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LinuxOrbit: Backing up to CDs Made Simple

Jan 17, 2002, 15:52 (18 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by David LeCount)

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"Linux is a really stable and powerful operating system, just like its Unix cousins. It is also very secure if set up properly and maintained well. However, despite all this, accidents do happen, whether you accidentally type "rm -R /" or someone breaks into your machine from the internet. That's why you need a good backup plan. If you have a cd burner and some blank discs, then this tutorial is just for you. Do note however that a full backup may not work well after being restored to a machine with different hardware. If your hardware is damaged for some reason and you are forced to buy different hardware, your system may not run as well as it should after restoration. Chances are that you will encounter no problems though and it can't really hurt anything to try, so don't be afraid to try a complete restoration even if you do have new hardware.

The frequency at which you need to backup depends on how quickly the data on your hard drive changes and how important the data is. Obviously if you keep important documents on your hard drive that are worth a lot to you or your company, then you should probably keep several sets of discs and rotate through them backing up every day. That way if your computer had been comprimised a few days ago but you just found out, you'll have a set of discs with an uncompromised backup to restore. It may be a lot of work but what's it worth to you? In my case, I have data on my computer that I don't want to lose but it's collected over a long period of time and doesn't change at a fast pace. Also I don't mind if I have to redo a few things to get my computer back to where it was. Therefore I only backup every few weeks. The choice is up to you.

Now there are two mediums that you can use to make backups. The first is called cd-r. These discs can only be written to once. They're cheap but for backup purposes, will leave you paying more in the long run. The second medium is called cd-rw. These discs are considerably more expensive than cd-r discs, perhaps even twice as much. However the extra cost is well worth it. These discs can be recorded on thousands of times. You're more likely to lose or break the discs than have them wear out from too much recording. They usually record a little slower too, but most people would prefer the extra time over extra money. I went out and bought a 25 pack of cd-rw discs and now I don't have to worry about buying anymore until I have more data than will fit on 25 discs."

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