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Can a DVD recorded be used to backup a PC?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by Brogan, Jun 1, 2004.

  1. Brogan

    Brogan
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    [stupid question mode]
    Can a standalone DVD recorder copy data from a PC onto DVD disk?
    I'm specifically thinking of non-video data; i.e. can I back up standard files (Word, Excel, etc.) by hooking up the PC to the DVD recorder? I guess not...[/stupid question mode]
     
  2. kenfowler3966

    kenfowler3966
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    It may be possible with future machines, but why would you want the hassle when dvd writers for your computer are down to around £70 now.
    If a backup isn't easy and convenient to do you wont do it often enough. I back up all my data to -ram and will copy onto -r when they are full, on an lg 4020, which is relatively old and slow now.
     
  3. Brogan

    Brogan
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    I know DVD writers for PCs are fairly cheap but I was basically trying to do 2 jobs with 1 machine...
    Me? Tightfisted? :D
     
  4. RBJTech

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    To backup data files such as Word/Excel etc a CD-Rewriter is MORE than ample (700Mbyte of data) - and you can get these for silly money now (£20 or so) ....
     
  5. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Perhaps if you only have 700MB of data or less!
    I have over 80GB (I used Word and Excel as an example) so it would take quite a few CDs...
     
  6. eddyad

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    80GB is just a mind-boggling amount of data. The complete works of Shakespeare can be downloaded under 2 megabytes.
    Without prying, what sort of data is it? If you have a business requirement you should be looking at a PC tape drive - One of Dabs cheapest in your capacity range is around £350. 80GB could take 5-6 hours to backup (speed about 4MBps).
     
  7. Brogan

    Brogan
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    (cough) porn (cough)

    Only joking. :D

    About 25GB is MP3 ripped from hundreds of CDs.
    Another 30GB is scanned photos and negatives - each one is anywhere between 10MB and 20MB.
    Another 10GB of various videos and images.

    Basically, just typical data.

    TBH, it's probably not worth it - I can just rip out all my old drives and install a couple of 250GB drives, using 1 as the source and another as a backup.
    Just thought it would be useful to backup similar data onto individual DVD disks.
     
  8. kenfowler3966

    kenfowler3966
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    Yes, a second drive makes data replacement quick and easy, but the day your computer is stolen infected by a data destroying virus or is hit by a voltage surge you loose the lot.
    Irreplaceable data must be backed up out if the computer, and ideally a copy of that kept at another address for the day your property burns down.
     
  9. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Always looking on the bright side eh Ken? :D

    But yes you're right, that's primarily why I wanted to backup to DVD - just for the worst case scenario and I somehow lost all data on both drives.
    I suspect the chances of it happening are fairly small but...
     
  10. kenfowler3966

    kenfowler3966
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    I have had a personal computer/computers since 1999 and have lost all the data on 3 occassions now. Fortunately each time I have been able to rebuild from ghost sets or backup cd's. But I did loose 6 months worth of e-mail on one occasion.
    You can never predict a hard drive failure, or a voltage surge, or in one instance a child pressing the wrong combination of keys!

    It could be worse though, my father lives in portugal and has had 3 computers fried by voltage spikes, one of which took out most of his other electricals, tv, hi-fi etc as well. He has had to resort to some form of very expensive filter between the house and supply to protect everything from these surges.
     
  11. eddyad

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    You can buy hard drive 'caddies' which fit a 5.25" drive bay on your PC and into which you plug normal 3.5" HDD. You can copy all you data then take out the HDD. If it's not there the PC won't miss it - any shortcuts to it obviously fail but you'll know why.
    £27 at Dabs - search for caddy at http://www.dabs.com
    Also look at http://myahead.com/go/look/product.show_product?v_id=5609 (this is a serial ATA item - your PC may not support SATA)
    Plenty on a Google UK search for HDD caddy
     
  12. Rasczak

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    However much data you have to backup you would would be well advised to avoid optical media whatever it's form (DVD/CD etc). For large backups tape drives or removable HDD (as suggested) offer good solutions. For relatively small backups DVD-RAM (despite also being optical media) offers a good choice due to it's hardware error correction - but even then go for caddied media. Whatever avoid CD-R/-RW, DVD-R/-RW and DVD+R/+RW like the plague if you want to protect your data long term.
     
  13. eddyad

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    Following previous post, for £150 you could get two 120GB HDDs (£60 each) and the caddy, then you can alternate a pair of backups as your data changes.
     
  14. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Thanks for the advice guys.
    It looks like a (removable) hard drive is the way to go.

    I'm in the process of putting together a parts list for a new PC so I'll factor a caddy/drive in.

    If optical media (DVD) is so bad, what exactly do people use their DVD writers for then?
    I don't have one at the moment as I have never needed one and it sounds like I won't need one in the new machine...
     
  15. Rasczak

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    Generally home users use DVD-R/+R for archiving files - and more often than not video recordings now. In a few years time there will be alot of disappointed people when there disks degrade and their video collections go down the pan. Needless to say if your sensible and have a rolling backup programme, use high quality media, use disks from different sources and ensure proper storage conditions your going to limit your chance of this happening. Nevertheless the indications are fairly clear now that DVDRs (of all flavours) degrade considerably faster than CDRs.
     
  16. Brogan

    Brogan
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    I presume this only applies to DVDR and not pre-recorded DVD (e.g. movies)?

    It's certainly food for thought and as you say, there are going to be lots of upset people in years to come.

    Think I'll stick with hard disks then.
     
  17. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    Yes that's correct. Commercially pressed DVD-Videos are quite different from DVDRs and are not subject to the same problems. They have there 'own' issues but, compared to DVDR, it is a relatively robust media.

    For backup purposes I think that is probably the best option.
     
  18. kenfowler3966

    kenfowler3966
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    As you say it could be interesting in a few years time. I have some vhs tapes dating back to 1982 which will still play, although quality is relatively poor (Early generation machine as much as tape deterioration), however if a dvd or cd degrades, it just won't play at all. I have noticed some of my early HS2 recordings from around 2 years ago which worked at the time, have now become unplayable, fortunately less than one in 50 so far. But it does concern me for the longer term.

    What is the reliability of bought dvd's compared to -r? As I tend to collect films, and they are releasing earlier films now for relatively low prices, I can see many of my recordings being dumped eventually in favour of an original copy in true widescreeen with extra features on dual layer, hence better quality anyway.
     
  19. Rasczak

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    The reliability of commercially pressed DVDs is much, much greater than DVDRs - have no concerns there. Obviously there are some issues with them but the general consensus seems to be that they are a fairly durable media.

    Like you kenfowler I will buy the commercial DVD rather than archive on my DVD recorder. Firstly because authoring a DVD can take ages (designing menus/covers, editting, assigning chapters etc) and secondly because it is almost always cheaper given, for each DVDR, I use:

    1 x Original Branded DVD-R Recorded On HS2
    3 x DVD-R (different, branded makes) of PC authored disk.
    1 x DVD-RAM backup of files.
    Plus 1 x DVD-R every 18 months as part of a rolling backup.

    Many of the shows I do archive though will never make it to DVD (such as one-off dramas from the BBC/failed series, e.g. Private Life of Samual Pepys, Other Boleyn Girl, The Deputy etc etc) and it therefore crucial that data isn't lost.
     
  20. Normandy16

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    This is quite worrying, - how many do you call a 'few' years?
    Has anyone done any research on this wrt storage conditions / type of media etc.
    Got any info links Rasczak?

    P
     
  21. Rasczak

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    How long is a piece of string? I will happily give you an account of my personnel observations: take it or leave it.

    I have made quite extensive use of DVD-Rs (and more recently DVD-RWs and DVD+Rs) over the last three years primarily for data backup and, over the last few years, for video archiving. I have now had literally dozens of failures across all types (DVD-RW/-R, DVD+RW/+R). I have had cheap media (+ and -) fail within three months of being 'burnt'. Branded media seems more resilent although even with this I have had some failures with TDK (DVD+Rs), Maxell (DVD-RW), Pioneer (DVD-Rs) and Sony (DVD+R and DVD-R) - all these failed within a 8-14 month time bracket after being burnt. I am not singling out these brands - they have just been the dominant ones I have used over the last few years. I have no doubt that other brands would have performed equally.

    I haven't even been able to narrow down failure to storage conditions: I have had disks fail that have had 'normal use' (i.e. kept in DVD cases and removed to play the disk before being reinserted in the case) but I have also had disks fail that are kept, virtually untouched in a jewel case within a dark room. Neither room is subjected to excess heat/cold or excessive sunlight.

    On a more positive note I have not actually 'lost' any data because I have always ensured adequate backups. Now I am more aware of the fragility of the media I have increased the backups I do as well as the breadth of the media I use for the backups.

    I don't have any links that will give you a clearly guarantee of the survival of your media I'm afraid - we are in all the position where we have to 'suck it and see'. However I do have a few links that may be of interest.

    Perhaps the most positive link I have is:
    http://www.it-enquirer.com/storage/optimedia.html
    (although note this is from info supplied by Verbatim so there could be bias there)

    Also have a look at this extensive thread on the subject (it is by Mac users but that makes no difference from the media perspective):
    http://www.macintouch.com/cdrfailure.html

    Also of interest maybe some sites that look at the CD-R/-RW side of things (although it is generally accepted that DVDR media is considerably less durable than CDR):
    http://www.osta.org/technology/cdqa13.htm

    Also have a look at this report (do note it was sponsored by the DVD-RAM promotion Group though so take it with a pinch of salt) which suggests that DVD-RAM is the best bet for long term archiving:
    http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/040525/nytu109_1.html

    I don't want to be accused of scare-mongering so will stop there - as I say I have been recording to DVDRs for over three years now and haven't lost any data because I have always backed up. As you as you do this you will probably not have any problems. I think the bottom line is summerised well by the quote from another forum:
    The ONLY reliable way to preserve data is multiple backups on different media and a regular schedule of backing up your backups. Hopefully one day most of the computer press will start teaching people this rather than persisting in just repeating advertisers' press releases that make unverifiable longevity claims."
     
  22. Normandy16

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    Thanks Rasczak, very comprehensive reply [as usual] if somewhat disconcerting.
    Am busy reading / pondering.

    Your policy of rolling backups is I fear, the only way forward. Trouble is you end up spending more time backing up than actually using the stuff.

    Ho Humm !..

    Cheers

    P
     
  23. Rasczak

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    That's very true!

    I wish to emphasis those that I do not want to be regarded as a scare-monger: many of the opinions expressed in the links I provided conflict. Take them all with a pinch of salt but just ensure you have sufficient backups to feel 'safe'.
     
  24. eddyad

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    I've found the last few posts in this thread rather depressing :( as I was about to embark on a major project of archiving a couple of thousand scanned slides into JPEGs and slideshows (for TV) on DVD. It seems as if the slides will last better then the planned DVDs. I guess the solution is to keep the stuff on PC too, and write new DVDs on a regular basis.
    And I thought it would solve the problem of deteriorating 35mm film :(

    Actually the DVD-RAM format seems to be more promising, but it's not the number of re-write cycles that is important, but the longevity of the stored medium when used only in 'play' mode once written. So it looks like bye-bye Philips, Tosh, Pioneer et al and Hello Panasonic.

    By the way, here is a quote from the Philips website DVD section:

    "Save your favourite films and home movies on long-lasting and compact DVD. The new range of affordable Philips DVD Recorders create perfectly reproduced video that lasts a lifetime. So all of your precious memories remain fresh - now and for generations to come."
     
  25. Brogan

    Brogan
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    I must admit I knew optical media wasn't infallible and I have heard stories of problems to do with separating layers and so on but I didn't imagine it was as bad as this.

    For those of you who are concerned, I have data burnt onto the cheapest CDR you can buy and it is still OK several years later.
    Then again, I haven't checked it lately....
     
  26. eddyad

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    Maybe someone should come up with a DVD-R coating than could be 'fixed' by a few seconds in a microwave on High :laugh:
     
  27. Rasczak

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    I'm sorry! I should stress that I am not saying avoid doing projects on DVDR - I think, especially from a video perspective, it is a good medium that offers HQ/medium capacity recording for home users. If your sensible with your backups, use a variety of disks and so on you should have nothing too much to fear.

    Look on the bright side - you could get run over and killed by a bus tomorrow and then the degrading Eastenders DVDR you've just burnt wouldn't be such a loss would it? :)
     
  28. Normandy16

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  29. Ian_

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    On the question of backing up from computer to dvd, would it be possible for me to plug the svideo/sound out from the pc into a dvd recorder so i can dump my divx movies over so they are recorded in standard dvd format. If so what would be the best model for such a task, Panasonic DMRE55EBS, Sony GXR3 or Philips DVDR70.

    My video card, a GeForce-4 4600 TD Ultra with Video IN/Video Out
    through either VGA, DVI or S-Video
     
  30. Rasczak

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    Yes it would be possible - on any DVD recorder - however you won't get very good results. If you wish to do this you'd be better off getting a cheap PC DVD burner:

    For example the LG all format drive can be purchased for £55:
    http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/prod...2hvd19wcm9kdWN0X292ZXJ2aWV3&product_uid=58356

    ...or if the budget is really tight then Toshiba's 4x drive is available for £47:
    http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/prod...2hvd19wcm9kdWN0X292ZXJ2aWV3&product_uid=59182

    If you use such a PC DVD burner in conjunction with software such as TMPG Encoder ( http://www.tmpgenc.com/ ) and this guide:
    http://www.videohelp.com/tmpgencdvd.htm
    ...then you can easily convert DivX movies to MPEG2 without further loss of quality.
     

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