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Common Technical Mistake in Music Engineering - Hard Drive Failures

August 23, 2017

Intro

I have witnessed so many people didn't have a normal practice of daily backup their works on the computer and suddenly their hard drive failed. Yes, your hard drive wouldn't alert you before they die. They die suddenly usually at the time you are unprepared and running the project tight of time before hanging to your client. What's next? They have to restore their files from labs that usually charge 5 -10 times of the cost of a hard drive and no guarantee of the 100% restoration. Disaster? Absolutely. Can this common issue be avoided? Of course.

 

Background

As a recording engineer and music mixer with many years of experience, I have suffered many times from my hard drive failures in my early stage of career. Other than the loss of so many precious data of my hard work, every time I have to install a new hard drive and install the OS, applications with personal settings. It took a long time.

 

The Digital Work Stations (DAW) in music that I use are Pro Tools, Logic and Cubase. They are good in recording, mixing and sample music arrangement. At the end of the day, there is a lot of creativity from my process of making music. I don't want to lose any data. I would backup the files every day.

 

Backup

What's the best way of backing up your files? The simple way, of course, is to drag and drop your files from the hard drive that you are working on to another hard drive to make a copy. This is better than don't do anything. The con is it takes your time to copy the files. Usually, you would forget to do it at the end of the day when you are tired. Also, it requires you to locate the files that have been modified during the day of work, it is not easy so usually you would copy the whole folder that may take you longer time because you are backup all modified and unmodified files at the same time. The unmodified files are not necessary to be copied and pasted again and again. 

 

Carbon Copy Cloner

So is there any other way to perform the backup automatically? I mean to set and forget. Yes, in Mac, I use a great utility called "Carbon Copy Cloner" or "C.C.C." to backup my project master folder to a different hard drive. It takes few seconds usually because it is a smart tool that it compares the files from your master folder and target folder and only backup the modified files. Sounds great... huh?

 

For example, I am working on a song session named "Pretty Woman" and I have a target external hard drive called "Song Project Backup". You have set to run the backup automatically every half an hour. If you have a hard drive failure, you only lose 30 mins of your work the worst. Carbon Copy Cloner requires OS X only. They offer a free 30-day trial so please TRY before you BUY!

 

Bootable Clone

What about my system drive? Is there a clone of another hard drive that is identical to the master drive and I can use that drive when the master drive die? YES, with C.C.C., you can clone another hard drive which is bootable (The Time Machine in Mac is not bootable... Sorry!). When I have the master hard drive failure, the only thing I do is to boot the Mac again with the target hard drive which is identical to your died hard drive. It takes just a few minutes.

 

Window Version

How about in Window? I don't know as I only use Mac for many years but I believe you may find an application which functions similar to C.C.C. I also want to know if there is any. Readers you know please suggest and comment.

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