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Backing up sessions


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  • Backing up sessions

    I've had nightmares about losing a session. Currently backing up my work on a "WD Passport" external hardrive. It's been giving me fits so I plan on buying another hardrive. Any suggestions for a good, solid, trustable brand. Is this method the best way to back up your work as a DIYer?

    Also, is there anyway to back up your sessions alone and not the entirety of your hardrives content? My hardrive immediately starts to back up my entire laptop's contents without giving me an option.


  • #2
    full project backups to three external USB/Firewire drives here, daily.


    • WRGKMC
      WRGKMC commented
      Editing a comment

      There are many ways to backup the work. DVD and hard drives are the most common. You can even use online backup if you can justify the expense.

      In my case I use my PC's internal drives. I use Sonar and it allows me to backup projects as a Cakewalk Project file. It compacts the project into a bundle which saves space and makes the project with all its details movable. Most of the work I do is my own. After mixing down I save the mixdown on at least two computers and two drives. I only save the original multitrack project on my better works where I may want to revisit it in the future. I'd need several terabyte drives to save all the projects I've recorded. I have about 30 projects partially completed now and suspect I may only save the full projects for a few of them.

      As far as the best types of external drives you can use, Its hard to say which is the best choice. Its the brand of drives inside the unit that count the most. For internal drives I've had the best luck with Western Digital drives. The worst would likely be Samsung and Seagate for failures. Quality does matter and anything electro mechanical eventually fails. External drives may not see the continuous hours of rotation like an internal drive does. It may also see more head failure because the unit is mobile and susceptible to impact moving the thing around.

      USB isn't the quickest port to move data either. I back up to a thumb drive allot and backing up can take three to 5 times longer than an internal drive.

      One method I did find can speed the process up quite a bit. When you backup the projects as say a project bundle, first create that bundle on your hard drive, then drag and drop/copy it to your external drive. If you try and backup the bundle straight to the external drive from the DAW program it can take allot longer for the file to be successfully created. The DAW program is also locked up till the process is completed.

      It may take a little longer overall because you are performing a two step process, but it is safer since you have the bundle on the internal drive till its successfully copied to the external drive and you delete it. Main thing is you can perform other tasks even if its only playing solitaire during the move from the internal to external drive.

      Also some say Solid State drives make better/faster external drives. I believe they are beginning to make sense to use as the prices come down. Right now we know the longevity of a disk drive so the jury is still out on the SS drives. Firewire drives tend to be less bursty with data transfer because its a peer to peer communication port. If you have that option available it might be a good choice if you don't have good results running USB. 

      In any case, if the project is important, I'd also back it up to a DVD. You should have at least 10 years storage life on a good quality disk. Its just the extra time and effort you have to invest.