Music loss shock horror
June 16, 2005 8:34 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way to regularly back up 10-15 gigs of music?

I just realized that if my HD crashes, I'd have to re-rip 95% of my music and re-buy (WTF Apple??) the rest from itunes. I have a DVD-R burner but spanning the MP3s onto multiple discs each time I do this (once a month?) seems like a hassle. Is there a program that will span multiple DVDs automagically? Should I buy a backup HD instead? Should I protect my computer with a circle of power?
posted by selfnoise to Technology (15 answers total)
I believe in redundancy when it comes to music backups. I've got about the same amount of music and it would be a real pain to re-rip/re-acquire it all.

My home system has two hard drives; I keep copies of the music on both drives. I have a HDD-based player that can comfortably hold all of my music at the moment, so it's there as well.

I also have a secondary home system, not currently in use, that has an older copy of my music library; it's got maybe 80% of my total stuff there.

The player doesn't get brought into the house (I leave it in a secure location at work or carry it with me) most of the time, so total data loss would involve something killing both home machines and absconding with or otherwise destroying the player.

I don't back any of this up to any kind of removable media, because it would be too inconvenient, IMO.
posted by staresbynight at 8:39 AM on June 16, 2005

You could buy a portable hard drive and back it up to that. More expensive that another drive, but has the advantage of you being able to store if offsite. However if you don't have anywhere to store it, then it makes it no better than another HD.

If your house goes up in flames then you'll have lost all your music - but then you'll have bigger things to worry about than your tunes.
posted by ralawrence at 8:48 AM on June 16, 2005

How long are these gigs? I mean, if it's the whole of Prokofiev's War and Peace it's going to be a tough deal.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 9:26 AM on June 16, 2005

Buy a 20 GB iPod --- you'll have your music in two places and a little space left over for other crap. If you ever lose your desktop collection, all your music is in a hidden directory on your iPod (/Volumes/iPod_Control/Music/). It's trivial to get it back out and into iTunes again.
posted by nathan_teske at 9:33 AM on June 16, 2005

This previous AskMeFi thread might help you out.
posted by nitsuj at 9:35 AM on June 16, 2005

I second the 2nd hard drive backup method. I backup my entire user folder -- which includes my iTunes library -- onto a second hard drive via a scheduled script.
posted by pmbuko at 10:24 AM on June 16, 2005

I have an external drive to back up everything, including music, which works for me. But I have another question: how can you update your music collection on the back up without copying the whole thing over again? Is there a way to just copy the new stuff without having to dig through the files to pinpoint what's new (ie, pmbuko, does that script copy everything over or just changes?)
posted by mdn at 10:57 AM on June 16, 2005

You will definitely want to have synching software [that comes with most external hard drives] that will allow you to sync your computer's music folder with the external drive. That way you're only copying the changed/new [and deleted if you want] files across. Even with FW400 or USB2 drives, 20Gb takes some time.

My computer backs up my music, photos and can't-live-without-stuff every other day. I also sync most of the same stuff on my notebook -- and it has its own backup routine going to a separate drive. Then my music is on the iPod too. Five copies of my music library all said and done. I usually have my iPod and Powerbook with me when I'm not at home so if my cats decided to burn the house down, I'd still have my music.

I started backing stuff up from my notebook to my desktop because it is more likely I'd drop or break my notebook [or get stolen]. An electromagnetic pulse, a fire when I'm at home where I wouldn't be able to grab the powerbook on the way out the door, acts of god type stuff that would wipe out all five copies simultaneously would be pretty remote.
posted by birdherder at 11:35 AM on June 16, 2005

On my Mac, I use psync to do incremental backups. Download it here.

Then in the terminal, you type

sudo psync /sourcedirectory /destinationdirectory

Then it asks for your password, scans both directories and copies unique files from source directory to the destination directory. Painless.
posted by Mo Nickels at 1:07 PM on June 16, 2005

I used to burn off MP3s not long after I ripped them as part of a general "package up incoming stuff to neatly fill a disc and make a backup" system.

Then I decided that if I *did* lose all of my MP3s, I'd re-rip them at a better quality, or a different format, anyway. Since then I haven't bothered to make backups. The original CD format I bought them in *is* the backup.
posted by krisjohn at 5:25 PM on June 16, 2005

I use SyncBack freeware version (half way down the page) to do a daily sync of about 33 gigs of digital pictures and mp3s to an external drive.

One of the interesting features of SyncBack is that it will let you sync over FTP. The best scenario would be this: Buy two external drives, plug them into your home computer and copy the data you want to back up to both. Take one of the drives to work. Set up two SyncBack job: one to synch from work to home over FTP when you log out at the end of the work day, and another job to synch from home to work when you log in at the beginning of the day. Since SyncBack would only be sending the diff, this would probably not take very long. You would then have local and remote redundancy for probably less than 200$US.

It might cost more than a couple of spindle of DVD-Rs but at least it's automatic so you never forget to do it.
posted by TinTitan at 6:15 PM on June 16, 2005

After a couple of home server drive crashes, I now use two identical RAID drives to back up my data (striping instead of mirroring). I do lose some capacity, but can sleep better at night.
posted by kickerofelves at 7:42 PM on June 16, 2005

kickerofelves, I hope you wrote it out backwords
"(striping instead of mirroring)."
because striping is for speed and if one drive dies then you lose everything.
posted by Iax at 11:55 PM on June 16, 2005

Using an ipod as backup is OK and does work, there are a couple of things to be wary of. First off you'll need a third party utility to do the restore (Xplay worked best for me). Secondly you'll lose the original folder structure and the original file names. In some ways that may be no bad thing, if you're like me your folder structure has become somewhat eccentric, having a completely new and logical \artist\album\tune structure built automatically has some appeal, but it means your playlists will be toast. You'll also lose all your ratings (ouch) and other information that lives in the itunes database such as number of times played etc.
posted by grahamwell at 2:27 AM on June 17, 2005

Response by poster: Got an idea from Odinsdream. I'm going to back up my ripped MP3s onto at least 2 sets of DVD-Rs and then rip any future MP3s into a new master directory (which won't make any difference since itunes cares not where the music be), fill that up, then burn that, etc.

I just have to remember to back up my itunes .AAC directory periodically as well.

Thanks for the ideas, everyone.
posted by selfnoise at 10:20 AM on June 17, 2005

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