Backing up, etc....

Barb Pelton

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Apr 14, 2002
The Show Me State
I know this has been discussed at length, and I have read everything I can find in the archives, but I'm still confused.

My objective has been to add another pos computer, and get everything running smoothly (i.e. networked, etc.)
The new computer is in. I have to network them, which I think I can do, however first I have to install XP on my old computer to get rid of ME.
Before I do that, I have to back up the hard drive. What's the best way to do this? What's the best recommendation for going forward on a daily basis?

I called my computer guy and he came over and looked at what I'm up to, and he says he leans toward a tape drive, and alternating the tapes.

And yes, I would love for the computer guys to come do all of this for me, in fact I TOLD them to schedule me ASAP and take care of it ALL, but that was one week from today and I haven't heard zip. :mad: I called yesterday and left a message that I was anxious to hear from them, but still nothing! (They are in the process of moving, so I know timing isn't perfect, but I'm ready to get on with this show).

I think I can tackle this, I just didn't WANT to because we're very busy with framing, and I need to be doing what I do. Also, I'm confused about the best back up system going forward. Wouldn't an external hard drive be easier?

Also, after I finish this, I plan to switch to cable internet here, and install pc anywhere here and at home. I'm also running an old version of Quickbooks and wonder if I should upgrade it.

Whatcha think? Should I just lean on the computer guys and cool my jets? It's a real PAIN these days because we often get a lunch rush, leaving us falling back on handwriting tickets and entering them later in the day. That's got to stop.
Installing a small network yourself will make your hair turn grey and then most of it will fall out. Avoid this at all costs. I'll post pictures if you don't believe me.

A tape drive???? If you're upgrading the operating system, you only need to back up the data. You have a CD burner, right?

Are you sure your machine can handle XP? You may have to download some new drivers.

I wanted to get to you, Barb, before MikeL@GTP, WizSteve and Larry Peterson come on here and start filling your head with all sorts of geek mysticism.

Call the computer guy and threaten him.
Originally posted by Ron Eggers:

Call the computer guy and threaten him.
Did that. At least the receptionist is trembling. The gurus were "out". She promised a quote would be faxed tomorrow, and if I agree to the quote, they'll schedule me sometime in the next week or so.

NOT happy with that time frame!

I backup my data onto cd's regularly (OK, sort of regularly) but he didn't seem to like that plan, and strongly suggested another method. :confused:
I called my computer guy and he came over and looked at what I'm up to, and he says he leans toward a tape drive, and alternating the tapes.
Tapes are an awfully slow and an awfully expensive way to go especially if you already have a CD burner.

Tapes are magnetic and are subject to erasure if stored a long time. CD's aren't.

Doing a "find" on tape can take forever, 'cause you've got to start at the beginning and wind the tape 'til you find what you're looking for. CD's have an index and a search is almost instantaneous.

Sounds like your computer guy is trying to unload some antique hardware on you.
Hmm. That's interesting, Bill.
(I knew I should come here.)

So, I'm doing okay like I've been doing? My thoughts have always been that if anything happened, I have all of the disks for every program, so I'd reinstall all of that and then I'd have the backup cd of all of the data, and then I'd be back in business. That's it then, isn't it? So why is he telling me I need to have a complete copy of the hard drive?

Ok, I just downloaded instructions for the XP installation off of tweak3d and it looks pretty darn easy. (Famous last words...)
I think I'll tackle at least that much so that I can get rid of the #$%$* ME and at least have ONE problem taken care of.

The cable guy came in about an hour ago, asked me where I wanted everything and said he'd get me scheduled; it will be a week or so. (I put the order in for cable hookup 2 weeks ago!!) GGrrrr.
Saving onto tapes sounds weird. If you need computer tech help in the future, I think I'd find another company.

If you install XP on all computers, then you can use the XP "Remote Desktop" feature and don't need PC Anywhere.
I wanted to get to you, Barb, before MikeL@GTP, WizSteve and Larry Peterson come on here and start filling your head with all sorts of geek mysticism.
To quote Arthur C. Clarke; "Any significantly advanced techology is indistiguishable from magic".

Become a magician at the Bill Gates School of Magic, Illusions and Trick Mirrors.

[ 09-17-2003, 08:26 PM: Message edited by: Larry Peterson ]
I have a LaCie 120 gig external hard drive and that allows me to back up EVERYTHING I have with room to spare and cost about 250 bucks or so. I can backup quickbooks to it in a flash and store all of my digital photos plus any artist work I'm scanning/ printing. Tape drive??? Sounds very 70's to me!! I agree, find another computer guru. This one sounds like he is either trying to unload junk on you or looking at the enormous profit he'll make selling you this dinosaur. :eek: :eek: Quick call them back tomorrow and cancel . Go to PC Warehouse and buy an external HD. Pc networking can be a real pain so I sugest you just throw all that junk away and Buy a Mac. :D
I agree.. for your purposes tape is probably overkill.

Still, tapes have a few advantages though - it's easier to schedule automatic back ups, and they're usually larger in size than CDRs. Sure you can auto schedule to backup on CDRs, but then you have to always remember to leave a blank disc in the drive.

Tapes are generally more reliable than spare hard drives, and unless you get an external drive, tapes are generally more portable (i.e. you can keep your backups off-site in case your shop burns to the ground, heaven forbid).

If you've got a fat pipe to the internet, you can always upload your data to some other location, preferably your home computer but there are some sites that charge for this service (but give you extra garuntees and such).

If I were you, I'd just back-up my stuff to a spare HD nightly, and then once a week or month, depending on your own personal paranoia, back that up on a CD.

[ 09-17-2003, 09:10 PM: Message edited by: WizSteve ]
Thanks all.

So I guess the question for me now is who is going to network these computers for me?
To my knowledge, there IS no other company in town to call...there has to be someone else. *sigh*

Why, oh why can't this just be easy?!
thanksthanksthanks to you all.
Networking computers together isn't that bad, especially if you don't need to share internet access between the two. But it certainly helps to have some experience, especially when things go wrong as they invariably do.

Maybe this will inspire Mike to finish his GrumbleFAQ web page... :D

I'll be glad to help you via email and phone if you'd like. It's really not that bad. The networking part (other than the wiring) is about a 30 minute project.

If you have cable on the way, my advice is to get a Linksys BEFSR41 router (they range from $30-$59, depending where you buy it). This gives you an internet firewall, lets you share your cable or dsl connection with up to 252 computers in the shop, and comes with a 4 port SWITCH where the computers can all plug in. You'll also need 2 Ethernet cables (~$5@7' - $25@50') to run from the computers back to the router. You'll need one ethernet cable to run from the cablemodem to the router also (this is usually provided by the cable company) Each computer will require an ethernet card/port.

Don't forget a good virus scanner for each machine.

You'll also need to check with your POS vendor to see if you'll need to purchase an additional license for the second machine.

Are you sure the old ME machine is fast enough to handle XP and has at least 256 memory? (It's unlikely because ME is 4 years old) It usually takes about 1-2 hours to upgrade a machine to XP, so plan accordingly. If all goes well your data will be completely preserved. But please do back up, just in case!

I'm available Saturdays, Sundays, and evenings if you need help by phone.

I meant to create a small walkthrough file to help with this, as Steve said, and will get around to it eventually. The router makes most of the process virtually "automatic". Just a few small network settings on each machine, share the printer(s), map a drive or two on the second machine, and install the workstation version of your POS software.

I did the full hard drive backup last week. The drive is now at home, so if the machine is destroyed (vandalized, stolen, dies) I can be back up in no time.

My data files (~350mb) are backed up daily on CD-RW's (a set of 6).

Here's a rough diagram of what a networked shop might look like. I'll post additional info at THIS LINK as time allows.

As you can see above, it's really not that difficult to do. Running the wires is probably the most difficult part.

Running the wires is probably the most difficult part.
In my limited experience, the most difficult part can be persuading the PCs on the network to recognize one-another.

I can't think of a suitable dog analogy to illustrate this, since dogs have NO problem recognizing other dogs.

Maybe it's easier when all the PCs are running XP.
Love the analogy

You're right. At one of our other (non framing) businesses, we have 7 pc's networked as above. Some are XP, some are 98, some are 98SE, one is ME. It all works fairly well, but setting it up was like "herding kittens".


You are my new favorite Grumbler!! Talk about going beyond the call of duty!

I had planned to go up to the shop tonight to get started on this lil' project, but I was just too tired to do it tonight. I'll be starting on this soon, and I will most likely be calling you if I run into a snag.

(Now if I can just get my carpenter to show up...I definately don't want to have to start floating drywall along with this extra work!)
thanks everyone!
I'll be at the shop all day Friday and Saturday if you run into problems or need help.

The new workstations, router, and wires can be partially configured and connected first. This will minimize downtime and disruption.

Glad to help

PS: Which POS program do you use? This will most likely require an upgrade/multi user license.

[ 09-18-2003, 10:15 PM: Message edited by: Mike-L@GTP ]
Originally posted by Mike-L@GTP:
Running the wires is probably the most difficult part.
A good reason to consider wireless (802.11a) for any computers not very close to the switch. Combination router/switch/wireless units are available pretty reasonably.

EDIT: ok, so I should read all messages before responding to the latest one
(post on wireless)

[ 09-19-2003, 10:18 AM: Message edited by: David N Waldmann ]