Sharron-Idol's Tech + Music & Entertainments Website
The Revised Ultimate Active Automatic Backup( 'Takes about 9 minutes to read. )
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Table of Contents
The ultimate active automatic backup system isn’t actually as hard to achieve as it may sound, nor does it need to cost you a fortune.
Why do I call this ‘The Ultimate’ active automatic backup system?
The reason is because, if you set it up like I suggest herein, it’ll even automatically back up your WordPress self-hosted blog or website locally and online too.
Why would a musician or entertainer need this? – Because it’s an ideal time-saving system which is great for use by any showbiz person; ( or by any other computer-user come to that ) that’s why.
This is the revised example. – In this example I’ve used Windows 10 as the operating system. (Home or Pro – Either will do.) All computers (That being 2 desktop computers and a laptop. (Your individual choice of computers may vary; but I used the laptop for a reason: See further down.)) had all drives that were connected to all other computers also connected as network drives to each individual computing unit. I built “stilts” for the laptop, allowing it good airflow and cooling. This was necessary because the laptop was to be the hub of the operation; the computer through which other computers would access the external hard-drive, the pair of them acting as a server: It was for that reason that the laptop needed to run at all times – 24/7 – even during power outages, in which the laptop’s battery would act as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and also power the hard-drive via USB3.
For the external hard-drive, which runs in tandem with the laptop as a server, I used a relatively-inexpensive Western Digital ‘My Book’ USB3 external 4 terabyte hard-drive. I picked up the Western Digital 4TB My Book drive brand new from Amazon for $80. I think I got a really good deal, and I doubt you’ll find it at that low price anywhere else or even on Amazon now; though I may be wrong. I partitioned the WD drive into 3 separate partitions. I suggest that you initially partition off 1TB of the WD drive’s total space, and label it drive F: – Then split the remaining space into 2 equal partitions of over 1TB in size, map those as network drives to other computers in the system, and label those drive G: and drive K: . Ensure that these new drives are mapped to all other computers in the system as network drives; preferably using the same designated drive letters if at all possible.
(Labeling drives with the letters that I used is done so that you can follow what I’m on about: You can give them any label you like in reality – but ensure that the same drive-letters are used even where these drives are mapped network drives on other machines if you possibly can: Doing so makes things a lot easier and avoids confusion later on..)
So far, so good eh? –‘Nothing too far out of the ordinary yet.
For our next step in setting up the ultimate active automatic backup system – we need to subscribe to Dropbox:
Yes it does, for this example, have to necessarily be Dropbox: Freebie substitutes just won’t cut it. (I am not [yet] a Dropbox affiliate, and I do not profit if you start using Dropbox.) I think around $8 per month buys me a terabyte of cloud storage – and that’s plenty enough for what we need. The idea here is to set up the Dropbox app so that it syncs your files, which are stored with Dropbox, to your computer – offline to your F: drive. (You’ve just hired a whole terabyte of extra storage in the cloud too, which I’m sure you’ll find useful for things; other than but as well as WordPress backups. – See further down for more.)
The next thing you’ll need to do is set up an account with Backblaze. Once you’ve done that; set Backblaze to back up any part of the laptop’s C: drive that we want backed up online. Also set Backblaze to back up F:, G:, and K: drive – so your entire Dropbox storage will not only have a local offline copy on F: drive, but also will be enjoying online backup via Backblaze.
Backblaze won’t allow you to set it to back up unused drives; so you might have to add a dummy-file to F:, G:, and K:.. At least to begin with.
Start using drive G: for storage of items you don’t want to go on Dropbox. Anything you store on G: gets online backup via Backblaze.
Anything stored on F: drive is also stored on Dropbox, if you’ve correctly set it up as above. – That means that you can access it across the web from anywhere on any web-connected device. It also gets backed up online via Backblaze.
Drive K: itself… Well you don’t HAVE to back up drive K: with Backblaze, but personally I do like to have local backups backed up online. – It makes sense and further decreases your risk of losing data if you do so.
Please do set Backblaze to back up drive K: – you’ll need that too. If you don’t set Backblaze to back up drive K: then you only have local backups of the data on it, and if anything happens to your hard drive containing drive K: then you’re screwed. The reason to back up drive K: is because I suggest that you go to Windows Settings> Update & Security> Backup, and you set all computers in the system to back up their file history to drive K:. I also suggest that you send other manual and automatic backups to drive K also; such as regular system images, database backups, registry backups from software such as Glary Utilities, and the like, for example.
As soon as anything is written to a file that you have set for backup; the system goes into operation to ensure that, within 24 hours, usually less, that data is backed up online and also locally. Your other computers also get backed up locally and online too – if you’ve set Backblaze up as suggested above
Back Up Your WordPress Self-Hosted Website With This Too…
A great thing about using this method is that if you have a WordPress self-hosted website; you can install the BlogVault plugin and set it to back up your WordPress website to your Dropbox account daily. As soon as your BlogVault backups appear in your Dropbox account they’ll be sent to F: drive. Backblaze will then back up the BV backup to your Backblaze online backup account – All without you having to lift a finger.
As I mentioned earlier; I picked up the Western Digital 4TB My Book drive brand new from Amazon for $80. I think I got a really good deal, and I doubt you’ll find it at that low price anywhere else or even on Amazon now; though I may be wrong. (You don’t have to use this WD drive anyway – it’s just a suggestion – because I used it.) The subscription to Backblaze costs $5 a month for unlimited backup, 1TB of cloud storage from Dropbox costs $8 a month, and BlogVault costs nothing to back up your WordPress. – So for around $13 a month, or under £12 GBP a month, it’s a good little setup.
Its best to leave your main computer ( I used a laptop – because it’s very light on power-usage, and the battery acts as a UPS for the computer part of it as well as the screen and the USB hard drive. * Note: Not all laptops provide enough power via their USB3 ports to power the device, so you might have to be selective about which laptop you use, if you use one.) in this setup powered up and on – running – all the time. – But you can shut main down or reboot it at any time: It’ll catch back up again fairly quickly; depending upon the amount of data it has to handle.
If you’re not using a laptop as the main or server computer, then I would suggest investing in a proper Uninterruptible Power Supply. Using a normal desktop computer here may also cost you more in terms of power, too.
You’ll be able to tell – from all the links – that I’m a Backblaze affiliate. I do get a bonus if you take out a subscription with Backblaze via one of my links in this article. – However I will add that there are many other online backup providers – and most of whom should be suitable for use in this operation; though Backblaze are best as far as I’m concerned. I have had multiple bad experiences with Carbonite, and I suggest that you avoid using their services.
This ultimate automated backup system is no big secret; it’s just a product born from Idol ingenuity. There’s no copyright on it and the idea itself costs nothing: It’s the setting it up which means you’ll have to part with a minimal amount of dosh. – But it’s very unlikely to break the bank; and you’ll probably come up with your own variation on the system described here after time has passed – which might cost you even less perhaps?.
Enhanced and Improved
I revised my original article that I wrote a while back; because I’ve simplified things considerably since then, and the now-defunct CrashPlan app doesn’t feature in this revision of the backup-system.
I hope that you have happy and stress-free backups on autopilot with this system – as used by Sharron-Idol at time of writing. – August 2018.