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  1. #1
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    Backing-up LARGE DRM-free DD games...

    I have a couple of really large downloaded installers which I'd like to backup but as they're well over 8Gb in size and I'm short on ideas as to how to do this...

    They won't zip-down even onto a DVD DL disc

    Uploading them somewhere is only marginally 'safer' than trusting that the place I got them will still be around if I need them again (and it would take eons to do it as the UK is limited to around 1mbps uploads).

    Am I missing a neat trick for storing big files like this??

    USB Sticks would cost more than buying the games again...

    Is there a reliable tool for spanning DVDs with big files you've used??

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    A terabyte usb hdd? Make sure to keep it powered if it needs that for long term inactivity.
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  3. #3
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    I second the above.

    It'll be more expensive than the USB sticks you mentioned, and the games as well, but it'll allow you to back up your entire machine, rather than just those couple of games. Plug it in, and use something like Crashplan (the free version will work for this) to back up all folders that you care about on a regular basis, and you don't have to worry about it. I'd recommend checking the contents of the backups at least every few weeks to make sure it's actually doing something...

    I feel obliged to mention that anything that isn't backed up on multiple devices, at least one of which is in a remote location, is not truly backed up, but a regular scheduled backup to a USB drive will at least ensure you're not shit out of luck if your HDD fails. Just if your house burns down or your computer and peripherals are stolen. But your games are probably the least of your worries then.

    If you're really set on just storing these couple of things to DVD, use something like 7-zip to split it in to several smaller archives, then save these on separate disks? I've never tried it on a single large file before, but I would have thought that would work, and the software is free, so it's worth a try.
    Last edited by Davkaus; 04-06-2013 at 02:34 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    A terabyte usb hdd? Make sure to keep it powered if it needs that for long term inactivity.
    That's slight overkill I think.

    I have a STACK of old HDDs around here but given that they're old - I'm dubious of their reliability - and I'm not really wanting to spend 50 to backup 2 games I probably paid <20 for.

    I was hoping more for 'archive' than 'storage' - how much are BD Writers these days - how much are the discs?

    p.s. I should add that everything I've got is backed-up-to-hell-and-back APART from things like game installers (for obvious reasons).

    Seems 45-50 can get you a BD Writer - about 50p a disc - that's almost a good reason to replace my temporary and nasty pata DVDR ;)
    Last edited by trjp; 04-06-2013 at 02:48 PM.

  5. #5
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    A blu-ray burner will cost you as much as an HDD, plus the expense of the disks. 7-zip is worth a try, split archives are pretty much your only solution that isn't going to cost you money (assuming you have blank DVDs), or the cloud-based options you ruled out earlier.

    It might be worth reconsidering using something like Google Drive. It'll take a while to upload, but what are the chances that:

    Your local copy disappears
    The place you downloaded it going under
    Google's servers lose your data (plus their backups going missing, which are much more stringent than anything you'll put in place)

    It's a pretty safe bet, especially since even if all 3 of those happen, it'll be spread over a period of time sufficient for you to use one of the other sources to make additional copies. If google shuts down Drive, grab another copy from the place you bought it, and vice versa.
    Last edited by Davkaus; 04-06-2013 at 02:49 PM.

  6. #6
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    HDDs are really not archive devices - they're just too moody and too likely to fail when stuck in a drawer (from personal experience!)

    Not that discs are more reliably per-se, but if you care about something you write several and that covers you.

    45 for a BD Writer against 50 for an HDD is a no-brainer for the BD if you're archiving data - if BDs drop any further I'll be in there like a shot I reckon...

  7. #7
    Network Hub bad guy's Avatar
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    I would use that stack of old HDDs, and copy it to multiple HDDs (2 or 3).

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    A terabyte usb hdd? Make sure to keep it powered if it needs that for long term inactivity.
    I'll second this. Better yet, if its just beack-up, by an external hdd sleeve, and then pick up your terabyte hdd and put it in the sleeve. May be cheaper that way. Get the sleeve from a second-hand electronics store if you have one in town, or craigslist.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mashakos's Avatar
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    I must be missing something here because all compression apps support spanned file creation. That's a zip/rar/7z split up into multiple parts. Hint: an 8gb file can be compressed to 2 4gb parts, or 3 2.7gb parts. Backup onto DVDs accordingly.
    Last edited by mashakos; 04-06-2013 at 07:17 PM.
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  10. #10
    Network Hub Jambe's Avatar
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    As was noted, free archive managers can split files if you can't fit them on your media.

    If this media is kept in the same building as your other copies of the data, it's not a "backup", it's just a local copy, and all that protects you against is a failure of all your extant copies -1. It does nothing to protect against fire, flood, simultaneous failures (yes, this happens), burglary, misplacement, etc. Whichever media you use needs to be stored in some other building; a friend's or relative's is alright, but a safe deposit box is better (and they're usually climate controlled fairly well).

    It's extremely unlikely that you can devise more reliable data storage than a mainstream backup service. If you can't get your files uploaded by leaving a backup client running while you're out (which happens with most clients automatically) then you need multiple copies of the data on separate instances of media. In other words, just copying it once to a single disc is not good practice copy it to two discs, or three if you have them, because the die and metal layers of optical media degrade with time and the writing of such media is error-prone to begin with (HDDs and flash aren't appreciably better afaik).

    ofc, if these files aren't extremely obscure you could just... find them again, if you get my drift, should you ever lose them. You already paid for them, yes? This is otherwise known as Bram Cohen backup and is perfectly ethical iyam.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad guy View Post
    I would use that stack of old HDDs, and copy it to multiple HDDs (2 or 3).
    Thing is, the NEXT time I want to do this I'll need more and more of those and - nah, I've talked myself into a BD drive if I can nett one for about 50ish

    That way I get 25Gb for <1 and the option of 50Gb discs if I want to pay more like 4 times that much - there's plenty of things I should have another backup of which I'm living without because they're WAY bigger than a DVD...

    I just don't trust HDDs for archiving stuff...

  12. #12
    Network Hub Jambe's Avatar
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    You are planning on moving them off-site, yes?

    I'll just repeat what I said above: a million local copies != a backup. If you can't afford it or can't let a backup client run while you're away from the computer, then you really need to devise some system for getting copies out of the building. Otherwise you'd be better off setting up an external HDD or a NAS to do scheduled backups (what I'm trying to say here is, you are not a robot).

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Boris's Avatar
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    You can't trust writable CD-type media either. They degrade pretty rapidly. I think your best bet will be a cheapish external HDD from a reputable manufacturer. Test it, and get a new one after 4 years or so.

  14. #14
    Network Hub Jambe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boris View Post
    You can't trust writable CD-type media either. They degrade pretty rapidly. I think your best bet will be a cheapish external HDD from a reputable manufacturer. Test it, and get a new one after 4 years or so.
    I would recommend against depending on a single instance of any storage medium. Use two drives at minimum if it can managed, and store them in separate containers so you're less likely to drop both at once (and for added insurance against simple failure of relatively finicky hardware).

    I haven't looked in a while but Googling produced these:



    The short of it is this: I'm aware of no rigorous study which shows that any consumer-available digital storage format reliably lasts over 10-15 years. So, again, whatever format you choose, use multiple iterations of it and store it off-site, preferably in a climate-controlled area (i.e. don't stick it in an attic or a rent-a-shed so it can bake and freeze annually).
    Last edited by Jambe; 04-06-2013 at 11:00 PM.

  15. #15
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    The issue of degrading/unreadable discs is easily conquered by writing multiple copies - buying multiple HDDs is rather more expensive.

    As far as overall backup is concerned, I sincerely doubt many people backup their stuff more than I do but this question is specific to storing BIG files which I 'could' redownload in the future (assuming Gamersgate don't die) but I'd like to have locally just in case (and I'm not keeping 17Gb on my system when I don't really need it).

    For those who wander way OT and talk about system backup - this is how my stuff gets backed-up.

    My system partition is imaged weekly and stored on a NAS (elsewhere in the house) and on HDDS which rotate to another location.

    I have 2 identical HDDs in my PC - I don't mirror them instantly (for technical reasons too boring to explain) but the are VERY close in content terms, so if one fails I just change the drive letters on the other and I'm working again instantly.

    All my work takes place in Dropbox so it's all backed-up near-instantly/versioned extensively.

    I also use Crashplan which double-backups Dropbox and also backs-up stuff you can't really do in Dropbox such as all your USER directory files (game saves etc.) and some other stuff I don't want 'instant backup' to work with (Source Control files)

    Less used files like media (music, games etc.) are replicated onto at least one other local HDD and 1 which lives offsite in rotation.

    All my work is also versioned and saved to DVDR at various milestones - usually multiple copies and they're spread between fire safes here and in another location.

    Oh - and all my work is on my desktop and laptop (Dropbox) and a lot of my media is replicated onto my laptop as well.

    I'm also considering extending my Crashplan to using their 'friend backup' service - exchanging everything with someone I work with - but UK ADSL upload speeds remain a pain-in-the-ass for that.

    and all of it was 2nd-hand or repaired bits - HDDs left from broken PCs etc. Total budget under 450 - annual backup cost is 1 Crashplan subs and some DVDRs :)

    Is that enough redundancy? When I had a disc fail late last year I didn't lose anything but it DID take me 3 hours to work out the best way of getting it all back ;)
    Last edited by trjp; 04-06-2013 at 10:55 PM.

  16. #16
    Network Hub Jambe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trjp View Post
    Is that enough redundancy?
    Hah! How much redundancy you need depends on how much you care about the data in question, obviously. I was just taking issue with your use of the term "backup". I know too many instances of people only having local copies of some important thing only to see them all burnt/burgled/lost... which is why I don't think one should deem local copies "backups". Semantics, I suppose, but for a good reason.

    I'd personally use the Bram Cohen plan for game files, but then I'm not really a hoarder anymore.

    Just one last time: free archive software can split files for you. If you only have a few big things to back up, I wouldn't (personally) buy a BD writer and media if I already had DVD capability. But if you've got the money and/or you see yourself backing up more big files, why not?

  17. #17
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    My main aim with backup is actually 'easy recovery' - hence why I use different methods.

    Dropbox is brilliant for getting older versions of specific files back - but it has no mechanism to bring back entire directories or entire projects to a specific point-in-time.

    Crashplan offers some of that - you can select files/folders and take them back to a specific time.

    Of course all my work is checked-in to online repositories so I can get stuff back via that if it's a project related recovery too.

    and then there's just the sheer brutality of having all your games and media on 3 separate HDDs - that's just the easiest way to keep it all accessible - I mean it's all redownloadable but I have about 650Gb of installed games, that's a LOT of downloading (about a week at full speed!!) :)

    p.s. on the DVD thing, my SATA DVD died and rather than spend money on a new one I just threw-in a PATA one - but the cables are messy and I'd like a cleaner solution (esp for the new case I'm about to swap everything into) so a BD writer is on the cards IF I can find a good one around the 50 mark (which seems possible).

  18. #18
    Network Hub Jambe's Avatar
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    Heh, you seem to have bit of backup sprawl going on which might work counter to what I (personally) would call "easy recovery", but we're adaptable critters and we learn to use what we have! You also probably have a much more intricate and voluminous workflow than me, but that reminds me of this comic:



    I have been on a minimalism/"own less stuff" streak for a while now, though, so maybe I'm irrational! I think my max duping of working data usually only occurs across three personally-owned devices (capture medium, working computer and NAS). It ends up being four for a while when I dupe SDs full of images to an external HDD prior to copying them to a working machine (just to be able to fall back if something screwy happens) but... other than those short timespans, I think I'm at three devices now!

    Background stuff like OS and work software may be common across more than three devices, ofc, but for working data (post-import) I usually just push to or pull from my (versioned) NAS whose important dirs are slurped by cumuloid hardware. I write super-special stuff to thumb drives every so often (e.g. fresh installs of new/updated OSes along with my commonest programs) but that's a rare occurrence now.

    If anybody's reading our banter and is interested (god help you) I'd suggest checking out this page:

    http://dpbestflow.org/backup/backup-overview

    The principles involved can be applied to many other types of work.
    Last edited by Jambe; 06-06-2013 at 07:30 AM.

  19. #19
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    If it makes everyone feel better, I just bought a stack of refurbed 2.5 HDDs - cheap-as-chips - 1 year warranty - don't care if some fail because I have LOTS :)

    Redundancy called - still fancy a BR drive tho ;)

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