaps creating a system restore image file or something similar, using a Windows 10 app* of some kind?

*( I don't even know if such a beast even exists... I'm just kinda thinking out loud here...) :confused:

There is a "D" drive on my system ( internally) that is meant to be a "restore" drive - but it's not its own drive - I'm assuming it's just a partition on my existing C:/ HDD, and that won't do me much good if the actual C:/ drive fails.


Thoughts?


:)
 

pcrecord

Quality recording seeker !
Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2013
Location
Quebec, Canada
The best thing for OS recorvery is to buy an extra HDD or SSD and make a copy of the drives with Acronis True Image or another similar software. Once you made your clone drive, you unplug it and keep it ready. If your main drive fail, you just swape the drives with the copy and there you go !! ;)
Most backup softwares do entire drives.. but you need to wait a long time for the restore...
 

thewonders

Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2005
Location
Where they play the West Coast sound
Yeah, one thing I forgot to mention - most of the cloud solutions (especially MS, Apple, and Google) will scan your files to learn more about you and then sell that info to advertisers. It's in the fine print of their User Agreements. Remember, all the "cloud" is is someone else's computer. If that is no good for you then you should consider a backup solution that allows you to keep the backups locally.

The best thing for OS recorvery is to buy an extra HDD or SSD and make a copy of the drives with Acronis True Image or another similar software. Once you made your clone drive, you unplug it and keep it ready. If your main drive fail, you just swape the drives with the copy and there you go !!

Yes, if you want to be able to simply restore your system to when it was fully working, this is the way to do it. Acronis is great software and with a cloned drive you won't be waiting hours for an online restore. The downside is that if you want to stay current you have to manually backup whenever there is a software/driver change or a Windows Update on your system.

The same goes for your document/file backup - you can get backup software and backup files to an external hard drive that connects via USB. Then you have immediate access to your backed-up files and they aren't on someone else's server out there in Interweb-land.

Having said all that, an automated cloud backup can be very convenient and can operate automatically when you are away from your computer. It all depends on what's important to you in a backup solution.
 

dvdhawk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2008
Location
Western Pennsylvania, USA
For some reason*, the notion of putting my life on someone else's hard drives goes against my grain. I have about 13TB of storage on 8 external drives, some for general computing, business, photos, etc. and some exclusively for A/V project files. (4x Glyph Drives, 3x Western Digital, 1x G-RAID) They run from a variety of connection protocols to improve my chances of being able to access them in the future (FW400, FW800, eSATA, USB 2, USB 3).

All drives will eventually fail, and as our old friend Max would say, "data doesn't exist unless it's in three separate locations, (and at least one of those locations is safely off-site)".

The most recent drive I bought was a Western Digital 4TB My Cloud network drive. My desktop computer and the WD drive are both networked through the same router. So I have just the files of my choosing, on the equivalent of my own server - with the capability to log-in remotely and access those files from any of my mobile devices, or another computer with internet access. To address the separate geographical location issue, I'm planning on buying another one and giving it to my son to connect at his place. I can set-up user accounts, and limit their access to specific folders. He can back-up files to my drive, I can back-up files to his.

That might not be a good solution for everyone, but I'm liking the My Cloud so far. I'm finding it to be much more convenient for remote file access than the free versions of Google Drive, iCloud, orDrop-Box for most of my sharing and back-ups.

*[Edit: for apparently perfectly good, not-paranoid-at-all, anti-Orwellian reasons]
 

DonnyThompson

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2012
Location
Akron/Cleveland, OH
Yes, if you want to be able to simply restore your system to when it was fully working, this is the way to do it. Acronis is great software and with a cloned drive you won't be waiting hours for an online restore. The downside is that if you want to stay current you have to manually backup whenever there is a software/driver change or a Windows Update on your system.

The most recent drive I bought was a Western Digital 4TB My Cloud network drive. My desktop computer and the WD drive are both networked through the same router. So I have just the files of my choosing, on the equivalent of my own server - with the capability to log-in remotely and access those files from any of my mobile devices, or another computer with internet access. To address the separate geographical location issue, I'm planning on buying another one and giving it to my son to connect at his place.

I understand that buying more external drives for local backup and restore is probably my best bet... my dilemma at that point is, how will I afford to buy the latest Presonus Studio One version from you? LOLOL...

I need a benefactor. LOL ;)
 

kmetal

Kyle P. Gushue
Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2009
Location
Boston, Massachusetts
For some reason*, the notion of putting my life on someone else's hard drives goes against my grain. I have about 13TB of storage on 8 external drives, some for general computing, business, photos, etc. and some exclusively for A/V project files. (4x Glyph Drives, 3x Western Digital, 1x G-RAID) They run from a variety of connection protocols to improve my chances of being able to access them in the future (FW400, FW800, eSATA, USB 2, USB 3).

All drives will eventually fail, and as our old friend Max would say, "data doesn't exist unless it's in three separate locations, (and at least one of those locations is safely off-site)".

The most recent drive I bought was a Western Digital 4TB My Cloud network drive. My desktop computer and the WD drive are both networked through the same router. So I have just the files of my choosing, on the equivalent of my own server - with the capability to log-in remotely and access those files from any of my mobile devices, or another computer with internet access. To address the separate geographical location issue, I'm planning on buying another one and giving it to my son to connect at his place. I can set-up user accounts, and limit their access to specific folders. He can back-up files to my drive, I can back-up files to his.

That might not be a good solution for everyone, but I'm liking the My Cloud so far. I'm finding it to be much more convenient for remote file access than the free versions of Google Drive, iCloud, orDrop-Box for most of my sharing and back-ups.

*[Edit: for apparently perfectly good, not-paranoid-at-all, anti-Orwellian reasons]

I bought a qnap NAS drive a while ago and I'm setting it up hopefully soon (2x 2tb seagate NAS HDD, raid 1)

My question is if the drive is connected to the internet all the time, and your music computer is connected to the drive either via Ethernet, USB, or Bluetooth, does this mean your music computer is (potentially) vulnerable to anything internet related?

Does the solution require a managed network switch and firewalls and stuff?

If the point is to never have your music computer connected to the internet (or as little as possible) then how safe is backing it up from a drive that's constantly connected to the internet?

I know our drives are different but they have some similar features.

I guess I'm wondering if I need yet another set of backup drives that are either mounted in the music computer case, or externally, that never see the internet?

Does this make that NAS more of a convenient type thing for accessing things remotely and reviewing client files? As opposed to a secure backup?

If I backup my files to say my own websites server does this make them more secure? Ditto for clients files and transfers?

I'm just wondering what the most practical use of the cloud/NAS drive would be. And if I should maybe start taking some networking classes or something to set everything up securely/optimally?

I understand that buying more external drives for local backup and restore is probably my best bet... my dilemma at that point is, how will I afford to buy the latest Presonus Studio One version from you? LOLOL...

I need a benefactor. LOL ;)

Dropbox offers 2gb free, google drive does something similar.

All it requires is an email adress which could simply be a free g mail.

I've got like 3-4 different Dropbox accounts.

My old band used it hitch free for our time together to trade ideas and access our practice recordings and song mixes ect.

2 gb isn't a whole lot but it could help for your most essential files, especially if you have a few of them like I do.

Also had no idea I was giving iCloud and one drive permission to look at my stuff. Looks like I'm gonna have to find another online option eventually. Thanks you guys.
 

DonnyThompson

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2012
Location
Akron/Cleveland, OH
2 gb isn't a whole lot but it could help for your most essential files, especially if you have a few of them like I do.

Hmmm... I dunno pal... I have some 44.1/24 Samp project files where that number is exceeded on just one project.

I could see where 2gig might be sufficient to store some 2-mix waves, or MP3's, but I think you'd be surprised at just how fast that 2 gig limit would get eaten up if you were backing up whole projects, K. ;)

I'm looking for a method to back-up what essentially equates to my entire system. I think I've gotten my answer here; thanks to you, Dave ( @dvdhawk ), Marco ( @pcrecord ) and @thewonders ( I'm sorry, I don't know his first name) in that my best way to do that, is to invest in a large capacity external HDD.

At that point, I would just need a program (for Windows 10) that would do auto-backups of the system for me throughout the day, and I can't believe that a program like this would be that difficult - or expensive - to install, ( although I'm happy to be told by you guys which program I should get. ;))

Having an external HDD would also have the advantage of not having to be online 24/7, which, as you mentioned, Kyle, definitely has its own set of risks.

The other thing is, that if I'm backing up to an external drive, and my system did crash, restoring the system from a local external drive would be quicker and easier, than to restore from an online storage system. Obviously, relying on an internet-based backup system requires that you have an internet connection; and one of sufficient speed - and stability - to do the system restore in as quick of a time frame as possible, and without interruptions; and while it's true that we all have internet connections, the stability and speed of these connections is pretty much out of our control... we're all at the mercy of our local providers.

But, I'm not completely ruling-out an online file storage system of some kind for project files, mixes, documents, etc. - I think that having several backups is important - but as far as a full system restore, (unless I'm missing something here?), having actual connected hardware is going to be easier, faster, and more reliable and stable than an internet storage system would be. It also insures that no one else has access to my files. Regardless of what they claim, in terms of security and privacy, your files and info are residing on a server that you don't own and can't control. It's not like I have anything to hide, really; my idea of porn is pictures of audio recording gear and fly fishing stuff - LOL - but, I do have passwords and information that I'd rather not store on another server, if I don't have to.

I'm not paranoid about it... not like I'm putting on a tin-foil hat here, nor do I have a doomsday scenario in place for the "great conspiratorial apocalypse", LOL - I don't worry about this kind of thing on a constant basis; but file security is something to at least think about from time to time. ;)

Thoughts?
 

Boswell

Moderator
Joined
Apr 19, 2006
Location
UK
Donny - two things about external HDD backups:

1) In my experience, you really do not want auto-backup. If you leave it to backup when it wants to, it will start in the middle of a recording project. It has happened to me. Make it a habit before you retire for the night (if it's still night by then) to plug in the external drive and hit the backup icon. Unplug the drive before you start your daytime session (if it's still light by then).

2) Your system is vunerable when you are backing up, as both the system disk and the backup disk are connected at the same time. If your PC decides (or a virus on your PC decides) to trash all drives, you have lost them both. To counteract that, have two nominally identical external backup drives that you alternate day-by-day. That gives the same level of protection for accidents, drive failures etc, plus a whole new insurance against system failure or the ravages of a virus or things like ransomware.
 

pcrecord

Quality recording seeker !
Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2013
Location
Quebec, Canada
If you don't want to pay for a backup software, there's an opensource utility that I use which is easy and fast. (they even have a portable version -no install)
Search for unstoppable copier you can set it to copy only modified and new files.
 

kmetal

Kyle P. Gushue
Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2009
Location
Boston, Massachusetts
Hmmm... I dunno pal... I have some 44.1/24 Samp project files where that number is exceeded on just one project.

I could see where 2gig might be sufficient to store some 2-mix waves, or MP3's, but I think you'd be surprised at just how fast that 2 gig limit would get eaten up if you were backing up whole projects, K. ;)

I'm looking for a method to back-up what essentially equates to my entire system. I think I've gotten my answer here; thanks to you, Dave ( @dvdhawk ), Marco ( @pcrecord ) and @thewonders ( I'm sorry, I don't know his first name) in that my best way to do that, is to invest in a large capacity external HDD.

At that point, I would just need a program (for Windows 10) that would do auto-backups of the system for me throughout the day, and I can't believe that a program like this would be that difficult - or expensive - to install, ( although I'm happy to be told by you guys which program I should get. ;))

Having an external HDD would also have the advantage of not having to be online 24/7, which, as you mentioned, Kyle, definitely has its own set of risks.

The other thing is, that if I'm backing up to an external drive, and my system did crash, restoring the system from a local external drive would be quicker and easier, than to restore from an online storage system. Obviously, relying on an internet-based backup system requires that you have an internet connection; and one of sufficient speed - and stability - to do the system restore in as quick of a time frame as possible, and without interruptions; and while it's true that we all have internet connections, the stability and speed of these connections is pretty much out of our control... we're all at the mercy of our local providers.

But, I'm not completely ruling-out an online file storage system of some kind for project files, mixes, documents, etc. - I think that having several backups is important - but as far as a full system restore, (unless I'm missing something here?), having actual connected hardware is going to be easier, faster, and more reliable and stable than an internet storage system would be. It also insures that no one else has access to my files. Regardless of what they claim, in terms of security and privacy, your files and info are residing on a server that you don't own and can't control. It's not like I have anything to hide, really; my idea of porn is pictures of audio recording gear and fly fishing stuff - LOL - but, I do have passwords and information that I'd rather not store on another server, if I don't have to.

I'm not paranoid about it... not like I'm putting on a tin-foil hat here, nor do I have a doomsday scenario in place for the "great conspiratorial apocalypse", LOL - I don't worry about this kind of thing on a constant basis; but file security is something to at least think about from time to time. ;)

Thoughts?

Yeah totally d I was thinking more of mix/masters (2 tracks) vs the entire system. 2gb ain't much for that. lol I've had a project that was like 110gb before. Not my own songs someone else's.

At the studio the OS and audio drives each had an internal backup. The audio drive you manually backup at session end. Then there was an external backup audio drive as 2nd redundant audio drive.

I haven't seen HDD failure but I've spent days and weeks restoring my old system manually. So I think your heads in the right place on this.

For the audio drive part of the equation you (may) have the option to run raid 1 so you've got a duplicate being written real time. This can save some time at the end of the session if nothing else by eliminating one of the two/three backups.

Also I've read online (not sure if it's true of not) that cloning a drive doesn't always solve the problem of the problem lies in the bios.

I know at the studio they used cloned drives sometimes and I'm not sure the cloning program (time machine I think) did a flawless job.
 
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