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Ariel Offline OP
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My son (whom I WILL involve in this posting later), purchased a tape drive on eBay a month ago, along with peripherals including a couple of tapes and a cleaning tape (two vendors). He desperately needs to back up his data.

It is NOT working. Maybe he got a dud (no warrantee). He has spent countless hours trying to figure out what the matter is to no avail. His eyes look like a racoon's from missing sleep, as he tinkers with this drive into the wee hours...or even all night. His system is very unstable. He is terrified it is about to go kablooey and erase...EVERYTHING. He says Windows is "acting funny". He hasn't dared shut down his computer for a whole week now for fear it won't reboot...ever again. That Microsoft will "regret any inconvenience" eek eek

His data includes all end of year projects, and many, many graphics files (which of course, take up a huge amount of space hence need for tape drive) - including his entries in the upcoming National TSA Computer Arts competition for which he qualified again. ( thumb ). He's good - he won two top national prizes last year (tho' underage for the High School teams). He's just not that great with tape drives. frown

I just discovered all this (he's been at his Dad's) and have been reluctantly investigating the "emergency" purchase of a warranteed drive from eBay. (In fact, I've been up all night checking eBay, emailing vendors etc....And postng here). Total cost over $500 frown frown He's not even positive the drive is at fault.

I realize anyone advising would need to know more, but meanwhile...DOES anybody out there know much about these help (Maybe this should be done thru PM's so as not to bore everybody else to death...Will be available early evening again).


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Why don't you buy an external hard disk? For under 100$ you should be able to find one with quite a large capacity. He could backup everything on that drive and then continue tinkering with the tape driver.
I'm not really an expert on the issue though, so I'm just hoping now that you can install a new hard disk without having to reboot your PC whome laugh
Good luck!


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While I am by no means a computer GURU, I have had experience with the bad equipment, low budget, desperation scenario you present. I had a publishing company before Microsoft became emperor of cyberspace and typesetting became available to all for nothing. (You piano store types think you have it hard?)

Is it possible to bring another computer on site for a time? Does your son have a friend with extra capacity who would let him transport files via cable, or possibly internet if you have a fast enough service?

When a business system crashed for us we ported files onto other computers and then rebuilt the damaged software or hardware. You are only looking for temporary storage capacity. Heck as technology changed I gave or threw away more systems than I can remember. Maybe a friendly graphic artist in town could save the situation. Do any of the neighbors have unused systems cluttering up their closets?

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Nunatax has a good point. I have seen external drives up to 80 GB going for around 150 dollars. That should be all the backup you would need. Zip makes some rather affordable models.


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Ariel Offline OP
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Thank you, Nunatax and fmelliot and JBryan!

I will communicate everything you (and anybody else writes) to him. I know less than zilch about this. I will say that he has a kind of "supercomputer" with a gigantic storage capacity and even so these graphics files are mostly compressed. He hs said even with a working 20/40 tape drive it would take abut a day to back everything up.

Even the school doesn't have that kind of capacity. Not floating around anyhow. And he says there is some kind of problem in splitting up the graphics files. He also has a RAID array (double 80 Gig, plus another processor and HD space). He really has a server computer. Even so, he says his storage problem has become so acute, he has had to delete source files to fit stuff in. If any of this info is relevant.

Thanks again!

Ariel

P.S. I gather there is some kind of problem downloading the date - risk that is - other than to a tape drive. Or maybe that was only if it were internal.


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Ariel,

My experience with tape drives has been even if you get a successful backup, there is no guarantee that you will be able to restore from the tape. They are flakey at best.

I suggest a USB flash drive like the one in this link. They have other brands and sizes, so look for one that meets his needs. Hope that helps..

He just needs to backup his critical data. All the other stuff (windows/ programs) can be reinstalled if need be.

Flash Drive

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BTW, because of the volume of data, he can move it in pieces to another system.

Fill the flash drive up, move it, erase it, then fill it again.

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Ariel Offline OP
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Improviso:
Quote
My experience with tape drives has been even if you get a successful backup, there is no guarantee that you will be able to restore from the tape. They are flakey at best
Super scary. Thanks! (and to think I was only worried abour squirrels and carpenter ants a few hours ago).

I'll definitely look at your link (only able to tell if it looks pretty I'm sure), and pass it on to Ted. The truth is I was right on the edge of ordering the $500+ system on eBay and then got the bleary-eyed idea of posting here about the problem (not just the political stuff I've been doodling with all night, that is bah ).

I'm so glad I did!! You all are remarkable.

Ariel


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What improv said. Tape drives are horrible... even in my high tech life, ie., best possible equipment, many geeks chanting at the server, they failed a lot.

If he needs more space, then your best (only) bet is to get a full-blown external disk drive. Maxtor is a good brand. However, they fail, too, so tell your son (who probably DOESN'T need to be told now, but it's a mom thing...) he should never have let his system get to this point without a backup. Storing that much critical data on a single hard drive is just asking for trouble, as is maxing out your space on the drive. Disk compression utilities are notoriously unreliable as well.

I've not had good luck with small companies who will promise to come out and fix your computer... and the good ones (corporate accounts, security badckups) are obscenely expensive to restore stuff.

Good luck! Let us know what happens.

Nina

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Jesus, sounds like he's a data center unto himself.

I don't think a flash drive is going to work in this instance.

Ask him if using Norton Ghost 2003 backing up to CD is a possiblity...

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I've had to restore my drive with Norton and it has worked for me.

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Ariel Offline OP
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Nina,

You too speak with what I fear is an oracular voice. I will pass all this on to him.

BTW, as little as I know, you can bet I HAVE talked to him about letting his system get unstable by overloading it, over-clocking it etc. Only a little over a year ago I had to run out and get an extra 80 Gig HD- probably spelled Gg or something else - to ward off collapse.

But this is not a great time to lecture him... later, though!! :b: . Thing is, he KNOWS how little I know. There is also a little ha Sasser worm worry too - something about having to disable his anti-virus software. Or perhaps it happened on its own. (See why I said "translated from Swahili?" shocked )

Sigh. Still haven't gone to bed. Wonder how many EBay vendors have sent me messages meanwhile...

Ariel


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Eeeeek! All that data on an unprotected system?? For a smart kid, he just did something really stooopid. Unless he's flying solo (absolutely no network connections, file sharing, new software loading without scanning, etc.), he absolutely needs to keep his virus signatures up to date. Best and easiest (virus scanning for dummies or for people who can't be bothered) IMHO is Norton Internet Security, which will firewall you, give you virus protection, spam and ad blocking, completely configurable and can be easily autoscheduled for all updates. Norton will push the latest stuff to you, which is great as well. Something like $30/yr., and THIS is why it's a good thing to spend your $$ on. They had a Sasser inoculation within about 8 hours, and had quarantined stuff for me already (even before the update).

When he gets his computer backed up, he should enable virus scanning, clean everything up BEFORE doing anything else, then scan his backed up data piece by piece before reinstalling anything back to the original computer.

Nina smile

PS: I don't work for Norton/MSoft, but in this case am an extremely satisfied customer.

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Ariel Offline OP
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Thank you again, Improv - so much.

Not sure what this Norton ghost is, but I'll certainly tell him. Is it software? He said something about not even being able to recover his data from the present hard-drive if it crashes. Perhaps having to do with encryption and factoring humongous numbers to figure out a key code. Forgot name of encryption method (which he is actualy working on).

(I'm struggling with the outermost limits of my knowledge as is, I'm sure clear)

Ariel


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Ariel Offline OP
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Nina,

Many apologies for my ineptness about this. I assure you he did not voluntarily disable the protection. He had to in some fashion related to this storage problem - not to save space, but something...something else. It may have even been disabled by some kind of vicious adware. Or something even more complicated.

(My mind is boggling right now trying to transmit what I've been told - It was quite a lot of data tranmitted to my brain at once too!)

Ariel

P.S. I think for some reason he is unable to connect to Miscrosoft Update - perhaps something to do with the "Windows bugginess" he is experiencing...Perhaps it's NOT the virus protection per se but some vulnerability. We both have Norton Systemsworks which I think includes Norton Security and anti-Virus.


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I used tape drives in my home computers for backups 15 years ago. No way I would today. With storage so cheap go with an external drive or even just back it up to CDs manually. It's reliable and they cost ten cents. If you don't care about being able to take your backups offsite, you can also use internal drives set up as RAID 1 or 1+0. You can pick up WD Caviar 80GB 7200RPM internal drives for $49 at Best Buy this week. For $500 you could almost have a terabyte of storage!

I'd tell you to send that tape drive back, but you bought it from eBay. I'd also tell your son not to overclock. Is it really that critical to get the extra 10% speed? :rolleyes:


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If it's Symantec Norton Systemsworks 2000 Professional , Norton Ghost comes in the package.

Here's a link to it. $37.00

Norton

Like Nina says, Norton is good stuff. I use TrendMicro myself, but I like Norton too.

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Ariel Offline OP
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Improv,

Sounds great! Our NortonSystemworks has most of the stuff but NOT the back up software. The problem for now is that he can't turn the computer off to install software...However, it sounds fantastic for the future.

Incidentally, he DOES have a mass of CD back-ups. I guess, since he made them - only a few months ago - he has accumulated all this other stuff because of his graphics work. At least I think that's the case. And I KNOW he can't split his graphics files, which is why he needed the 20/40 system.

Ariel


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Hi, gryph,

True, true about the 80 GB HD's. The 7200 is what he got before. But right now as I just told Improv, he can't shut his computer off to install anything internal because of the instability of his system. He says it's just about to blow.

Frankly, he's been under a whole lot of pressure lately (and the lack of sleep has made everything ten times worse - kind of a snowballing thing). Otherwise his judgment wouldn't have been so cockamamie about letting things get to this point...including his level of exhaustion which has led to all kinds of miscalculations, memory lapses etc.

Ariel

P.S. He was attracted to a tape drive because he thought it would do an automatic backup every night. This model and size - Quantum etc. as above - has error correction possible too (just saying that without knowing what it means).

But it looks like the retrieval is iffy. I know those tapes are SUPER fragile. I'll bet that's the problem.


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I googled "split huge files" and there is software out there for splitting up huge graphics/music/video files.

Here's one, but can't vouch for it...

Part It

Do the google. You'll see lots of software to split huge files.

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