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My dad is a photographer who is understandably paranoid about losing his photos to a HD crash. He stores his data on an external HD and then periodically backs them up to DVD. To me this seems tedious and I'd like to find a (more) automatic, cheap solution. My idea is to use my NAS (a ReadyNAS NV) to allow him to back up his files from his house to my house. That would make things very secure by having the backups in an entirely different location. He is not particularly tech-savvy, so I need his end to be pretty simple and easy to use. We are both running Windows, and I can set up a machine to be always on (at my location, where the NAS is) and use a service like dyndns.com to have a subdomain that always points to my home IP.

Any recommendations on Windows software that might make it easy to backup his hard drive to my NAS via the Internet?

Thanks!

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4 Answers 4

I'm very fond of Crashplan. It allows friends/family to backup to each other or to a variety of local devices and remote services. I strongly advise you to check it out.

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Huge +1 to this. It's free for the situation you're describing. You both install the client on your machines (likely using the same CrashPlan account that you will create). Then you set his machine to backup to yours after picking what folders to backup. Everything after that is automatic. If his machine ever dies, you just install the client on the fixed machine and restore from your machine. –  Ryan Bolger Oct 26 '10 at 8:06
    
The for-pay cloud based backup is completely optional. But it's a nice alternate backup destination and it's really not terribly expensive. –  Ryan Bolger Oct 26 '10 at 8:08
    
Although I still think Crashplan is a great product, I started investigating other products that would filter out backup of specific files on the basis of their size. Backblaze won my business for home backup. I would consider Crashplan again in a business context. –  codewise Dec 13 '11 at 22:36

Given that you're gonna be sending data over the net, you want to minimize on traffic, so you should probably synchronize the data in the two places so that you're only sending incremental changes rather than sending the entire dataset each time.

The most popular synchronizing services is rsync and luckily enough Readynas supports it. Many people use it as a backup solution, however I don't actually know much about using it on Windows. I found this how-to which makes it look like it can be done. Obviously it won't be able to help you configure the Readynas, but if you find you need help with that there should be plenty of help and resources over the at the Readynas forums.

I should add that like with most of other ways of solving this problem, your router is going to need to have a static IP address (or if it doesn't you can use a dynamic DNS service such as dyndns) and you'll need to forward the rsync port to your readynas.

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Go with rSync...you won't need a machine on at your end 24/7...it's incremental...and extremely fast. I back up a Photographers work remotely over the net every night, and thus far it's been flawless...minimum interaction from me, pretty maintenance free, and I sleep better at night!

Check out the various ReadyMAS beforehand though to find the right one for that set up. I bought an NV and had to hack the front end interface to allow SSH rsync, which you will need if the transfers are to be secure.

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since you "dad is not particularly tech-savvy", you might use Windows Live Sync which is pretty easy to use:

Use shared folders to sync files with friends or coworkers.

Keep important files up to date on all your computers, PC or Mac.

Sign in to the Sync website for remote access to any computer where you’ve installed Sync.

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