Protecting Your Computer System

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Protecting Your Computer System

Unread post by parametric » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:57 am

In the light of recent "discussions" in these forums, for and against the two major Systems (PC & Mac)

used by most people, the arguments concerning the need to backup seem to vary for the two systems

from "Not (or hardly) necessary - to ESSENTIAL . . .

I'll let you guess which applies to which :wink:

IMO, backups should always be taken seriously - unless your data means nothing to you . . . .

MOST would agree that the PC running Windows is more vulnerable - if only because

MUCH MORE EFFORT is expended by those who would wish to do us HARM, on THIS platform (IMO) . . . .

My impression is also that Windows seem to be more easily disrupted, and when attempts are

made to fix it, one more often gets the "Windows was unable to fix this problem" . . . . than Not

And you are STUFFED.

Having endured this indignity at least a couple of times in my time as a user - I decided to look at

ways to avoid the Reinstall Windows and ALL your Apps, runaround.

The other issue of course is DATA.

You generally DON'T want to be loosing this either, but Windows is SO messy the way it

throws files around, hither and yon, your DATA is also on the C: Drive - and therefore vulnerable.

OK, you may be able to mount your non-booting C: Drive, but chasing down the Data and copying it all is a PITA.

EVERYONE will have their own preferred system for achieving this, and my purpose here is

NOT to argue the pros and cons of various MOs.

I merely present MY METHOD here for consideration . . . .

In order to work, Windows needs to BOOT!

Much effort is spent by individuals out there to BREAK this, Often for fun, and also, just because they CAN . .

DATA MANAGEMENT

I DO NOT keep my data on the C: Drive.

The entire contents of C:\Users\MyName\ and ALL its subfolders, lives on a separate HD.

C:\Users\MyName\ and all the subfolders EXISTS on the C: Drive (of course) - I just don't use it . . .

I use FireFox and Thunderbird (Mail) - so I therefore COPY the PROFILES in:

. . . MyName\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\*****.default (Pick the latest one)

. . . MyName\AppData\Roaming\ThunderBird\Profiles\*****.default (Pick the latest one)

This saves ALL of your Bookmarks/Toolbar contents/Shortcuts etc. in Firefox . .

and ALL your Mail and Mailboxes/Filters etc. in Thunderbird.

My own TB profile is LARGE (~5GB) as I have email back to 1997 - for various reasons . . .

Whilst these files are OF COURSE, Cloned along with the Drive, - Its just an extra protection . .

(If you build a new PC, adding those files to it will INSTANTLY make them available there too)

When my system is running perfectly - I CLONE THE C: DRIVE . . .

Using one of these: https://www.integralmemory.com/news/int ... rives-ease
Integral_Hard_Drive_Copy_Station.png
Integral_Hard_Drive_Copy_Station.png (52.67 KiB) Viewed 807 times

This is the one I have and Use. It's quite old now (hence the 2Tb Limit)

When you CLONE a Disk - it operates in stand-alone mode - NOT connected to the PC.

It can also serve as a HD DOCK when connected via usb - but should NOT be connected to the PC WHEN CLONING

[Others ARE available, but I've not tried them . . . https://www.ebuyer.com/583784-startech- ... ed_reviews ]

This will CLONE the Drive to a HDD OR SSD of SIMILAR or GREATER Size . . . . (Up to 2TB in this model)

I have used it successfully with Mac AND PC Drives

The Clone is fully boot-able when put back into the source System.

SO, in the event of a virus attack, or non booting for whatever reason -

Take the CLONE from your drawer. Place it in the <Source> slot in the copier . . .

Take the damaged/non booting drive from your machine - place it in the <Target> Slot.

Initiate the CLONE.

When done, I usually place the SOURCE drive back in the machine, and place the TARGET drive

back in the drawer - so the Drives ROTATE - at each change (Just MY preference . . . )

The Clone you just made just sits there 'til the next ISSUE you have with your Computer . . .

OK OK - if Windows did an upgrade since the last CLONE operation - it will "catch up" and

do it again on the resident drive. :roll:

So - In the time it takes to make a clone, you are back up and running.

NO Windows reinstall - activation and all that crap.

NO Application Reinstall . . EVERYTHING will just WORK . . .

The DATA HD is a different (and FAR simpler) matter.

I DO have an identical HD, and CLONE the resident Data Disk to it, once in a while . . .

I also COPY it, in it's entirety to my NAS Server, more regularly, I have to say.

Apart from my Docs/Pictures/Music/Photos/Videos etc. this drive contains my Reaper Media Folder

that has ALL my MUSIC Project files and all the associated Audio Files that belong to them . . .

Stuff you DON'T Want to be loosing really.

Additionally, the <Reaper Media> folder is also the means to move all my Projects to my Laptop, and

have them available in Reaper there . . . .

So that's it. That's the regime I use - and its been good for peace of mind, some long time now . .

As always, the problem with backup systems is that you DON'T really know if it works

until you actually NEED it to (Arrrrgh!).

I KNOW this works . . .

So perhaps it will help someone?

Best Regards

parametric
Alesis Fusion 8SSD AND 6SSD - BOTH are 384Mb/120Gb SSD/Akai ADVANCE61/Yamaha MOXF6/1024Mb Flash Ram/Yamaha SY85/8.5mb vol/1024k non-vol/DX21/Roland MT32/Bachmann double overstrung Baby Grand Piano/Win10 Pro/Ubuntu MATE 15.0.4/iBook G4/Mac OS 10.4.6/ProTools 7.4/MBox2/M-Audio MicroTrack 24/96

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Re: Protecting Your Computer System

Unread post by Derek » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:20 am

I don't think anybody said you can skimp on backup just because of what OS you are using? Or maybe I missed something?

OS X is generally more secure than Windoze due to its heritage and the fact that the hackers find Windoze a much wider and easier target, but that does not mean you should be complacent.

All of my computers are imaged locally to a NAS drive, which works quite nicely with Apple's Time Machine backup service (built into OS X). And I use Carbonite to do background secure offsite backup of all of my data.

My gig laptop (soon to be computer) has its own specific "backup policy" to allow me to either restore data or completely reimage it at a gig if something has gone badly wrong. It's core data comes from one of the computers mentioned above, which is backed up via the procedures I mentioned.
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Re: Protecting Your Computer System

Unread post by Saul » Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:22 am

Thanks Chris, sound advice indeed, If only people followed it! Unfortunately many people think it will never happen to them. Hard drive crashes and system hacks are something that always happens to others and anyway it's all just too confusing. That is the answer I have invariably heard when trying to convince customers of the merits of backing things up. You can lead a horse to water and all that :/:
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Re: Protecting Your Computer System

Unread post by parametric » Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:36 pm

Agreed . . . . .

My experiences supporting Mac at the Uni bear this out well. They were generally VERY reliable. The OS is so well organized, that IME it really takes a HW problem to bring a Mac down.

A crucial HD sector goes bad, for instance . . .

On the older 68000-series Motorola powered Macs, the ProTools floppy based authorize/de-authorize routine largely worked without issue.

Other SW we ran had more tortuous protection routines GRM Tools for instance:
S1 GRMST ISSUE.jpg
Their Challenge/Response system seemed prone to error (response issued WOULD NOT WORK when entered).

As you can SEE in the pic - the correct response has been entered - and reported FAILED by ProTools

This required imo way too much WORK by the customer - protecting THEIR product . . .

. . . but that's for another topic . . . :lol:

If you HAD an HD crash however, you effectively LOST an "Install" i.e. UNABLE to de-authorize back to the floppy - however, (to their credit) a call to DigiDesign from Myself or my Manager would have a floppy in the post with two fresh installs, by next morning . . .

The later Intel Macs were easier in this respect. iLok became more prominent. I don't like the system myself, due to the THEN Draconian "You loose EVERYTHING unless it's the iLok that's FAULTY" Stance . . . .

We used to PADLOCK the iLok INSIDE the MacPro's System case - to prevent . . er . . THEFT :roll:

{ :idea: Perhaps MoBos should have a usb socket INTERNALLY for this purpose? :idea: ]

I've tried various other backup routines including windows own, but was always uneasy with them.

IIRC there was a "strangeness" with Win7 not liking backups created by earlier OSes . . .

I guess its just TOO DIFFICULT a hill to climb?

My method operates at a more fundamental level - which IMO is BETTER . . . - and WORKS . . . .

parametric
Alesis Fusion 8SSD AND 6SSD - BOTH are 384Mb/120Gb SSD/Akai ADVANCE61/Yamaha MOXF6/1024Mb Flash Ram/Yamaha SY85/8.5mb vol/1024k non-vol/DX21/Roland MT32/Bachmann double overstrung Baby Grand Piano/Win10 Pro/Ubuntu MATE 15.0.4/iBook G4/Mac OS 10.4.6/ProTools 7.4/MBox2/M-Audio MicroTrack 24/96

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Watch out now! take care, BEWARE of the greedy leaders! They'll take you where you should not go - (George Harrison)

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Re: Protecting Your Computer System

Unread post by parametric » Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:47 pm

Just by way of an update to the method I describe in this Post . . viewtopic.php?f=2&t=10044&p=59164&hilit=Clone#p59164

The device I used was SATA2 - pictured in the above link.

There is now a SATA3 spec device available: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01D61P3EC? ... rblUxfK0Xl

It's a different brand (there ARE a number of them out there), but functionally similar, with a "One Button" stand-alone

CLONE function.

Max drive-size has also increased, from 2Tb in the SATA2, to 6Tb in the SATA3 item . . . .

I won't re-describe the procedure or why I use it again here - as it is all in the linked post above . . . .

All I will say is that it works well for ME ((i))

parametric
Alesis Fusion 8SSD AND 6SSD - BOTH are 384Mb/120Gb SSD/Akai ADVANCE61/Yamaha MOXF6/1024Mb Flash Ram/Yamaha SY85/8.5mb vol/1024k non-vol/DX21/Roland MT32/Bachmann double overstrung Baby Grand Piano/Win10 Pro/Ubuntu MATE 15.0.4/iBook G4/Mac OS 10.4.6/ProTools 7.4/MBox2/M-Audio MicroTrack 24/96

NI Komplete11 Ultimate

Sector101 2x SYEMB06 / 4 x EXM-E3 128MB DRAM Module

BRAND NEW DSDD (720k) FLOPPY DISKS FOR SALE - http://www.yamahaforums.co.uk/forum/vie ... =22&t=9217

Watch out now! take care, BEWARE of the greedy leaders! They'll take you where you should not go - (George Harrison)

IT'S TRUE - "MONEY TALKS" - TO ME, IT MOSTLY SAYS "GOODBYE" ;-)
http://www.chrisnmiller.co.uk/Chris
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Re: Protecting Your Computer System

Unread post by javelin276 » Fri Aug 03, 2018 4:17 pm

Hi Parametric, I have almost exactly the same backup scheme, right down to moving my Thunderbird email data to the data drive. I run Windows 7 off an SSD on C: drive, and all of my data (and apps) go on E: drive. Both drives are backed up similar to your method. It works well. If my system goes South, I just restore the SSD.

I've had a few severe crashes and hard drive failures over the years, I learned to keep backups the hard way. Hopefully someone who hasn't had that pleasure will listen and follow suite.
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Re: Protecting Your Computer System

Unread post by parametric » Sat Aug 04, 2018 12:32 am

Hey Javelin . . .

THANKS for that.

I think you only have to go through the MISERY of a Windows reinstall ONCE - to get the point . . . .

HOURS and HOURS of misery.

Its hard to describe the ELATION of watching your machine boot off the clone you just made - as if nothing has happened.

APART from that, you also enjoy the fact that whatever malware/virus/ransomware has locked you into a loop that WON'T budge,

it is ALL GONE, at a stoke . . . .

My C: Drive is only 256Gb - so it's quite quick to clone . . . .

Strangely, Windows does seem to "learn" (up to a point) that my Chris/User folders are on the F: Drive - and often selects the F: Drive as target for some operations . . . (Those folders are of course ALSO on the C: Drive as normal - I just don't USE them)

I DID experiment with SymLinks (Symbolic Links) - but they proved a MESS - and unreliable . . . .

My Dorico Licence needed re-authenticating (which was easy) - so I'm guessing the licence takes a note of the Serial number of the Drive, and has NOTICED that it's different on the clone. . . . :roll:

Otherwise - NO problems at all . . . .

I KNOW that a cloned drive will boot a Mac, but nothing beyond that.

be interesting to confirm that everything works ok on the Mac as well . . . (Y)

parametric
Alesis Fusion 8SSD AND 6SSD - BOTH are 384Mb/120Gb SSD/Akai ADVANCE61/Yamaha MOXF6/1024Mb Flash Ram/Yamaha SY85/8.5mb vol/1024k non-vol/DX21/Roland MT32/Bachmann double overstrung Baby Grand Piano/Win10 Pro/Ubuntu MATE 15.0.4/iBook G4/Mac OS 10.4.6/ProTools 7.4/MBox2/M-Audio MicroTrack 24/96

NI Komplete11 Ultimate

Sector101 2x SYEMB06 / 4 x EXM-E3 128MB DRAM Module

BRAND NEW DSDD (720k) FLOPPY DISKS FOR SALE - http://www.yamahaforums.co.uk/forum/vie ... =22&t=9217

Watch out now! take care, BEWARE of the greedy leaders! They'll take you where you should not go - (George Harrison)

IT'S TRUE - "MONEY TALKS" - TO ME, IT MOSTLY SAYS "GOODBYE" ;-)
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Re: Protecting Your Computer System

Unread post by Saul » Sat Aug 04, 2018 12:39 am

I have cloned my Mac drive before and everything booted up from the clone drive with no problems at all. There was no need to re-authorise anything either :)
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Re: Protecting Your Computer System

Unread post by parametric » Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:07 am

Excellent Saul . . . .

Just what we wanted to hear . . . . ((i)) (Y)

Chris
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Re: Protecting Your Computer System

Unread post by Derek » Sat Aug 04, 2018 8:46 am

Saul wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 12:39 am
I have cloned my Mac drive before and everything booted up from the clone drive with no problems at all. There was no need to re-authorise anything either :)
Good to hear, as I am running out of space on my (2012 vintage) iMac, so time for a hard drive upgrade, which I will do over Christmas.
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Re: Protecting Your Computer System

Unread post by Saul » Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:48 am

I will probably be doing it again around the same time Derek. All this video editing malarkey eats up hard drive space so incredibly quickly. Hopefully ssd prices might have dropped further by then. Also need to try and get some more memory in here. 8Gb is "ok" but I need 16Gb..which is the limit on this 2010 iMac.
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Re: Protecting Your Computer System

Unread post by parametric » Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:14 pm

Sorry to say, I have always been dismayed by the miserly offerings of HD Size and RAM amount on Mac Machines,

considering their high Price . . .

I ALWAYS had to upgrade them "out of the box" to make them fit for purpose, at the Uni - and that was (initially) just for AUDIO 8O

Costco currently are selling the iMac Pro (the grey one) at around £4k - which I believe has a 1TB internal SSD . . . .

I'm sorry, but for that kind of price I would expect a MacPro style proper system case - so you can add extra drives to do REAL WORK.

Doing the same in the iMac format, you're back to a messy desktop with a load of spaghetti out the back, and a stack of "boxes".

Anywhere you look, you read that media should live on a separate drive from the OS - when doing this kind of work . . . .

So, with the greatest respect, the iMac is NOT designed for much more that "office" duties . . . (IMO) :wink:

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Alesis Fusion 8SSD AND 6SSD - BOTH are 384Mb/120Gb SSD/Akai ADVANCE61/Yamaha MOXF6/1024Mb Flash Ram/Yamaha SY85/8.5mb vol/1024k non-vol/DX21/Roland MT32/Bachmann double overstrung Baby Grand Piano/Win10 Pro/Ubuntu MATE 15.0.4/iBook G4/Mac OS 10.4.6/ProTools 7.4/MBox2/M-Audio MicroTrack 24/96

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Re: Protecting Your Computer System

Unread post by jima » Sun Aug 05, 2018 1:37 am

Rats, and to think I just ditched all my Windoze stuff after 38 years of fighting crappy boxes and a crappier OS. I knew it was a mistake! This whole thing I have going now with my iMac, more stable, faster, way less virus prone, more reliable and faster OS upgrades, a far better network stack, a smoother 'proper' multi-tasking OS, 80% less disk bloat (my figures on my primary iMac) and a brilliant 5K display is clearly just a hallucination. Ah well, if I'm lucky I might just be able to run a text editor or some other 'Office' software. Now, where did I put that copy of Windows 95?

BTW best practice is to always run everything on a separate drive from the OS or at the very least on a separate partition. I absolutely had to do it on the PC, Windows virtual memory management is crude at best but guess what, not a problem on the iMac. Never, ever, going back.
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Re: Protecting Your Computer System

Unread post by parametric » Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:31 am

I'm not "dissing" the iMac Jim . . . . In fact at the last Wakeman session I did, they appeared to be using a iMac to run ProTools.

It was a white one - so not sure if it was a Pro or not . . . I couldn't see any external HDD boxes by the Screen,

but then it was a pro studio, so they were probably hidden away tidily . . . .

I just personally prefer a System Case. The older MacPros had fabulous cases.

4 (IIRC) socketed slide-in bays for 3.5" HDDs. (NO cables.)

At the Uni, when I was working . . the Main studio kept it's MacPro in a "Machine Room"

(where the 16 track 2" Tape machines used to live) AWAY from the actual control room - LUXURY -

but not easily done in a domestic environment . . . :lol:

All the rest is true, as you say. Certainly since intel/OSX the Mac has been Rock-Solid, and just works . . . .

parametric
Alesis Fusion 8SSD AND 6SSD - BOTH are 384Mb/120Gb SSD/Akai ADVANCE61/Yamaha MOXF6/1024Mb Flash Ram/Yamaha SY85/8.5mb vol/1024k non-vol/DX21/Roland MT32/Bachmann double overstrung Baby Grand Piano/Win10 Pro/Ubuntu MATE 15.0.4/iBook G4/Mac OS 10.4.6/ProTools 7.4/MBox2/M-Audio MicroTrack 24/96

NI Komplete11 Ultimate

Sector101 2x SYEMB06 / 4 x EXM-E3 128MB DRAM Module

BRAND NEW DSDD (720k) FLOPPY DISKS FOR SALE - http://www.yamahaforums.co.uk/forum/vie ... =22&t=9217

Watch out now! take care, BEWARE of the greedy leaders! They'll take you where you should not go - (George Harrison)

IT'S TRUE - "MONEY TALKS" - TO ME, IT MOSTLY SAYS "GOODBYE" ;-)
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Re: Protecting Your Computer System

Unread post by Derek » Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:06 am

I have to respectively disagree with you, Chris, although it is of course personal preference on a cased system based for individual needs. However, I think the need for them now is much reduced especially as most peripherals like sound cards are external and interfaced by USB or Firewire. I remember the days when you used to be inside a ISA/PCI bus equipped PC all the time, but I cannot think of the last time I did that on a regular basis.

The iMAC I purchased in 2012 just sits on top of my desk in its display only form factor, with no space wasted below it, no fan noise (important as it sits in my living room), and it just works. It just works, with none of the trauma you get with windows. You get to update it when you want. It is only now that the 1TB disk I purchased it with is getting close to capacity due to the amount of music and photos on there, along with the download archive of all of my music applications (which could go on an external drive). But after six years of life it is time to think about replacing the hard drive before it fails.

I used the iMAC for pretty much everything (not just Office applications) other than music as some of my music software (esp some VSTis I do not want to let go) is still PC only, and I need a PC for Java testing on PC platform. The iMAC is my main development environment for my Java work.

No platform is perfect, Apple can do some pretty stupid things sometimes, but they are light years ahead of PC/Windoze and a much more pleasant experience in terms of user interface and far less hassle factor
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http://www.echoes-music.co.uk
http://www.xfactory-librarians.co.uk
http://www.ex5tech.co.uk
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