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Drag to Disc Revival


rtbt

Question

Hello:

 

For a couple of years, I've been using Easy Creator to back up my data. For the most part I've used CD-RW discs. I learned very early that using Drag to Disc on a CD-RW disc was a recipe for failure, that's why I stuck with Easy Creator. I also read about how unreliable the Packet Writing Process is so I totally avoided using it.

 

However, the past couple of months I've been using CD-Rs, and now DVD+R discs, for backups. It took me awhile but I finally realized I'm only using the disc once or twice because my data fills it up almost immediately if it's a CD-R This way I can drag'n copy folders/files to the CD-R or DVD+R and use them on any computer. Doing such means I don't need Roxio if I'm away from home. I tried using Easy Creator on a DVD+R but never could import the old data and update it with the new files so I gave up. That was the subject of another thread with no solution.

 

Drag to Disc is admittedly a cumbersome way to do backups, but in the end it works. I drag all of the latest folders and/or files and I'll probably use the disc only once or twice, especially if it's a CD. On the other hand, DVDs have so much storage that I will probably use them a few times.

 

OK, that's my new idea and I'm waiting to hear if I'm overlooking anything. Am I making a mistake by going back to Drag to Disc, a process that reguarly failed when I was using CD-RW discs? Are there any cautions or warnings? Remember, I'm only using the disc a maximum of 2-4 times, and in many cases, only once or twice

 

Thanks,

rtbt

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12 answers to this question

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My feeling on packet writing is that it is great for transferring files between PCs when no other means exists.

 

I would never use it for any form of "backup" as it is simply too unreliable.

 

The new USB thumb drives make it a tough call. While these cost more, when you weigh the time spent formatting and slow write speeds, these little drives might be a better solution for many.

 

I happen to have a couple of old 2 1/2 HDs around, so a $15 enclosure gives me 40gb of portable storage.

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If you don't ever need to READ the disc after using it for Drag2Disc, there isn't a problem.

 

If the tendancy of Packet-Writing to decide it can't be read (for any reason, or none at all) might be a probem, then I'd suggest using some other method, such as Classic Creator.

 

It should be possible to add subsequent sessions, and I think by the time EMC 7 came out, they had eliminated the "features" that would often cause previous sessions to "disappear".

 

I lost enough files to Packet-Writing, I don't plan to lose more.

 

Lynn

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Hello Lynn:

 

I must agree with everything you said, that's why up until this week, I refused to utilize Packet Writing. Those early experiences of repeated failures were more than enough to teach me a lesson.

 

Having said that, I began to think about how I currently back up data. For the most part, I use CD-Rs and I only use them once, maybe twice. Then I will never use the disc again unless I need to restore files. More importantly, I back up several times per week so I will always have multiple discs in case of failure.

 

If I remember correctly Lynn, Packet Writing failures came after multiple uses. Since I don't plan on using the discs more than once or twice, I'm hoping I'll be OK. And as I said before, I would never rely on only 1 or 2 CDs for my all important data. I will always have multiple discs in case of a failure.

 

I also back up my most important and current data online, I think that's the best form of backup because it can't be destroyed by burglars, fire, or a natural disaster. I like having multiple options.

 

As for Thumb/Flash Drives, I think they're fabulous but they have one big problem. They're so small and light, they're too easy to lose. I have a Lexar Jump Drive that I bought because the data is encrypted. Even if I lose that little drive, hopefully no one will be able to read the data.

 

I also happen to have a couple of relatively new, but used 3.5 hard drives lying around, but every time I purchased one of those hard drive encloures, they would never work reliably. I might get them to work once or twice, but that was it. I think the hard drive enclousures they're making these days are very cheap with poor workmanship.

 

Thanks for the input, let me know if you have any other thoughts.

 

rtbt

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Guest mlpasley
...... I'm hoping I'll be OK.

rtbt

 

It sounds like you've already made up your mind to use Drag to Disk and some people do use it successfully.

 

Hoping you'll be ok doesn't sound like a great business plan though. If your data changes every day and it would be difficult to reconstruct from a paper trail, then you're taking a big risk. If you've got a good paper trail, then you can afford to take the risk.

 

Backing up online is a great idea.

 

I'd suggest looking into an external hard drive ( not just a hard drive enclosure) if you want to be cautious and be able to recover files quickly. Many of them come with software that let you choose which data to back up and will do it for you automatically.

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I also happen to have a couple of relatively new, but used 3.5 hard drives lying around, but every time I purchased one of those hard drive encloures, they would never work reliably. I might get them to work once or twice, but that was it. I think the hard drive enclousures they're making these days are very cheap with poor workmanship.

 

Thanks for the input, let me know if you have any other thoughts.

 

rtbt

I'm curious what happened after the first couple of uses of the external drives? What sort of errors did you get that made them unreliable? I have a drive I carry around with me a lot, and it sees regular service. It's fast, and I've not had any problems with it. (Knock on wood.) Is there any chance you've used the same USB cable all the time? I have had a poor cable that made the drive seem slow, and then unreliable, but it was really the cable. I got a new cable and voila! All the apparent problems with the drive/enclosure went away.

 

Dunno if that helps or not.

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Hello:

 

[Hoping you'll be ok doesn't sound like a great business plan though.]

 

That doesn't sound very encouraging, does it? My problems started when I purchased a package of DVD+Rs. Up until then, I would use CD Creator on CDs so I only used one at a time for my daily 600 mb data backup. My goal with the DVDS was to do my usual CD Creator backup which consumes approximately 600 mb,, and then for each succeeding backup, import the previous one. I figured with 4.7 gigs I could probably do 7 backups one DVD. However, I found that doing the import was far more difficult than anticipated. I always wound up with the old data from the first backup on the DVD, I could never import and update it with the latest files. That's when I decided to try something different.

 

I took a new DVD+R and dragged tons of files and was surprised to see how smoothly it went. When it was over, I copied about 1.6 gigs and I still had plenty of room on the DVD. I found I could drag updated files and overwrite the olds ones and so far it's worked well. However, I'm very much aware that if I keep doing such to the same DVD, Packet Writing will fail sooner than later, I'm definitely not a fan of Drag to Disc. But when I'm backing up to a CD, my 600 mb backup is a one time process so I'm having a hard time trying to figure out why that would be unreliable.

 

So yes, unless someone points out something I missed, I have made up my mind for CDs. However, I'm still wide open on the thought of using Drag to Disc on DVDs, which will require multiple copies and rewrites. So far, the first DVD+R seems to be holding up well after 3 drag to disc operations. But once again, I'm waiting for the imminent failure.

 

Thanks to everyone so far for their input, I'm still eager to hear any new thoughts.

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I'd suggest a minimum of two backups per day (two different discs), and two sets - so that if both for a given day fail, you can resort to the ones from the day before, if you insist on using Packet-Writing.

 

However, I suspect the failure to import is a question of either settings or sequence (when the disc is inserted in the process). Since I don't have V.7 installed I can't get more specific.

 

Lynn

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I actually have 3 internal hard drives from different computers lying around and I would love to make use of them. Two of the three worked the first time I used them and then I could no longer read the drives. It was that simple, the drives were no longer recognized by Windows XP. One of the drives didn't work the first time. I asked one of the tech support guys on the job to test all three drives, per his testing, all of them worked.

 

I don't know if the first use of the drive damaged them or what. Each external enclosure came with a different USB cable. In my opinion, the external hard drive cases were poorly constructed. If I decide to do this again, I will probably purchase a drive designed to be an external portable hard drive. I've been watching as prices are finally starting to fall. I like the ones that fit in the palm of your hand and you don't need an external power supply.

 

On the plus side, I have an old 4 gb 2.5 inch hard drive which came out of an old laptop. For this unit, I'm using a fairly expensive hard drive enclosure and that's been connected to my computer via a USB port for over 2 years and it's worked flawlessly. It's USB powered, there is no external power supply.

 

 

I'm curious what happened after the first couple of uses of the external drives? What sort of errors did you get that made them unreliable? I have a drive I carry around with me a lot, and it sees regular service. It's fast, and I've not had any problems with it. (Knock on wood.) Is there any chance you've used the same USB cable all the time? I have had a poor cable that made the drive seem slow, and then unreliable, but it was really the cable. I got a new cable and voila! All the apparent problems with the drive/enclosure went away.

 

Dunno if that helps or not.

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I actually have 3 internal hard drives from different computers lying around and I would love to make use of them. Two of the three worked the first time I used them and then I could no longer read the drives. It was that simple, the drives were no longer recognized by Windows XP. One of the drives didn't work the first time. I asked one of the tech support guys on the job to test all three drives, per his testing, all of them worked.

 

I don't know if the first use of the drive damaged them or what. Each external enclosure came with a different USB cable. In my opinion, the external hard drive cases were poorly constructed. If I decide to do this again, I will probably purchase a drive designed to be an external portable hard drive. I've been watching as prices are finally starting to fall. I like the ones that fit in the palm of your hand and you don't need an external power supply.

 

On the plus side, I have an old 4 gb 2.5 inch hard drive which came out of an old laptop. For this unit, I'm using a fairly expensive hard drive enclosure and that's been connected to my computer via a USB port for over 2 years and it's worked flawlessly. It's USB powered, there is no external power supply.

Okay, next question, did you use them all with the same system and have troubles after that? Any possibility of a bad USB port that managed to corrupt the file system on all the drives? It sort of sounds like that's what happened if the drives themselves are still good per other testing.

 

I'm not sure what you're looking at as far as a "drive designed to be an external portable hard drive." As far as most 3.5" drives you buy with an external case, I suspect you'll find they're a "standard" drive, stuffed in a case. Otherwise, they'd probably just be a laptop drive, which is maybe more "intended" to be portable.

 

None of them should give you the trouble you're seeing, unless you're treating them very harshly, and I doubt that.

 

Any chance you unplugged them while data was still being written to them? That could definitely corrupt them. Always make sure you properly disconnect them from the system by disconnecting them via the USB icon in the system tray first, or shutting down Windows first.

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I'm also curious about why your external drives went south. I have a 200GB 3-1/2' Western Digital HD and an aluminum case that is really constructed well. It runs on a USB 2.0 cable and I have not had any problems what it so far. Some of the cases I checked out before I purchased mine, were not that good either but this aluminum one seems to dissipate the heat very well (it has no internal dedicated fan) and was a snap to put together. I'm using mine with my notebook computer and carry it everywhere. I have found that the thumb/flash drives are also great and I have no problem with loosing them---so far :)

 

The one thing you are doing right for sure is thinking and doing backups !! There are many ways to accomplish that--but JUST DO IT !

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I guess to me it all depends oin how valuable your files are. I have never used DTD for backing up anythng that I thought was really valuable. And the word "valuable" has a wide margin of meaning. I have backups that are 4 and 5 years old that are still good. A few of them I have to have the program that created them, but lately I use Creator Classic to burn DVD's for my backups and I also have recently purchased an external HD case for my laptop which has worked great so far. And having one of those thumb nail flash drives are great. I have three of them ranging from 512MB to 2 GB. But I use them mostly for transfer of files between my computers.

 

SO---if your files are THAT valuable, don't take any chances at all, or you will live to regret it !!

 

Frank....

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Guest mlpasley

There is a technique to turning of ANY external drive which I found out with my first external hard drive that wasn't meant to be turned off. There was no switch and I didn't like the heat buildup that I was seeing (well, feeling).

 

Instructions on the manufacturer's website said that you should SHUT THE COMPUTER DOWN. Then the drive could be safely unplugged from the computer and the electrical outlet. To turn it back on, you plugged the drive in to your computer when it was OFF, then plugged in the electrical outlet and turned the computer on.

 

That's pretty much the approach that I use with all my external drives (standalones or hard drive enclosures).

 

Since I'm not crazy about unplugging and plugging them in, I have them all plugged into a separate power strip(s). Then when I need to use them, I turn off the computer, turn on that power strip and turn the computer back on.

 

I do agree with d_deweywright. If you don't remove them properly in Windows, you can destroy the data. It's one of those things that you don't find information on until it's too late. :)

 

Check under My Computer, right click on your hard drive, select Properties and go to Policies. You'll see that there are two different settings for removing a hard drive. Frequently, external hard drives come with software that will let you get around the Windows policies and turn the drives off and on easily. External hard drive cases don't usually come with software to do that, so you have to be careful how you disconnect that drive.

 

The drives themselves might be able to be reformatted and used if the data on them is worthless. That can be done pretty easily.

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