Think before ... [you fill in the blank]
by Gerdd - 3/5/11 10:47 PM
In Reply to: Update by wtstandup
There is no software yet that I know of that tells you what to do with the duplicate files it finds. There must be hundreds of programs that find duplicate files for you. Some just report, others give you an option to tick the ones you want deleted, and so on.
So, before you even go and find duplicates - on external drives, in backup images etc, it can be a time consuming job - think of a strategy: As we all know, it is reckless to have only one copy of your data.
But do you just want one backup of your current files? Two copies in two different locations are better. What about historical backups?
Consider this: Somehow you manage to lose a file. It is important but you don't access it all the time. You make a backup and discard the old one. The new backup doesn't have the file - you deleted it before you took the backup. If you didn't keep some historical backups (archives) around your file is now gone for good. Same thing if you didn't lose it but it got infected by some virus. If you back up the infected file over the last or only good copy - end of story.
So, having all kinds of historical backups around is not all bad. And the $30 to buy a duplicate finder program could also buy you another external drive to back things up to once again and get some extra redundancy.
No - you don't want just one backup of everything any more than you want the mess of duplicate copies of ancient backups. You want an archive of one backup every so many months, and a second copy of that at your friend's house (have it encrypted if you don't trust him/her that much ...)
I just started exactly that - took a 2TB external drive and collected all backups on it, compared them a bit, also compared what I found on old drives in the grab bag and of course what was online on the drives in my active computers. It is - as you will doubtlessly find out - a time consuming job, but it will get better once the foundation is laid. Then, once you have all the backups you want, make the duplicate copy and then go back and eliminate all the spurious copies you found all over the place. You may get a lot of the disk space back that you invested into your archive, but that is the last thing that should worry you at the current prices.
The main reason I am doing this is so that I know what I have and where - for a few years now I could start a hunt for a file in many locations. I usually would find it, but there was no method, no "algorithm" to the search, and thus no guarantee of success.
Did you notice that I didn't even start discussing what program to use? That is because there is no program that will do for you automatically what I just described. And for the rather mundane task of finding files on your drives and comparing them by name, timestamp and contents most of the available programs will do an equally adequate job.
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