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Windows 7: Is It Best to Keep External Backup Hard Drive Powered Off

13 May 2016   #11
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Durango View Post
...
And how did you know that I make tinkering mistakes?
Easy, we all make tinkering mistakes.


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13 May 2016   #12
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

There are a couple of problems with the "geeky solution". One, if you computer gets infected before you update your backup, you will backup the infection. While most infections are stealthy, some, like the crypto viruses are very visible and if you manually start your backups, you at least may be able spot the infection before running the backup. It's also a good idea to run scans with all your antimalware programs before updating a backup.

Two, automatic backups require leaving your backup drive in the immediate area of your computer, making it visible to any crook who might steal your computer. The drive still needs to be plugged in to the mains, making it susceptible to any surges that might come down the line.

Overall, it is far better to complete disconnect the drive from the computer and the power and store it out of sight of the computer, similar to what Jack (LayBackBear; he's smarter than the average bear) said to do.

Depending on your work flow, you may want to consider increasing the frequency of your backups. You are already using two backups, which is excellent. I would suggest keeping the drive you have been backing up only once a month offsite, such as at a trusted friend's or neighbor's home, in a locked locker or desk drawer at work, a bank safe deposit box (my personal choice), etc. and swap it out with the one you keep at home as frequently as possible. If you don't add data very often, updating you backup only after adding the data would be adequate. When determining the frequency of your backups, keep in mind any data that hasn't been backed up can't be recovered from a backup. If your computer loses all its data, data that was added or changed since the previous backup will be lost.
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13 May 2016   #13
Durango

 

Good things to think about, Lady. I have a friend who does indeed store his drive in his safe deposit box and then swaps them out occasionally. I am thinking about doing this. I don't worry about crooks where I live (I am retired and live in a very safe community, plus my two dogs keep vigilant watch); however, I do worry about fire, storm damage, etc.

I have never had a security breach, and only once in the past 10 or 12 years have I had to do a restore using a system image (too much user tinkering). But I am still fanatical about doing backups. I actually create 4 system images to 3 different drives (2 external and 1 internal) using two different programs (Acronis and Macrium). Additionally, I use SyncToy to automatically backup all my data files on a weekly basis. Except for the one drive that I disconnect after doing a manual backup about once a month, all my drives stay connected. Thus my original question........is this a good thing to do.

Now I think I will disconnect all but one of the external drives......it is partitioned, and I use it almost daily to store my wildlife photos and videos. But even this drive is backed up manually to the one drive that I have been disconnecting.

Thanks to all for your input.........
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13 May 2016   #14
ThrashZone

Win-7-Pro64bit 7-H-Prem-64bit
 
 

Hi,
Yep disconnecting hdd's the only issue you might face is not doing it properly or dropping the hdd's
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13 May 2016   #15
Brds7t7

Windows 7 Pro 64-Bit, Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit, Windows 8.1 Pro 64-Bit
 
 

I used to always keep one of my backup drives permanently connected and had one disconnected, but now with all these ransomware/crypto viruses popping up I don't keep any connected.
Now, I only connect when I'm doing a backup. I disconnect from the Internet, check running services before connecting the drive and only then will I connect it, do the backup, remove the drive and then reconnect my Internet. I'm very careful anyway and use many different types of protection, I've found cryptoprevent to be the most reliable so far. But some of these crypto viruses are getting a lot more sneaky. I don't mind being overly cautious when it comes to ransomware.
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13 May 2016   #16
Durango

 

Brds - what do you mean by "check running services before connecting the drive"? What specific services are you checking and what are you looking for? Thanks.....
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13 May 2016   #17
RolandJS

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

"...if you manually start your backups, you at least may be able spot the infection..." Neither Macrium Reflect nor Acronis True Image will give one a running directory of what is being backed up as it is being backed up. The only way I know of to spot an infection is by sheer luck of the draw -- with explorer.exe and calling up a sample of various docs, graphs, pics, etc.
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13 May 2016   #18
Brds7t7

Windows 7 Pro 64-Bit, Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit, Windows 8.1 Pro 64-Bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Durango View Post
Brds - what do you mean by "check running services before connecting the drive"? What specific services are you checking and what are you looking for? Thanks.....
Well, anything with random weird looking names for starters Although that's not always a sign of a virus.
I recognise most of the services running on my system unless I've just installed something new.
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13 May 2016   #19
RolandJS

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

"... I actually create 4 system images to 3 different drives (2 external and 1 internal) using two different programs (Acronis and Macrium)..." -- Durango
Ahhh, a mahn after me own hart! His devotion to backup matches mine, which brings tears of joy similar to Tammye Faye at a 50K collection day at Praise Me Lord ministry [long long long ago].
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13 May 2016   #20
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by RolandJS View Post
"...if you manually start your backups, you at least may be able spot the infection..." Neither Macrium Reflect nor Acronis True Image will give one a running directory of what is being backed up as it is being backed up. The only way I know of to spot an infection is by sheer luck of the draw -- with explorer.exe and calling up a sample of various docs, graphs, pics, etc.
A ransom note to unlock your data is one clue. More reliable is to run scans with your security programs to find and remove any infections before updating a backup.
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