Remembering Disk History

Today I did my monthly off site backup and at the end was struck by the summary data.

In about 6 minutes I had backed up 183,000 files. My first computer had two 5 ¼ inch floppy disks whose capacity was 160K. Amazing a monthly incremental backup had more files than the KB capacity of my first external storage medium.


Thanks for the reminder. I’m woefully negligent on backing up.

I have two external drives. On one I have a FileHistory folder that keeps a copy of every file in Documents as they change. This is great protection from screwing up. But a full backup it is not. I just checked and found it is a 5.0 TB drive with about 0.5 TB in use.

The other, when I just checked, was at one time a full backup of Documents, but with nothing more recent than April. And I have nothing off-site, though an even older - years older - copy is in the safe.

Copying files as I type.


For a lot of years, I keep a 3.5 inch HDD in a Safe Deposit Box at the bank. Now I have a Honeywell fire proof vault in a closet. My actual backups are on 1 TB SanDisk SSDs. One disk on my desktop and one in the Honeywell box.

I use CCC for the backups - it offers a good mix of options and has worked just fine for the last 10 plus years.



Since retiring, I believe I have gone to my backups maybe 5 times.

My basic scheme for backups is a full backup for all backed up structures on the 1st of the month. Then on all other nights, I do an incremental of everything.

I have 22 different backup points like my SCCS directory structure, program data filesystem, project directory structure, documents, etc. Each is a separate backup and file.

I use tar to do the collection. I gzip the tar files that are mostly text and text-ish files. Tar files that are mostly photos and videos I don’t gzip since it is just a waste of time. It all goes to a mounted ssd in a directory structure that follows the target scheme.

Occasionally, I copy the newest full backups to a thumb and it goes in the safe.

I trim the full’s and incremental’s at 400 days on the mounted disk. I have about 40 thumbs in the safe so I will probably start pulling some of the old ones for re-use.

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gdett2 I am guessing you are a Windows user. If that event is wrong and you are an Apple person, your backup life could be sampled a whole lot with TimeMachine.

The only reason I keep my “off site” backups is to protect against someone stealing my computers and attached disks. We did suffer one such burglary back in 2013. It was ironic – the insurance company said don’t buy any replacement stuff until you file a claim. I explained all our records were digital.

I had already gotten a new MacBook.

Hi @GWPotter,

Perish both thoughts!

I use Ubuntu Linux for 99.99% of my computer time. The backups are all done without intervention by me. The once-every-so-often copy to a thumb drive is a “push in the USB thumb and Click” operation. In the rare event I need a file from the backup, finding the file is exceedingly simple.

Does that help you?

All holdings and some statistics on my Fool profile page (Click Expand)

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So, I read your link about FileHistory, but one thing was unclear to me. It looks like it will do a complete copy of the folders you set it to monitor every time interval you set it to do it. That can’t be right, can it? Does it really just copy files that changed since the last time it copied them? If so, great, but otherwise, I would never use FileHistory!

My first computer used a cassette tape. But if I reach back into my memory banks, I was programming in Fortan in 1965 with punch cards (college course); my biggest program was about 3 inches thick.

Each time a file is updated a copy is made, and a suffix like the one below is added to the end of the file name.

(2023_03_01 17_44_46 UTC)

UPDATE!!! Apparently relying on File History is a Really Bad Idea.

FH is deprecated

Oh well.

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