Backup solution for the lazy

I’m manually backing up my photos and videos on an external drive. My fear is that one day some of my files will get corrupted and I won’t even notice. Is there some software that if I give it 2 folders on 2 different drives, it will scan them and tell me “hey, look. this file is not identical on the 2 drives you gave me”?

I don’t like the idea of having a NAS. I don’t want to have something that is always powered on & always connected to the internet.


Back in Time on linux?

Time machine on OSX?

That doesn’t sound lazy. Lazy people let their computer run their backups.

A NAS neither has to be always-on nor connected with open ports to the internet.

You need a filesystem or software that can do that kind of check. Format both drives with BTRFS or ZFS and make a mirror. Then just run a scrub whenever you feel like it. You can also setup the filesystem so that it stores 2 copies of everything, so you don’t need a second drive, but redundancy tax of 50% still applies.

edit: You could also check out SnapRAID, if you’re on Windows. But I don’t have any experiences with that. You also want to cover your non-backup data. Sending already corrupt data to your backup drive just makes them authenticated and checksummed corrupt data :wink:

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yeah I’d be inclined to run a ZFS mirror on another box; I currently have a single drive ZFS that will become a mirror and moved to another box in the near future, for my photography. Almost exactly as @Exard3k said above.

Do you run copies=2? I know the use case for that is niche, but is probably the best for an external drive in times of 10TB+ disks. You don’t really want a USB hub worth of drives to get your data.

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Why not simply a second portable 12 TB USB drive? It all depends on what you want to do of course, but…

Another thing could be cloud storage from Amazon/Google, but any storage that you do not own should be considered as compromised, for all intents and purposes.

With rsync on linux I do:
rsync -avznc --exclude={’.Trash*’,‘lost+found’} --no-perms --no-owner --no-group folderA folderB
It is super slow and very taxing on the drives because it calculates checksums for all the files.

I used syncback before I started caring about data resilience/backup, might be worth looking into if it has any sort of checking, but it sounds like you need a Copy on Write system.

internal. and am new to ZFS so I dont even know what that does yet heh

I use GoodSync for this use case. You’d need to buy a license, but it’s affordable and, for both my business and personal workflows, indispensable. (There’s also a 30-day trial.)

GoodSync has detected mismatches for me between two “identical” directories countless times when other tools have allegedly copied all files from one to another. For your use case, the ability to compare checksums would be useful - this will detect the corruption that you’re concerned about, even if the file exists in both directories, has the same size, same modification date, etc. I used this feature extensively recently when recovering from some failed drives on my primary workstation.

The GUI is intuitive, and you can automate using commands if you want. You can sync between lots of targets (local file systems, thumb drives, myriad cloud storages). Delta detection and syncing between two GoodSync servers is extremely fast, especially over the internet, if you happen to have multiple computers.

This tool has proved more reliable over the years than the native sync tools from Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, etc. such that I’ve gradually transitioned everything I sync to GoodSync. I know I sound like a fanboy - and I guess I’ve become one over the past… 10 years?.. 15 years?.. because it works. I dabble with other solutions from time-to-time, but ultimately come back to GoodSync for its reliability, flexibility, and simplicity.

Download the trial and give it a shot on your photo/video backup drive. Worst case, you find it’s not a good fit and you’re out a half-hour’s worth of time.

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