With all of the various cloud backup systems OneDrive etc. and the ease of using an ISO, what files do you suggest should be backed up locally through Windows, and what files backed up through my personal cloud service (iDrive?)

Comments (5)

5 responses to “Backups”

  1. hrlngrv

    Anything for which you may need spur-of-the-moment should be available locally. Maybe not all bank and payment records, but recent ones perhaps. OTOH, photos, videos and the like should be fine in the cloud.

    Should add: just in case an earthquake, flood, tornado or meteor hits, best to have your current homeowner's insurance declarations page in hardcopy. Also auto insurance, in case your car is stolen, in which case you won't have access to your insurance card.

  2. wright_is

    I use a cloud backup (Carbonite on my PCs, Backblaze on my daughter's MacBook Pro - Carbonite stopped working on the Mac and after several weeks, we just replaced it with Backblaze) and local backup.

    For off-site, cloud backup, I use a dedicated service that uses TNO encryption - it is encrypted locally and the hoster does not have access to the data or the encryption key. They key is then kept safely locked away.

    Locally, I have the following: SSD -> HDD -> NAS -> External HDD. The sync from the SSD to HDD runs every hour, on the hour, the sync from HDD to my NAS runs every hour at half past the hour. I then do a regular backup to an external drive of the key data.

  3. james2720502

    hringrv, I appreciate the advice on the hard copies. I had not thought of that.

    From wright_is' response, I am guessing that I was not clear enough in asking my question. I have a simple 8 TB hard drive backing up my various home computers. It is so much easier now compared to when I had to have a home server. I also have an account with iDrive, so that I have a personal online backup. However, I would like to keep those charges to a minimum.

    The question remains, what really needs to be backed up? An ISO will reinstall my operating system, so I it does not seem that a backup of Windows is needed.

    First, while most of my games are on a separate hard drive, various files/folders seem to be stored in both program folders. Do they require backup, or will Steam, GOG etc. just reset needed missing parts when I log into the sites?

    Second, I get it that pictures, videos, and documents need to be stored, and is there a reason to store each individual user account or will it suffice to simply back up "All Users." The redundancy of User files makes me feel like I am missing something there.

    Third, are there other files/folders which I need to backup?


    • hrlngrv

      In reply to james2720502:

      ISOs are nice, but you'd presumably need to install ALL updates since that ISO's release through to today. I haven't reinstalled any Windows version for a few years, but I figure it'd take at least an hour. The value of your time is for you to determine.

      That said, BACK UP ALL CONFIGURATION CHANGES. FWIW, I have a few dozen .REG files for all the tweaks I've made. Also useful to have a local backup of your browser's profile directory (you don't need to backup cache or storage subdirectories since you'd usually be better off letting your browser regenerate them; OTOH, useful to have all the extensions you may have installed; FWIW, this applies to non-MSFT browsers).

      As for application software, if you need to reinstall Windows, you'd also need to reinstall everything under %PROGRAMFILES%. IMO, that makes backing up entire registry hives rather than only known customized keys an exercise in wasting time and storage.

      As for what to backup under C:\Users, depends. Does everyone in your household store all pictures, music, videos, other files (e.g., kids' homework) under C:\Users\Public, or do some of you store files under your own %USERPROFILE% directories? I figure you'd be safer backing up each users separate %USERPROFILE% locally, and shared files under %PUBLIC% to the cloud, but best to check file access date-time stamps to see which files have been accessed most recently regardless of where they're stored.

      The big problem is figuring out what's worthwhile to backup under %APPDATA% and %LOCALAPPDATA%. Lots of cache subdirectories which aren't worth backing up, unfortunately also lots of configuration files.

  4. james2720502

    hringrv, After reading your well thought out response, I realize, that after only a few years into retirement, I have become a "normal." :-) Thank you for your time.