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Author: JeanDavid Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 188694  
Subject: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/7/2013 6:13 PM
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I have a new computer as of a month or so ago.
I booted it up in Windows today with the view of making a backup.
This machine has couple of USB 3 ports and I plugged a 750 GByte Passport external drive in there and can make backups to it. I actually have two of those, each divided into two halves; one half Windows NTFS format and the other half Linux ext4 format. The main trouble is that the devices are too expensive and too large to store a useful number of them in my safe deposit box.

With Linux, I have no trouble backing up to a VXA-2 tape drive and those (8mm) tape cartridges fit very well in the box. In the past, running Windows XP Home, I could also back up to these tapes. But now with Windows 7 Professional, they have removed the ability to do that. If I rummage around, I see Windows knows I have a SCSI controller and a VXA-2 tape drive, that I have the appropriate driver for it, and so on.

But their backup program recognizes only my DVD reader-burner, my Passport drive, and a shared NTFS partition, on I can read with either OS. So How do I backup Windows to tape? I assume Microsoft believe their typical users never do backups, so why bother providing the software to do it. But tape is just another file, and they might as well allow writing to it and reading it. They do not. While the device manager knows it is there and working, it does not appear on Windows Explorer, so I cannot even do a simple copy of the image on the Passport to the tape.
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Author: chasb Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183265 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/7/2013 6:52 PM
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What do the manufacturers of the SCSI controller and VXA-2 tape drive say about your problem?

FWIW, my off site storage is a toolbox in my pickup truck. Currently have five regular size disk drives in there.

A SSD is a lot smaller than a regular disk drive. Will a SSD fit into your safe deposit box?

Charlie Brown

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Author: JeanDavid Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183266 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/7/2013 7:01 PM
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What do the manufacturers of the SCSI controller and VXA-2 tape drive say about your problem?

I just discovered the problem today, and have not asked them. I doubt it is a hardware problem, since Linux runs the drive with no trouble at all.

A SSD is a lot smaller than a regular disk drive. Will a SSD fit into your safe deposit box?

I have no doubt one would fit. But 12?

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Author: john770 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183267 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/7/2013 7:33 PM
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Generally speaking, it is the manufacturer of the hardware who is responsible for making a driver for that hardware.

If your tape drive mfr made a driver for that tape drive for Windows 7, you could probably get it working.

That's the reason to go back to the mfr.

Its not Microsoft's job to make an almost infinite number of drivers for all that hardware thats out there. Its the mfr of that hardware's job.

John

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Author: TwoCybers Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183269 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/7/2013 10:09 PM
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JeanDavid - I do not and will have not have the answer you want i.e. making tape work. But if you are wanting backups, I may be able to help. That said, I am curious how much data you have to backup and how many backups you keep in the bank. You mentioned the number 12. As I recall you have a significant number of HDD on your machine, but twelve 2 TB drives seems like a very large amount of data.

Gordon
Atlanta

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Author: warrl Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183271 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/8/2013 3:48 AM
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As I recall you have a significant number of HDD on your machine, but twelve 2 TB drives seems like a very large amount of data.

Don't forget that if your backup only takes 100GB, you still have to put the whole drive in storage.

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Author: JeanDavid Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183272 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/8/2013 7:22 AM
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Generally speaking, it is the manufacturer of the hardware who is responsible for making a driver for that hardware.

Perhaps that is so. However, the driver for this is a straight SCSI interface and normally needs no driver other than what it takes to run any SCSI device. This device worked perfectly with Windows XP Home. It is just that Microsoft does not choose to support magnetic tape backups anymore. I suppose they want their users to use their cloud for backups, but I do not know that for sure.

If your tape drive mfr made a driver for that tape drive for Windows 7, you could probably get it working.

But they seem to do this. Windows 7 finds the device. If I ask it to update the driver, it says the one I have is the most up to date one. If I have Windows check the device, it says it is working.

IThat's the reason to go back to the mfr.

ts not Microsoft's job to make an almost infinite number of drivers for all that hardware thats out there. Its the mfr of that hardware's job.


Interesting that Linux, done mostly by volunteers, can do this when Windows, done by a large commercial enterprise, chooses not to. It does not require a special driver. If Windows can support SCSI hard drives, it can support a VXA-2 tape drive because the drivers are the same.

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Author: JeanDavid Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183273 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/8/2013 8:21 AM
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JeanDavid - I do not and will have not have the answer you want i.e. making tape work. But if you are wanting backups, I may be able to help. That said, I am curious how much data you have to backup and how many backups you keep in the bank. You mentioned the number 12. As I recall you have a significant number of HDD on your machine, but twelve 2 TB drives seems like a very large amount of data.

[this got king-of long. I should not get up so early.]

It is not the amount of data that requires that number of drives. It is only about 30 GB of data that would need to go on any one drive. The machine with the 6 hard drives is now history. It died when powering it up after Sandy passed by this way. It ran a bit over 9 years 24/7, but was powered up less than 60 times. I no longer do the database work I was doing with that machine. And 4 of those drives were small (about 20 GBytes each). The reason was that I needed a lot of spindles, not a lot of data capacity. If I were going to do that again now, I would replace those drives with a single large SDD. But I do not do that stuff any more, so I do not need a lot of spindles or a lot of capacity. Right now, if I were not going to run Windows on this machine, the 350 GByte drive that came with it would be enough for everything.

I keep a full backup every night (when I am asleep). And I do not have all that much data on Windows anyway. I do a daily backup every Monday through Saturday, and another one every Sunday. That is 6 tapes + 1 Tape each week. The daily tapes are therefore rewritten every 7 days. The Sunday tapes are re-written once a month. I happen to store those at home (in a room separate from the computers. Once a month, I do a monthly tape (that is 12 more tapes) that are stored at the bank. That way, I can always go back up to 7 days, exactly in case of disaster or operator incompetence. I can also go back to any previous Sunday for the previous month, and any first-of-month for the previous year.

Consider what happens using a different scheme. If I use one tape, and it screws up while making that tape. Then I have no backup.

If I use two tapes, I can always go back to the previous day.

But what if I do not realize I lost a file until a month or two after I created a it, that I lost it? It will not be on any of the backups. This has happened to me where I used to work. I had to re-write a program from scratch by memory that I had written about a year previously. No fun when all the documentation was on that machine too, and that lost also.

Now one of those 750 GByte drives will not quite make a month of backups, but I might be able to reduce the size of a "full" backup to those, so I could squeeze a month's supply onto one of those drives. Also, I understand WD now make 1 GB and 2 GB models that might hold a month's supply of that stuff. Now that I think about it, I might just have 2 of those for Windows, that would barely be used, and two more for Linux. And 12 monthly tapes for Linux, and hope that the two passports will save enough Windows so I can get my taxes back. During the year I run Windows about once a month to do all the updates, especially the anti-virus stuff.

The reason I want really separate backup media is so that if something happens to the media (and I imagine carrying external drives around is more risky than relatively inert tape cartridges).

This is really an "insurance" problem. I generally restore a file or two a year, and that is due to my fumbling and deleting one. Last year, I had to restore a vast number of files because of operator incompetence. I stuck the backup tape in the machine, and went to lunch. It was all back when I got home. I Have run as many as three computers at home for a while, but two is more usual. I really need only one. I used to need two because I did not want to run Windows on my main computer. But I need it once a year to do my taxes. The reason I had three was because I needed an new one, and the other two were working. Before getting rid of the oldest, I wanted to play around with networking, so I hooked the two older ones to the newest one. And my printer was on one of the older ones. No router at the time; I made my newest computer do the routing, firewalling, etc. When I got tired of that, I gave away the oldest computer. My newest one does run Windows and Linux, and I cannot take Windows off it. Well, I know how, but the manufacturer wants it on there so they can do maintenance and warranty on it, so I just left the drive it was on in the machine and put in two more for Linux. That is way more disk space than I need, but when a Terabyte SATA drive is less than $70, I figured out it was almost impossible not to put two of those in there. (Actually, I could plug another of those in there too, but I already have more disk space than I will ever use.) My first hard drives required 3 phase power to run the big motor, ran around 2400 rpm and held 40 Megabytes. The disk assembly could be removed and replaced in about a minute. Size of a top loading washing machine, and cost $40,000. We have come a long way since about 1970!

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Author: tketola Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183274 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/8/2013 8:58 AM
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Hey JeanDavid,,,

"But tape is just another file, and they might as well allow writing to it and reading it. They do not. While the device manager knows it is there and working, it does not appear on Windows Explorer, so I cannot even do a simple copy of the image on the Passport to the tape."


Hmmm, well it's hard to believe that Win/7-Pro/64 can't handle a SCSI Tape Drive, but that's exactly what MS did!!!

So, you probably need to use some "Third-Party Back-Up Software", there may not be any free ones around???

This is what Seven-Forums says:

http://www.sevenforums.com/backup-restore/19200-tape-backup-...

(Snip)

Windows 7 have removed Removable Storage Manager (RSM) service from Windows 7.

Microsoft say "You can use RSM to manage online libraries (such as changers and jukeboxes) and track removable tapes and disks."
This means Windows NT Backup for Windows 7 and Server 2008 OS no longer included intergrated support for Tape Drives.

The way around this for Server 2008 is to install Nortons Backup Exec
For Windows 7 , It seems the only tool I found that support this is Uranium Backup: software backup Tape, SQL Server, NAS, DVD, Zip, FTP and >> BackupAssist Backup Software - backup software for Windows servers, tape backup software, exchange server backup, sql server backup, internet Rsync backup, image backup but so far no free softeware


TK...

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Author: tketola Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183275 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/8/2013 10:29 AM
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Hey JeanDavid,,,

Here are some other suggestion for you.

What you can do, just confirm that your Tape-Drive works OK with Win/7 in your new machine, is to download the Free test version of Acronis and check it out, while you look for a Free-Backup solution.

Acronis has Win/7 Independent Tape support. You can get the Free-Trial Versions here:

http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/

or here: http://www.acronis.com/backup-recovery/enterprise.html

Acronis Tape Support: http://www.acronis.com/promo/ABRSW/Tape-Backup/?source=us_go.....


Also, just my Opinion: maybe it's just time to give up the Ghost on Tape-Drives!!! They are going the way of 5-1/4" Floppy.
The newer external USB-2/3 drives are fairly compact, here is an example:

http://www.frys.com/product/6436582?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT...

Western Digital My Passport Essential 500GB USB 3.0
Portable Hard Drive Blue - WDBACY5000ABL-NESN: Price: $69.99

Physical Dimensions:

Height 0.60 Inches
Depth 3.2 Inches
Width 4.3 Inches
Weight 0.31 Pounds

Also, Western Digital has a FREE-Version of Acronis Backup-Software, that works on WD-Drives, don't know if it works on other Brand-Drives or NOT!!!!!!

TK...

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Author: JeanDavid Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183276 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/8/2013 12:47 PM
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Also, just my Opinion: maybe it's just time to give up the Ghost on Tape-Drives!!! They are going the way of 5-1/4" Floppy.
The newer external USB-2/3 drives are fairly compact, here is an example:

http://www.frys.com/product/6436582?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT......

Western Digital My Passport Essential 500GB USB 3.0
Portable Hard Drive Blue - WDBACY5000ABL-NESN: Pric: $69.99


I have two of the 750 GByte model of those (silver-grey) that I am trying out for the daily backups. I would like to put a whole month on one of those. I could do that if I used the whole thing for Linux. Right now I have them split up to do 1/2 Windows and 1/2 Linux. Then do just the monthly stuff to tape for long term storage at the bank. In other words, buy two of the 1 TByte model for my Linux daily backups, and hoping the things do not bomb suddenly but give enough warning to replace them early. Because by Murphy's law, one would die very near the end of the month and I would lose a month's data.

But I am by no means ready to give up VXA-2 tape backups. They are incredibly more reliable than any of the other tape drives I have used. I have always been able to read a backup (or any other) tape from these drives. The failure mode, when the tapes start to go bad, is that the immediate read-after-write check while they are being written catches this, and I just need to use a new one. I can usually get about 200 passes on a tape, so that is about 4 years per tape. Most of my tapes were put in service in 2007 and are still working fine. Most of my monthly tapes are from 2004, and I can read them too.

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Author: TwoCybers Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183277 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/8/2013 1:37 PM
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Your situation has changed from the days of many drives, but I sense you have not changed you backup system. If I am reading you correctly, you are saying you want daily backups. Nothing wrong with daily backups, but unless you are using daily backups for versioning purposes, 6 or 7 backups in my view is overly redundant.

Here is an option you might want to consider - beta Voyager Dock and X bard HDDs, where you define X.
http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/NewerTech/Voyager/Hard_Drive_...
I get the "0" GB option and purchase my own drives. Currently I am using
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0036Q7MV0/ref=oh_details_o...

If you space requirements are small, you could partition a drive.

In my system, I actually clone my drive daily. Keep Two HDD on my desk and alternate. Once a week I take a clone to the bank.

So worst case, the house burns down and I have lost a week's worth of data.

While is it true HDD can dies, you point out your lasted 9 years and they are more reliable today than a decade ago. If you do this, do not forget to obtain some cases to put the HDD in. Also with any system it is really important to test the system. i.e. make sure your tapes have data that can be recovered or in my case to boot from the clone and make sure the data files are present.

I am sure have missed something, but this is an alternative to tape - which frankly I am not much of a fan for today. Mid 1990s tape was what most people had to use.

Gordon
Atlanta

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Author: warrl Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183278 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/8/2013 2:36 PM
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The conceptually best backup scheme I've seen was built into some software called Palindrome that we used back in the first part of the 1990s.

With that software:
* you can configure how many versions of each file to keep backed up
* any given version of a file is not considered to be backed up unless it is on at least three tape sets (a tape set could extend across multiple tapes - this was enterprise server stuff)
* you can configure how many tape sets to use
* individual backup operations add to whatever individual tape they write to - not overwrite. No space on a tape is reused, or the files lost, until EVERY backup file on the tape is no longer needed (the software keeps track of how much of a tape is no longer needed and, when a tape is almost defunct, will move its remaining valuable contents to other tapes
* the last thing backed up in every backup operation is the software's own database
* the software expects tape sets C and beyond to be stored offsite and rotated back as needed; it gives instructions on which of these sets will be needed next (one set a week, for backup operations - if you asked for a restore it tells you what tapes it wants)
* set A is used every other day beginning on day 1
* set B is used every fourth day beginning on day 2
* set C is used every 8th day beginning on day 4
* set D is used every 16th day beginning on day 8
* the last two sets are used at the same frequency. For example, if there are five sets, set E will be used every 16 days (same as set D) beginning on day 16.

The problem we had with this system was that the tape drive was not stable on restores. Basically, you could not reliably do a long series of reads and fast-forwards on the same tape - it would eventually throw an error. And if you were doing a massive restore operation, that was what you would be doing. If we could have told the software "rewind that tape to the beginning and resume trying to read it" that would have been an acceptable workaround but it wasn't that smart; it completely gave up on restoring anything further from that tape in that restore operation.

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Author: jerryab Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183280 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/8/2013 7:15 PM
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I have a new computer as of a month or so ago.
I booted it up in Windows today with the view of making a backup.


I am using a new Dell Win 8 system as of this week, and the backup options are generally irrationally designed.

I wanted to make a system backup/recovery disk--it would need ~12GB, so three disks (DVD = 4+GB/disk). Can't do it. Why? Because Dell's software will ONLY burn to "non-rewritable" media. I use rewritable media so I *can* reuse it later.

So, it is a Seagate HDD (1TB), so I figure I can clone the HDD and get everything onto a backup HDD. Acronis/Seagate software. Nope. Reports something "invalid" on reboot--won't clone the drive.

Tried 3-4 other options, none worked.

I am running USB3 RAID boxes (2 boxes, 4 drive spots/box)--so that means it could be used to mirror drives.

Also recommend doing upload daily to "cloud storage" and copy that pile of data weekly/monthly to a couple local HDDs (i.e. 2-4 TB each) that then go into the bank vault. Then empty the cloud storage and repeat the cycle. Cloud storage replaces your daily backups.

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Author: Philipo Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183281 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/8/2013 8:57 PM
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"If Windows can support SCSI hard drives, it can support a VXA-2 tape drive because the drivers are the same."

Since Windows can indeed support SCSI drives that sounds like a contradiction or misunderstanding. I think it's the driver and related utility that helps make the tape drive volumes look the same as a hard drive.

Anyway there seems to be a lot under searches i.e.:
http://www.softwarepatch32.net/flvxa-2.htm but the vendor still seems your best bet (Tandberg supports their drives with Win7 x64 bit drivers). Linux support isn't relevant to Windows use unless those same volunteers also have an interest in writing Windows drivers...and who knows if they'd ever be good enough for betting your archives on.

FWIW I too use to use tape too but it's been a decade of no looking back. You're the last person I hear of still using tapes - wrt capacity & performance they seem low bang for the buck today compared to HD's - one or two 3TB drives have to be smaller than a box of tapes for a safety deposit box.....I know, I know, you already paid for the tapes. Sorry.
JMOs,
B

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Author: warrl Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183282 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/8/2013 9:26 PM
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one or two 3TB drives have to be smaller than a box of tapes for a safety deposit box

Let's see... a standard HD platter is 3.5" diameter so has 9.6 square inches of surface on each side. Subtract out a 1" core (I am deliberately trying to estimate high on the surface area) and that's 8.8 square inches left for data. Two sides, so 17.6 square inches of surface.

A cassette tape is .15 inches wide and runs at 1.875 inches per minute, so has an area of .28 square inches per minute. So a cassette that can play 64 minutes without being turned over has approximately the same recording-surface area as a typical single-platter hard drive.

I'm pretty sure you could store six cassettes in the space of a single standard-height hard drive. Or four of the backup tapes we used to use back when I was dealing with that stuff at work.

Nobody cares about rotational latency on backup tapes. Plus they can easily fast-forward at higher speeds than they read/write, which is really awkward to do with disks. So their read/write movement speed can be adjusted for maximum usable data density. Meaning that if you're designing the tape system for the purpose, you can probably store data at higher density on a tape than on a disk.

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Author: tketola Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183283 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/8/2013 9:47 PM
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Hey Philipo,,,

You said:

"If Windows can support SCSI hard drives, it can support a VXA-2 tape drive because the drivers are the same."

Since Windows can indeed support SCSI drives that sounds like a contradiction or misunderstanding. I think it's the driver and related utility that helps make the tape drive volumes look the same as a hard drive."


Well utility yes, RMS intergration for Tape-Drives, not in Win-7&Server 2008 OS. any longer, not supported by Win-7/Server 2008 OS Backup:

"Windows 7 have removed Removable Storage Manager (RSM) service from Windows 7.

Microsoft say "You can use RSM to manage online libraries (such as changers and jukeboxes) and track removable tapes and disks."
This means Windows NT Backup for Windows 7 and Server 2008 OS no longer included intergrated support for Tape Drives.


So, now you need to use Third-Party/Tape-Backup Software that uses its own/built-in RSM/service.

From my prior post:
______________________________________________________

This is what Seven-Forums says:

http://www.sevenforums.com/backup-restore/19200-tape-backup-......

(Snip)

Windows 7 have removed Removable Storage Manager (RSM) service from Windows 7.

Microsoft say "You can use RSM to manage online libraries (such as changers and jukeboxes) and track removable tapes and disks."
This means Windows NT Backup for Windows 7 and Server 2008 OS no longer included intergrated support for Tape Drives.

The way around this for Server 2008 is to install Nortons Backup Exec
For Windows 7 , It seems the only tool I found that support this is Uranium Backup: software backup Tape, SQL Server, NAS, DVD, Zip, FTP and >> BackupAssist Backup Software - backup software for Windows servers, tape backup software, exchange server backup, sql server backup, internet Rsync backup, image backup but so far no free softeware
_______________________________________________________________


TK...

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Author: JeanDavid Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183284 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/9/2013 7:25 AM
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FWIW I too use to use tape too but it's been a decade of no looking back. You're the last person I hear of still using tapes - wrt capacity & performance they seem low bang for the buck today compared to HD's - one or two 3TB drives have to be smaller than a box of tapes for a safety deposit box.....I know, I know, you already paid for the tapes. Sorry.

The problem with one or two external backup drives is that when one fails, I would lose an entire month's worth of backups, the most recent month. That would be intolerable. That is why I would need a whole bunch of those (say 11, to be comparable to my tape system), and they would only need to be about 30 GBytes each (if they made those proportionally smaller physically and in terms of capital investment. And that will never happen. As it is, I can get 120 GByte tapes for these backups, but I have only 40 GByte tapes because that is all I need.

It is not the size of a month's backups that is the limiting factor, it is the physical diversity that I am after, so a physical failure has much less impact.

Yes, I already have the tape. I do not know what I would do if I were building a system today. In 2000 those tape drives were about $1000 each for a VXA-1. The VXA-2 drives, that are backwards compatible with the VXA-1 hold about twice as much data on the same tapes, and seem to cost about $250 each. Perhaps I should get one as a spare, since as someone pointed out, they may be more difficult to get in the future. Tapes are still very easy to get.

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Author: JeanDavid Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183285 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/9/2013 7:35 AM
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Let's see... a standard HD platter is 3.5" diameter so has 9.6 square inches of surface on each side. Subtract out a 1" core (I am deliberately trying to estimate high on the surface area) and that's 8.8 square inches left for data. Two sides, so 17.6 square inches of surface.

The surface area is not important unless the area per bit is the important criterion. But from a safe-deposit-box, it is the volume that matters, so the space required by the core, the motor, the electronics, etc., all do matter. And the 3.5 inch drives are larger than the tapes. My tapes are 4" x 2 5/16 x 3/4" in the plastic box.

A cassette tape is .15 inches wide and runs at 1.875 inches per minute, so has an area of .28 square inches per minute. So a cassette that can play 64 minutes without being turned over has approximately the same recording-surface area as a typical single-platter hard drive.

I am not sure what this has to do with things. The VXA drives are helical scan, and there is no way to turn the tapes over, or to run them backwards. I do not even know if that is possible. You certainly cannot put the tapes in the drive upside down. They are 8mm tapes, not 4mm like the DDS-2 tapes I used in the distant past; those were completely unsatisfactory.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VXA

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Author: warrl Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183286 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/9/2013 11:32 AM
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A cassette tape is .15 inches wide and runs at 1.875 inches per minute, so has an area of .28 square inches per minute. So a cassette that can play 64 minutes without being turned over has approximately the same recording-surface area as a typical single-platter hard drive.

I am not sure what this has to do with things. The VXA drives are helical scan, and there is no way to turn the tapes over, or to run them backwards.


Doesn't matter; I was calculating raw surface for recording on.

Your VXA2 tapes are .31" wide and the X10 tapes from IBM are 407 feet long for a surface area of 126 square inches. This is 7+ times the recordable area of a single-platter hard drive. If they apply modern hard-drive read-write technology to the task, and they can make a single-platter 2TB drive, they should be able to put at least 14TB on a single tape. (Whether they could do this yet maintain backward compatibility with VXA/VXA2 is a question for the engineers.)

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Author: ptheland Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183287 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/9/2013 12:08 PM
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That is why I would need a whole bunch of those (say 11, to be comparable to my tape system), and they would only need to be about 30 GBytes each

Now you're talking in the realm of USB flash memory drives. 32GB and 64GB drives are readily available. I found a 32GB drive at Staples for about $30.

And I'm pretty sure that 11 of them would fit into a safe deposit box. Might even be able to get 12 in if you're careful. ;-)

Life and technology march on. Perhaps it's time to apply your proven principles to some new hardware.

--Peter

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Author: mschmit Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183288 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/9/2013 2:15 PM
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Now you're talking in the realm of USB flash memory drives. 32GB and 64GB drives are readily available. I found a 32GB drive at Staples for about $30.

I was going to suggest the same thing.
I've seen 32 GB USB drives for <$20.

I'd consider two big USB hard discs...use one every other month.
Inbetween use a dozen USB drives, 6 each week, for example.

This gives diversity of hardware and plenty of chances for duplicated files, etc.

And fits in a small shoebox

Mike

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Author: BobSch Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183289 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/9/2013 3:37 PM
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Or there's always a 1TB flash drive. Of course, its a bit more than $20.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/01/09/ces_flash_front/

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Author: Philipo Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183295 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/10/2013 9:00 AM
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"A cassette tape is .15 inches wide and runs at 1.875 inches per minute, so has an area of .28 square inches per minute. So a cassette that can play 64 minutes without being turned over has approximately the same recording-surface area as a typical single-platter hard drive"

And that tape has lower data density because of the wow & flutter of it's acetate vs rigid metal medium base. That you're measuring the tapes by time & IPS seems odd when the capacities are published right on the tapes (compression effects aside).

"I'm pretty sure you could store six cassettes in the space of a single standard-height hard drive."

Nope. Have both tapes & drives right here. And for what little the tapes hold a 3.5 or just as solid a standard standard 2.5" portable drive excels in density and no need for a working deck driver to keep it relevant.

"Nobody cares about rotational latency on backup tapes."

Except when you're in a hurry (you don't speak for those of us who are forced to play IT along with our primary jobs). If R/W perfoermance isn't cared about lLikewise one can use cheap slower green disc drives (and still be faster).
B

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Author: Philipo Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183296 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/10/2013 9:10 AM
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"The problem with one or two external backup drives is that when one fails, I would lose an entire month's worth of backups, the most recent month. That would be intolerable."

I guess the point is that a lot of us overcome this without having to reply on tape drives that are less than common and that haven't been supported by Win7 that is already 5 years mature. There are lots of options and a big drive allows lots of disc images and since drive failure happens but happens rarely for drives sitting on a shelf or in a vault one or two would give more orders of magnitude of redundancy for MTBF and cover your human error factors that it could and does work for the rest of us (seriously high dollar investments and investors and control + redundancy freaks like me too are satisfied by this).
Good luck,
B

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Author: Philipo Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183297 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/10/2013 9:14 AM
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"Your VXA2 tapes are .31" wide and the X10 tapes from IBM are 407 feet long for a surface area of 126 square inches. This is 7+ times the recordable area of a single-platter hard drive. If they apply modern hard-drive read-write technology to the task, and they can make a single-platter 2TB drive, they should be able to put at least 14TB on a single tape."

Why just make up stuff that isn't practical when comparing a solution needed today. FYI helical scan doesn't make use of the entire area where as dragging a head around a platter comes pretty close and gets denisty tape never will becuase of the stabiliy of the carrier (just like a floppy could never beat a hard disk even if given the same heads or coatings. Drive & flying head where as tipe drive requires contact - that's how ddiffernet he tolderances & geometry are).
B

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Author: Philipo Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183298 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/10/2013 9:16 AM
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(rely on)
Damned spell checker ;-)
B

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Author: tketola Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183300 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/10/2013 9:58 AM
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Hey warrl,,,

You said:

Nobody cares about rotational latency on backup tapes. Plus they can easily fast-forward at higher speeds than they read/write, which is really awkward to do with disks. So their read/write movement speed can be adjusted for maximum usable data density. Meaning that if you're designing the tape system for the purpose, you can probably store data at higher density on a tape than on a disk.

Pretty Funny,,,,,, LOL...

On 2000' - 1/2" tape Reverse to the Previous File's Tape/Gap and/or Rewind can take Minutes, depending on the File-Size!!!!

JIMHO,,,,, time to ditch the Tapes....

TK...

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Author: JeanDavid Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183301 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/10/2013 10:36 AM
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I guess the point is that a lot of us overcome this without having to reply on tape drives that are less than common and that haven't been supported by Win7 that is already 5 years mature. There are lots of options and a big drive allows lots of disc images and since drive failure happens but happens rarely for drives sitting on a shelf or in a vault one or two would give more orders of magnitude of redundancy for MTBF and cover your human error factors that it could and does work for the rest of us (seriously high dollar investments and investors and control + redundancy freaks like me too are satisfied by this).

I do not disagree with you. In fact, I could (but do not dare) take the view that disk drives are now so reliable that they may not need backing up at all. My present experience is too small to come to any real conclusions, but I notice I have been running (up to 3 at a time, but more usually 2) computers at home and that one of these had 2 hard drives, one has three drives, one had 6 drives, and the newest one has three drives. This since about 1996. In that time I have had only one disk failure, when an old WD Caviar hard drive (about 1.6 GBytes) died at about 10 years of age. Since then they have all worked, and this includes 8 10,000 rpm SCSI drives. Two of those are starting their 13th year of 24/7 duty. I am junking the other SCSI drives and most of the stuff that was in that computer. A lot of it works, but I do not trust it because of that power problem. A 10/100 NIC and the VXA-2 tape drive work fine, though. Two of the drives do not work right. They spin up, but the system will not boot when they are in there. They do not indicate that they are up to speed, and the boot will not continue until they do.

So except for human error, I might almost say that I would not need backups at all. Except when my 6-drive machine bit the dust, and I could not get two of those drives to work on the new machine. I recovered what I needed from one of those backup tapes, only a day old, so I lost nothing important.

I did get those two WD Passport drives that fortunately run USB3, so they can do a full Linux backup fairly quickly, and backup speed is of little importance because they run automatically around 3AM, so as long as they are done before I choose to use the computer, I do not care. And restoring an individual file now and then (usually less than one a year) goes much faster from a disk drive than from tape.

I think the way to go for Linux, is to do daily backups to a Passport drive for a week, or if I get the nerve, for a month. Do a backup to tape, and switch to the other Passport drive for the next month, etc. On the third month, delete everything from that Passport drive and start over.

Now for Windows 7, that I use rarely, but my income tax information is precious to me, I will use two Passports to do backups about once a month, since I run Windows only about that often. Perhaps I should alternate those drives each month, and delete stuff from one each year. Or maybe not. I notice Windows writes about 25 GBytes first, then only a few GBytes each time I do a backup on it. So maybe I will never have to delete anything from the Windows Passport drives. I am 74, so how long will I live? I may never fill those 750 GByte drives.

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Author: warrl Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183303 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/10/2013 11:48 AM
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"A cassette tape is .15 inches wide and runs at 1.875 inches per minute, so has an area of .28 square inches per minute. So a cassette that can play 64 minutes without being turned over has approximately the same recording-surface area as a typical single-platter hard drive"

And that tape has lower data density because of the wow & flutter of it's acetate vs rigid metal medium base. That you're measuring the tapes by time & IPS seems odd when the capacities are published right on the tapes (compression effects aside).


I was measuring the tapes by time and IPS because I was trying to get an idea of the *surface area* of the most commonly known variety of tape cartridge.

Cassette tapes also are made as cheaply as possible, and the longer the tape the lower quality it is (as a general rule). I don't consider them data-grade at all. Anything engineered for the purpose of data storage will be vastly higher quality, and will support bit densities far beyond what you can reliably get out of cassettes.

Also, the one actual data-grade tape cartridge I have looked up specs on has vastly more surface area on a tape than a cassette offers - about seven times a T120 cassette.

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Author: Kurtv Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183304 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/10/2013 11:59 AM
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...supported by Win7 that is already 5 years mature.

My calendar says it's only been a little over 3 years since Windows 7 was released...

...don't make the time fly by any faster than it already does! ;-)

Kurt

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Author: JeanDavid Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183305 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/10/2013 12:48 PM
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Cassette tapes also are made as cheaply as possible, and the longer the tape the lower quality it is (as a general rule). I don't consider them data-grade at all. Anything engineered for the purpose of data storage will be vastly higher quality, and will support bit densities far beyond what you can reliably get out of cassettes.

Not all of them are cheap and low quality.

Look at this:

http://www.unylogix.com/data_storage/tapes_jukebox/tech/VXAt...

And what they called extreme testing ... They recovered the data from the tested tapes after this mistreatment. The combination of their tapes (metal on mylar, not oxide on acetate) and their technology are, as I said earlier, far more reliable than most tape drive systems.

Hot Coffee Test
First, we wrote two VXAtapes with 100 MegaBytes of data. Then we placed the first tape in a dry beaker. We brewed a fresh pot of coffee, just the same way that our engineering team likes it in the morning: Hot, and strong. Then we poured the coffee right onto the tape, submerging it completely, and leaving it submerged for 30 seconds. ...

Freezing Test
First, we wrote two tapes with 100 MegaBytes of data each. To encase them in the ice, we first poured distilled water² to a depth of three inches into a large, flat container, and froze it overnight in a refrigerator. The next day, we set the tapes flat on top of the ice, covered them in about three inches of distilled water, then replaced the container in the freezer. Twelve hours later, the tapes were frozen solid. ...

Boiling Test
First we wrote two tapes with 100 MegaBytes of data each. For this test, we used distilled² water which we poured into a beaker and brought to a rapid boil. At our altitude, in Boulder, Colorado, this is a temperature of about 96 C. We submerged the tapes in the boiling water. ...

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Author: mschmit Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183306 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/10/2013 2:41 PM
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This since about 1996. In that time I have had only one disk failure, when an old WD Caviar hard drive (about 1.6 GBytes) died at about 10 years of age. Since then they have all worked, and this includes 8 10,000 rpm SCSI drives. Two of those are starting their 13th year of 24/7 duty.

Statistically, I'm not sure why you would ever run many HDD for 13 years. As the densities increase (say 2x every couple of years) you can replace two spindles with one spindle, etc. This dramatically reduces your odds of a failure over time. (Of course it costs money to replace but it saves money on electrical costs when you consider your 13 year time frame). And it does drastically increase the possible loss due to a single failure...but then that is what the backups are for.

Are these RAID drives? If not, why not?

Mike

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Author: warrl Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183309 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/10/2013 3:58 PM
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Cassette tapes also are made as cheaply as possible, and the longer the tape the lower quality it is (as a general rule). I don't consider them data-grade at all. Anything engineered for the purpose of data storage will be vastly higher quality, and will support bit densities far beyond what you can reliably get out of cassettes.

Not all of them are cheap and low quality.

Look at this:

http://www.unylogix.com/data_storage/tapes_jukebox/tech/VXAt...


Thank you for providing such excellent documentation of what I said.

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Author: JeanDavid Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183310 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/10/2013 5:38 PM
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As the densities increase (say 2x every couple of years) you can replace two spindles with one spindle, etc.

In the system with 6 10,000 rpm Ultra/320 LVD SCSI hard drives, I had 4 of the drives rather small: 17 GBytes each. The other two were the same, but 76 GBytes. That was all the space I needed. It is true that I could have purchased a single drive with that capacity. But I did not want that. I was running database applications that before were on two hard drives and they took 8 to 12 hours to run. So I built the new machine with the four small extra drives that were dedicated to the database application. That cut those jobs down to two hours or less each.

They were not set up as RAID, because I wanted to control where the data were kept to minimize seek times. With raid, that could work out, but mainly for systems where there are a lot of different applications working, and where a dedicated hardware RAID controller with enough memory for buffering and a smart processor of its own to manage all that were there too. Software raid would really not deal with that kind of think. At least not back in 2003 when I designed that system.

While it is true that that machine had processors about 6x faster than the other, the jobs were largely IO limited, so processor speeds did not matter all that much. Old machine had two Pentium III 550 MHz processors. New machine had two 3.06 GHz hyperthreaded Xeon processors, so they pretended to be four processors. The reason I did that was precisely to get more spindles so the dbms did not have to do so many seeks, which were the problem for my workload. If the index for a table was on one drive, I put the corresponding to that index on a different drive. That way each head assembly could stay relatively close to where it needed to be instead of seeking back and forth. Those two 13 year old drives are still running fine on my old computer. I do not really need that machine anymore, but since it is there and works just fine, I keep it. Came in handy when the new machine died after Sandy came through here. So why junk it.

The so called new computer is now history, having been replaced by a Dell T7600. Since I no longer do that kind of database work, I do not have all those SCSI drives on the new machine. I do have the 350 GByte drive that came with it, the 1 TByte one I added to put Linux on it, and another 1 TByte drive I do not actually need, but for $70, including shipping, I could not resist. I have room for one more of those SATA drives, but I cannot imagine getting another one, even for $10.

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Author: JeanDavid Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183311 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/10/2013 5:41 PM
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Thank you for providing such excellent documentation of what I said.

I though you said that tapes, especially with high capacity, were of low quality.

I hardly think linking to those tests where the tapes were put in hot coffee, boiling water, and being frozen into a block of ice, and being able to recover the date implies low quality.

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Author: warrl Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183314 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/11/2013 12:39 AM
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Thank you for providing such excellent documentation of what I said.

I though you said that tapes, especially with high capacity, were of low quality.


No, I said cassettes. And I immediately drew a distinction between them and tape cartridges engineered for data storage.

So you replied with further detail on a certain style of tape cartridge engineered for data storage. Supporting what I had said.

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Author: JeanDavid Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183316 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/11/2013 9:18 AM
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No, I said cassettes. And I immediately drew a distinction between them and tape cartridges engineered for data storage.

OK: I misunderstood what you meant.

I think I have had (bad) experience with the cassettes you meant. They were 4mm for a Hewlett-Packard C1539A DDS-2 tape drive. It was so unreliable that the computer manufacturer sent me a new one under warranty to replace it. It was no better. So the manufacturer asked if I would consider a VXA-1 (the only model available at the time) and after looking it up on the Internet, I agreed. They were $1000 each at the time, but the manufacturer of the computer agreed to eat the cost. They said they had so much trouble with the HP drives that they no longer offered the HP drive with their machines. The best feature of that HP drive was you could stick a backup tape in there, and by pressing the right buttons when booting the computer, you could do a "bare metal" restore. I.e., you could buy a new machine with no software in it except for the BIOS, and restore your previous system on it if it had the same architecture and enough disk space. But the thing was so unreliable that I never tried that.

Frankly, I am amazed that drives like that work at all. They use 4mm tapes and record something like 64 tracks on them. So when recording, it writes one track from one end to the other. Then it moves the head down the tape by 1/64 of a millimeter and writes the next track in the other direction, etc. Well those tapes just do not have the tracking ability to do that. Furthermore they must be written at a constant speed or the tape skews differently at different speeds. I imagine it would never be possible to read one of those tapes written on one drive on another. And the drives are nowhere near heavy enough to use as an anchor for small boats.

The VXA drives are helical scan, and they normally write at full speed if the computer can keep up. Normally, it can because mine all have SCSI interfaces and a SCSI controller can normally keep up, especially with a fast machine. But one feature of the VXA drive is that it does have a data buffer and if the computer is not keeping up, it slows down the tape speed so it does not get ahead of the computer. If necessary, it can even stop the tape. When that happens, it does not need to back up, go forward, get up to speed and then start writing again. The HP drive did that all the time. Someone called it shoe-shining. Not a good thing. Drives like that gave tape a bad name.

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Author: exeter17 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183321 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/11/2013 12:48 PM
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Windows 7 does support tape drives. Get a copy of Backup Exec. Windows native backup dropped support for tapes a long time ag0 (2008).

Get a small Cirago or USB power 2.5 inch drive. Run Disk2VHD or the native windows Backup. That resulting VHD is a full backup (you can mount it and grab files if you need to). Its also around the same size as a tape and I find the price comparable to an LTO2 tape.

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Author: exeter17 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183322 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/11/2013 12:55 PM
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The best feature of that HP drive was you could stick a backup tape in there, and by pressing the right buttons when booting the computer, you could do a "bare metal" restore


Ah, ODBR was my favorite feature of these. The HP variant worked better for Exchange 5.5 than the Arcserve 2000 "bare metal restore" option ever did.

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Author: ukgold Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183333 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/12/2013 12:34 AM
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I read all the posts... got a bit lost in the middle... but if space is the ISSUE then why not get the bank to get you a BIGGER safty deposit box......

Alan....

if your system has USB 3 then backing up with 32GB/64GB usb sticks would seem to be the way to go


Alan ;)

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Author: JeanDavid Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183334 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/12/2013 11:04 AM
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I read all the posts... got a bit lost in the middle... but if space is the ISSUE then why not get the bank to get you a BIGGER safty deposit box......

I suppose that is an option. I already upsized my safety deposit box once to have room for 12 tapes in addition to all my Berkshire Hathaway Class A stock certificates, my 100 ounce gold bars, my deeds to my properties in Monaco, Greek Islands, Switzerland, and various tax havens here and there, and other stuff. Mostly kidding. I suppose there would be room for a dozen WD Passports in the next larger box for more money.

usb sticks do not appeal to me yet. Maybe once they have been in use 10 years or so, I might trust them for long-term storage. I am not even sure about writeable CD-ROMs yet, although the recent ones are much much better than the earlier ones.

I wonder about a lot of long-term storage media. Writing with suitable inks on suitable (archival) paper has stood the test of time. Storage on magnetic media works fairly well, though as the technology changes, compatibility problems arise. You cannot read 7-track magnetic tape anymore: no drives. And people lost a lot of data that way because they did not think to copy them to 9-track. I do not suppose there are 9-track tapes any more either, but do not care to research it.

Now storing data as a charge in a capacitor, which is what these usb sticks actually do, is scary to me. It is amazing to me that they work for more than a few seconds. Back when DRAMs first came out, they had to be refreshed every few milliseconds or they would forget. The time between refresh has no doubt increased over the last 20 or 30 years, but it is not infinite unless they use ferroelectric dielectrics in the chips, and I do not think they do. In any case, ferroelectric materials are usually too slow.

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Author: Matt1344 Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183338 of 188694
Subject: Re: Backups for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Date: 1/12/2013 4:49 PM
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"Now storing data as a charge in a capacitor, which is what these usb sticks actually do, is scary to me. It is amazing to me that they work for more than a few seconds."

I used EEPROMS for a number of military subsystems starting in the early 80s, mostly to improve frequency accuracy of uwave filters and oscillators. When I left the work force completely in 2003 those units were still in service and I don't recall in all those years ever getting a return with a bad EEPROM, they seemed to be "remembering" Quite well.

They do have a limited number of write cycles as was discussed in a much earlier thread here in regards to SSDs.

I recently picked up a 32GB Mushkin USB3.0 stick: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226...

I didn't look at every manufacturer but of those I did Mushkin was the only manufacturer that noted; "WEAR-LEVELING FUNCTIONALITY
Wear-leveling functionality optimizes writes for superior longevity and reliability"
Several reviewers did note early deaths of their units. If my needs were critical I'd probably so some sort of burn in. As it is I will back up my unit with a secondary 32GB drive I have.

Of course regular HDDs remember quite well and if the electronics fail the data may still be recoverable from the platter, an advantage over the flash drives.

I remember magnetic RAM being worked on but haven't followed the progress, if any... So, off to Wikipedia...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetoresistive_random-access...

MRAM: "It is also worth comparing MRAM with another common memory system, flash RAM. Like MRAM, flash does not lose its memory when power is removed, which makes it very common as a "hard disk replacement" in small devices such as digital audio players or digital cameras. When used for reading, flash and MRAM are very similar in power requirements. However, flash is re-written using a large pulse of voltage (about 10 V) that is stored up over time in a charge pump, which is both power-hungry and time-consuming. In addition, the current pulse physically degrades the flash cells, which means flash can be written only to some finite number of times before it must be replaced.
In contrast, MRAM requires only slightly more power to write than read, and no change in the voltage, eliminating the need for a charge pump. This leads to much faster operation, lower power consumption, and an indefinitely long "lifetime"."


And "Alternatives to MRAM
Flash and EEPROM's limited write-cycles are a serious problem for any real RAM-like role, however. In addition, the high power needed to write the cells is a problem in low-power roles, where non-volatile RAM is often used. The power also needs time to be "built up" in a device known as a charge pump, which makes writing dramatically slower than reading, often as much as 1,000 times. While MRAM was certainly designed to address some of these issues, a number of other new memory devices are in production or have been proposed to address these shortcomings.

To date, the only such system to enter widespread production is ferroelectric RAM, or F-RAM (sometimes referred to as FeRAM). F-RAM is a random-access memory similar in construction to DRAM but (instead of a dielectric layer like in DRAM) contains a thin ferroelectric film of lead zirconate titanate [Pb(Zr,Ti)O3], commonly referred to as PZT. The Zr/Ti atoms in the PZT change polarity in an electric field, thereby producing a binary switch. Unlike RAM devices, F-RAM retains its data memory when power is shut off or interrupted, due to the PZT crystal maintaining polarity. Due to this crystal structure and how it is influenced, F-RAM offers distinct properties from other nonvolatile memory options, including extremely high endurance (exceeding 1016 for 3.3 V devices), ultra low power consumption (since F-RAM does not require a charge pump like other non-volatile memories), single-cycle write speeds, and gamma radiation tolerance.[14] Ramtron International has developed, produced, and licensed ferroelectric RAM (F-RAM).

Another solid-state technology to see more than purely experimental development is Phase-change RAM, or PRAM. PRAM is based on the same storage mechanism as writable CDs and DVDs, but reads them based on their changes in electrical resistance rather than changes in their optical properties. Considered a "dark horse" for some time, in 2006 Samsung announced the availability of a 512 Mb part, considerably higher capacity than either MRAM or FeRAM. The areal density of these parts appears to be even higher than modern flash devices, the lower overall storage being due to the lack of multi-bit encoding. This announcement was followed by one from Intel and STMicroelectronics, who demonstrated their own PRAM devices at the 2006 Intel Developer Forum in October. One of the most attended sessions in the IEDM December 2006 was the presentation by IBM of their PRAM technology."


Regards, Ken

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