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Somebody on the Ampex list recommended Vice Versa Pro, and for directory backups it rocks. Very lite-weight. If there is a version that does timed automatic b-u, it could be what you need. I don't do that, instead run it manually when I add important new stuff. Thumbs up. (W7pro comes with a basic backup utility that I use for automatic system images. There are various 3rd-party versions for XP, but I'm not up on those.)

Probably most programs have a version of this: you can create Profiles which specify source and target directories, and backup type. By organizing high level folders by jobs or types of work, running a profile for each one will update files that have changed or been added.

Having multiple copies saved in the background as you save files from the application bypasses that whole thing. IIRC, in linux it is easy to have files automatically saved in multiple locales, at the system level rather than via an application. I haven't seen that capability in Windows.
 
Automatic, compulsive brain dump, FWIW:

Having backups be both secure and automatic is not an inexpensive task. Just reasonably secure is relatively easy. Horses for courses, what is needed varies with each situation. George Blood made me dizzy by describing his data infrastructure, but he has multiple large projects going concurrently, including video.

I use a 2-disc NAS, a cheap and very slow one, for my little shop. Over our 100mb lan, I get a whopping 4mB/second. Still, my office machine backs up in the middle of the night and it's always finished by morning. I can source music from the NAS for playback, but usually don't. If I leave it alone, the drives spin down, which will prolong their lives. For me that's the thing, one level of redundancy and minimal wear on the mirror. I intend to change to using USB drives for manual project backups, and leave the NAS for automatic system images. Ultimately, projects end up on DVDs.

SW RAID has never sounded like a security solution to me. Like Don said, HW RAID can have its own vulnerability. RAID is most important for situations when all data has to be available at all times, yet be somewhat secure from hw failure on a 24/7 system. If you don't need that kind of availability, your portable backup disc is a good approach, so long as you don't leave it connected all the time. Buy two and use them both for alternate b-u sessions. This is also the easiest way to add capacity.

Another important practical aspect is to figure in the superior quality and low cost of today's hard drives. A lot of the published data-security principals for PCs were written fifteen years ago and passed on down the years. Since then, drives have improved a lot. And they're cheap. The chances of one drive failing within its normal life is small; it's when you have lots of drives constantly running that the probability of one failing goes up. I routinely replace system drives about every 2 years; systems every 4-5. The best backup is the one you don't need.

The first rule of backups is to do them, so if remembering is part of the challenge, a file server is the way to go. This prompted me to run a few photo directories that don't get much use. I hadn't done them since December. Duh!

-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Maurice Mengel
Sent: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 8:40 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] current small studio RAID recommendations

I use NAS over ethnernet only. I don't have any current machines that
I would recommend. I know about the speed issue transferring files
with my old NAS.

I just want to say you should not opt for USB based on connection
speed alone. Gigabit ethernet seems widely available these days.
According to wikipedia USB 2.0 has effectively 280MB/s, USB 3.0
perhaps 3.2 Gbit/s. Considering that my old NASs run at ~55% of
network speek, a Gigabit NAS on a Gigabit network should have 600MB/s
or more (just guessing here). Seems enough as long as you connect via
cable. Wireless definitely doesn't work. Perhaps use a dedicated
network for NAS only.

I prefer standalone NAS devices which do not depend on my PC running.
Seems more future proof, e.g. if I buy another PC, laptop etc. and
want to access disk space from anywhere in network. After all, NAS
stands for Network attached storage.

Just my 2 cents.

On Tue, Apr 16, 2013 at 8:10 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Is anyone using any of the USB-attached RAID backup systems? If so, can you
> share your recommendations and experienced. Connection would be to a PC that
> has two external USB2 drives as the main storage. I'd like to have some
> WindowsXP-compatible software that is crash-proof, doesn't hog resources and
> runs in the background, using idle times to keep things backed up to the
> attached RAID array. I've seen 2-HD and 4-HD enclosures, and I'm curious
> which kind other folks are using? I can't afford nor do I have the expertise
> to deal with one of the fancy NAS systems (plus, it would take forever to
> back up my studio drives over Ethernet, the backup needs to be via USB).
>
> Input much appreciated. Up to now, I've been manually backing up to a third,
> bigger USB drive. There's got to be a better way that won't take down
> Windows or be unreliable.
>
> BTW, for what it's worth, I signed up for Carbonite for my office PC last
> year. So far, 9 months into it, it's only got the PC and external hard drive
> 30% backed up! So, not a practical solution if you have a lot of data to
> backup! I don't run the PC 24-7, but I do leave it on overnight most nights.
> To Carbonite's credit, the software prioritized My Documents and the key
> system-identification files and those got backed up first. But stuff like my
> iTunes library, my extensive audio-documentaton library, my HDTracks
> downloads, it'll take literally years. Not practical!
>
> -- Tom Fine