How Home Backups Should Be Done(tm) Was: [lug] Tape Drive Recommendation...

Alan Robertson alanr at
Mon Aug 21 20:01:26 MDT 2000

Ryan Kirkpatrick wrote:
> On Thu, 17 Aug 2000, Sean Reifschneider wrote:

<lots of good things deleted>

Here is (in my not at all humble opinion) How Home Backups Should Be Done (tm):

Perform a full every week on a single tape - write it at the beginning

Each night append the day's changes to the tape as an incremental

Do this each night on the same tape.

Every week change tapes.  Rotate through 2-6.  Every so often take one to work.
Rotate through them at work too, keeping no more than 2 or so at work.

It is important that your full and incrementals all fit comfortably on one
tape.  If they don't, then GET A BIGGER TAPE.

This is important because home users are Notoriously Lazy.  If it isn't easy, it
won't get done.  It may not get done anyway, but there's little excuse for not
changing tapes once a week.  Even my in-laws do it. Thinking is hard, and to be
avoided at all costs during backups.  Save your brain power for restores.

If your drive won't accommodate the size of data you expect to have 2-3 years
after first buying it, then it's too small, and you'll have to replace it.  Not
having to buy a new tape drive and media as soon will make an oversized drive
cheaper in actual use than it first appears.  If you don't actually, really,
truly back up your data, it doesn't make any difference the cost of the drive
and the tapes - you paid too much.

	-- Alan Robertson
	   alanr at

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