AOH :: VCRBAKUP.TXT|
How to backup your hard drive with a VCR
From: Ron Kramer
To: All 20-Mar-88 20:51:54
Subject: Tape backup review
I few weeks ago, a friend sent me a little toy that says it will back up hard
drives to tape. What was different about this tape back up was its low cost.
Mainly because the user provides the recorder!
Using your home VCR and video tape you make a IMAGE backup of your hard
drives. Allowing up to 110 megs per T-120 minute tape.
Speed is a pretty impressive 1 meg per minute. It esentially works like
FASTBACK and these other hard drive to floppy back up, but saves you the
trouble of being present to swap the disks. Plus a video tape of about 7.00
is less costly and easier to store then 100 1.2 meg disks or about 300 360k
disks that would be required for about 110 megs of hard drive.
After using it for a while I've come to the conclusion that its not loaded
with frills, but its worth its weight in gold 'and the slot it requires' for
the piece of mind it gives. I sure sleep better knowing that my irreplacable
source code, and data are now tucked away safely in a desk drawer.
The "Imager" as it's called is by a company called AutoFax, and sells for
about 159.00 It plugs into any standard PC/XT/AT expansion slot
and is compatible with mode VCRs Beta & VHS, and provides safety from hours
of reinput of data loss through keystroke error, disk crash, or power surges.
Imager transfers data at a rate of 12,000 bytes per second, (or 1 meg per
minute) It offer quad redundant recording of data to ensure data security.
(this means it writes '4' copies of each file on the tape, so if the tape as a
flaw that makes a file unrecoverable, it has 3 more chances to get it right.)
Making for a vary reliable backup. It supports any disk device: Hard disk,
floppy disk, hard cards, CDroms, network disks etc.
The Imager is easy to install and use. You simply plug in the full lenght card
into any IBM compatible machine. Using two RCA type patch cords you run them
from the card, to the VCRs 'IN & OUT' video jacks.
You insert a 'quality' video tape... any decent brand 6.00+ tape.
Running simple to use software, and if you like folling the easy step by step
instruction on the screen and/or in the manual. You run IMAGE which gives
F1 - Backup
F3 - Verify
F5 - List Files
F7 - Restore
F9 - Quit
Selecting F1 will start the backup, the software asks, 'Backup which disk
files to VCR? Which Drive [C]? _' you respond with the appropriate drive
letter and hit return. It asks 'Backup all files?' He you can say yes, and
start backing up the entire drive... or a no will then ask you which sub-dir
you would like to backup.
It then says start the VCR and hit any key... You press record with the VCR on
(SP) its fastest speed. Without rushing, you then tap a key, and the screen
says 'Reading directory'... It takes a few seconds, then begins the back,
listing each directory, and file in the directory as it backs it up to the
After the back is complete your prompted to hit return to continue, and it
returns to the main menu.
At this point you can store the tape away, or if you doubt that it really
worked as I did, you can select the VERIFY option, and have it check the
entire tape for errors.
I've yet to find one.
If you have several tapes, and want to see which each contains you can put one
in the VCR and select LIST FILES from the menu. It prompts you to rewind the
tape, and hit play... then tap a key.
It then procedes to LIST every file on that tape, and gives the time and date
that this particular backup was made.
It can be set to backup at night while your sleeping. You set the VCR as you
would to record a show while your in bed... say RECORD at 3:00am
and run a util they give you to wake up your machine at 3:00am and run the
software via a .BAT file, to automate it. OPUS sysops could tell opus there
is a EVENT at 3:00am and have the bbs drop out to the
.BAT file. The tape should be set to start a minute or two before
the computer is set to start, to insure that the tape is recording before the
computer starts the backup.
All in all I find it vary handy, and its low price which always made me wonder
how those things work, but never made me get one for fear it wasn't any good
is quite affordable to anyone who would own a VCR.
its drawbacks.... To restore '1' file or a couple of files that may be at the
'end' of the tape requires you to start the backup, specify the files, and
wait the hour+ to get to that point in the tape where the specified files
exsist. But not a problem if your in no rush. And only a 30 minute wait "MAX"
if you've backed up a 30 meg drive.
* Total number of files cannot exceed 6709 - which isn't a problem
unless you trying to do a entire CDROM! (I do one sub-dir at a time)
* Total number of files in any one sub-dir cannot exceed 607
* No one file may exceed 16 megabytes (so much for those mailing list
data base's haha)
* The total size of all files in any one subdir may not exceed 16 megabytes
* No "hidden" files are backed up, only user files.
* The files date will be maintained but when the file is restored it
will be reset to the restored date. (not a drawback I guess)
* The backup software does not set the archive attribute.
So as you can see it does the job, but its software isn't real sophisticated.
But sure beats passing floppys for over an hour! It's the 1st time I've
bothered to back up any of my data since I bought the machine! For the money,
I recommend it highly.
For more info contact:
phone (408-4386861) 4113 A SCOTTS VALLEY DR.
SCOTTS VALLEY, CA 95066
* Origin: SuperService - GR,MI - 616-7912109 - 9600/HST - 600+MEGS/CDROM
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