Online Backup – followup

carboniteI just heard one of my favorite podcasts this morning, in this they talked about Carbonite and how they have actually changed their crypto policy lately. Before you had to rely on their crypto keys, which meant that although all your data was encrypted both during transport and storage it could basically be decrypted by Carbonite employees (yes yes, court order and all I know, but still I like my data to be 10000% private), however now you can set your own AES key (256bit as I recall) and thus data is 100% private..

This does make Carbonite an interesting player once again…  I may just have to give them a spin to see how it works.

Yet another player came to my attention, I have not heard about this before nor do I know much more than stated on their website; www.backblaze.com

So to summarize;

Idrive (I use this myself, but am considering Carbonite to get more space)
Pros;Cheap (around 55$ a year), versioning of files, good gui with tons of tweaking, scheduled backup
Cons;“only” 150gb storage, gui could do with an update lots of options but not pretty
Review; http://online-data-backup-review.toptenreviews.com/idrive-review.html
Review; http://www.dansdata.com/idrive.htm

Carbonite (I have not tested this myself and thus know only little about it)
Pros; Cheap (around 55$ a year), UNLIMITED storage
Cons;no versioning of files (only the latest version is backed up)
Review; http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/carbonite

Backblaze (I have not tested this myself and thus know only little about it)
Pros; Cheap
Cons;No versioning of files
Review; http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/backblaze

http://mozy.com/
Just learned about it, don’t know much about it.

http://www.sosonlinebackup.com/
Just learned about it, don’t know much about it. (I was warned it should be very costly).

https://spideroak.com/
Just learned about it, don’t know much about it.

KeepIT.com
Don’t even think about it 🙂
http://www.kanmandet.dk/?p=80

Online backup – yet another player

logo_main1I have before talked about Online backup, and now a new player has entered the arena https://www.carbonite.com. Well new and new, it would appear to have existed for some time, but I just recently heard about it.  Pricing is very similar to Idrive. 

I have not tested this service yet, but a quick comparison to the previous favorite (www.idrive.com) lists these pros and cons;

Pros;
Unlimited backup (not like Idrive where unlimited equals a fair use limit of 150GB, I never understood this)

Cons;
Data can be decrypted by the hosting company. This WILL require a subpoena, but never the less data CAN be decrypted, in the case of www.Idrive.com you can set your own encryption key for TOTAL privacy – for most this is not an issue, but if you are concerned about privacy this may be a dealbreaker, furthermore there is the issue of national law – what is legal to store in Denmark (where I live) may not be legal in the USA and vice versa eg. copyrighted music – having total privacy does tend to keep my mind at ease about such matters.

Conclusion;
It is interesting, but for now I think I’ll stay at www.idrive.com mainly because of the privacy issue, and besides I have already uploaded about 110 gb data *sigh* the thought of restarting the process can kill any initiative 😉

Shadowcopy schedule log errors

Have you ever tried enabling Shadow Copy on a server drive?  Shadow Copy (in this “Shared folders” variant) is a poor man’s backup/version control, it will allow you to restore previous versions of files deleted via shares.

Technical info on how it works;
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc785914(WS.10).aspx

A more lo tech approach here (visual demo);
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/docs/ShadowCopiesSharedFolders.swf
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/techinfo/overview/scr.mspx

shadowcopy2

Image1

Anyhow, once implemented Shadow Copy will begin to “backup” data via a Scheduled Job if you so choose (the scheduled job is added to the scheduled tasks in the control panel automatically). 

However, when I looked in the logfile for scheduled jobs (see image1) there was mention of an error (which is odd as the schedule is created by the system and as such should be correct);

 .

"ShadowCopyVolume{eeacaa88-d521-11da-a3c1-00170859ede5}.job" (vssadmin.exe)
31-08-2009 12:00:00 ** WARNING **  Invalid working directory..
The specific error is:  0x00000003: The system cannot find the path specified.

Now this was odd because the Shadow Copy backup worked without a glitch and files could be restored, so why the error!?  Well a bit of digging around brought me a step closer to the truth, but sadly not all the way (I now know how to fix it, but not why the errormessage appears).. 

It would appear that the error is related to the “Working directory” in the scheduled task, and the suggestion was to clear the “Working directory” field in the scheduled job – does it make sense? well not really, working directory pointed at “%systemroot%\system32” which equals “C:\windows\system32” and this folder DO exist but never the less it did the trick – no more errors in the SchedLgU.txt file.

shadowcopy1So the task is easy, simply delete the folder “working folder” in the scheduled job, normally called “ShadowCopyVolume{……….” and the errors are gone.  Is this really nessesary?  Nope, not at all it’s purely cosmetic, the job works even with the error message, so it’s only if you get annoyed by error messages in you log files.

 

 

 

 

 

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Duplicate files cleaner

dc1zoomStumbled across this pice of software “Duplicate Cleaner“, a utility to remove duplicate files on you harddisk – a growing problem with the harddisk sizes these days, I guess I alone havearound 4TB disk storage and I would be VERY surprised if there was not a duplicate file or two.  The software also supports hardlinks which sounds interesting.

I will be testing this software in the near future.

Screenshots here;
http://www.digitalvolcano.co.uk/content/duplicate-cleaner/screenshots

DVD Backup made easy (excellent for digi pictures)

2009-08-28_2308Have you ever tried to burn your collection of digital photos or mp3 files to DVD?  Sure you have, how did you accomplish it?  By sorting files into groups of 4.6gb and burning one dvd at the time?  Most people do it this way, you could also use winrar or other and create compressed files with a size of 4.6gb (one per dvd) – however that is not optimal if you later wish to extract just that ONE file you deleted by accident or if one DVD gets corrupted…

What to do!?  Well I stumbled across this blog post;
http://www.jonnysblog.com/2009/04/12/how-to-split-directories-to-span-dvd%E2%80%99s/

Where several utilities are mentioned;
SizeMove (see above link for screenshot)
SizeMe

I also stumbled across;
LargeBackup2DVD (a full featured backup solution)

UPDATE;
A related product Dirsplit has come to my attention, this appear to be more related to sorting than size, but may still be interesting to you;
http://code.google.com/p/dirsplit/

Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) In/Excludes

Want to see which files/directories are included/excluded from your TSM backup?

Run this command on the system, and it will compile you a list of active in/excludes.

C:\Tivoli\TSM\baclient>dsmc q inclexcl

(Path to dsmc may differ).

Stream ripping got lost

wmr160x160During my recovery from the Needhost bankruptcy (my former provider) it would seem a few posts got lost 🙁 annoying as I fear more is lost than I recall 🙁

Anyhow, this one is actually a nice one so I re-post it.

So you want to rip that neat web-cast for offline viewing, well that can be a hard one but; WM Recorder 12

WM Recorder may not look like much but it has proved very powerful and hence worth a look, it actually installs a special driver for capturing the video streams and seem to do a fair job.

I have experienced it to crash from time to time which is annoying, but as I’m on Vista that may be the issue right there (security can be a boggle).

Anyway, if you have other products you use with success let me know..  for now this is the best I have stumbled across.  For YouTube capturing I use www.vdownloader.es which is free and does a fairly good job (including converting to avi).

Microsoft SkyDrive 25gb FREE storage

skydriveSo you may have heard about this?  Microsoft has expanded your live-id with an online drive of 25gb of free storage (and I have even heard that if you use the whole thing they will expand your storage automatically, this however is unconfirmed).

So what can you use this for?

Well I immediately thought of an online backup of all my digital photos, and sure enough its possible (and my photo archive is still less than 25gb).  However nothing is ever perfect and this is also true for Skydrive, my problem with it is the file management – I organized my photos in a lot of different folders starting with a year folder and then moving down, however in skydrive you can ONLY upload files NOT folders – well you can manually create folders and upload to them but NOT drag and drop a folder (including subfolders) to SkyDrive.  So is this a show stopper, well no but if your files make use of a complex folder structure then uploading to SkyDrive WILL require some work.

So SkyDrive is indeed exiting but not perfect, but as its free you cant really complain too much can you 😉

You can share your SkyDrive or parts of it with friends which is quite nice.

I recommend you check it out, and while you are at it also check out the related services Live Mesh and Live Sync;
http://www.labnol.org/internet/compare-windows-live-sync-mesh-and-skydrive/6166

To check out SkyDrive log in to;
http://skydrive.live.com (use your live-id or create one)

Free Drive Backup 9.0 Express

Paragon now offers a free (only for non commercial usage) version of their Drive backup software (Drive Backup 9.0 Express) a Ghost like product, I have not tested the product myself but Paragons products are usually very high class so I would suspect it to be good.

http://www.paragon-software.com/home/db-express/features.html

Robocopy GUI – for the faint hearted

So you did not grow up with MS-DOS 3.2 like the rest of us, and when it comes to copying files you stick to the good old Windows Explorer.  Well that is all well and good, however if you suddenly need to copy a LARGE number of files or some very large files this can become an issue, the error handeling capabilities of Windows Explorer just aint that great.

You may have heard about Robocopy, a cool little – rather old by now – utility from Microsoft. Robocopy stands for Robust file copy, and it has the ability to mirror directories event down to ntfs rights, very nifty (I have used it since the good NT4 days) however it’s a good old MS-DOS commandline utility so you have to write pages with switches to tweak it just for your task.

To my amazement however I just realized that Microsoft actually released a GUI for the util back in 2006 :-) well well, so now there is no excuse not to use it and save yourself a lot of time and pain..

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/cc160891.aspx

Now Robocopy is a VERY nice utility and still the most reliable I know of, however as mentioned in an earlier post Terracopy is quite a competitor, and I would be sure not to miss giving it a go too (its somewhat easier to work with).

http://www.codesector.com/teracopy.php