I woke up yesterday to a dead Cavalry 500g backup drive. The light was on, there was some vibration and noise, no data was home. The icon appeared in the tray as usual, but the drive failed to show up in Explorer.
Since it was an external backup drive, it was a relatively minor problem at that moment, but my computer was now operating without a net, so real disaster could happen at any time.
The first thing I thought was how thankful I was to be rid of Vista which had been at the center of a half dozen serious crashes over the past year and a half. If I still had it, I'd be under constant stress which would be heightened at each boot.
And I was about to find out how really thankful I was that I upgraded to Windows 7.
Since I had nothing backed up, and since it would take at least days to procure a new drive, I decided to burn what I could to DVD(s), and that's when I discovered something that I consider to be amazing. Windows 7 allows you to write, erase, and rewrite ordinary DVD+R or -R disks.
I tried it and sure enough, I was able to erase data even after I'd removed the disk and re-inserted it in the drive, so you can literally use DVDs as 4g flash drives. Writing is slow – it took me four hours to back up everything I absolutely needed, but now I don't have to worry about drive failure. And I can wait for a deal on a new backup drive
I even have a backup program that I believe will allow split image ISO backups, so I can restore the computer to it's exact state if I have a complete failure. I hadn't pursued that before because the external drive did a complete partition backup in an hour and restored the computer in the same amount of time, and a 100g backup to a DVD might take a day… or… ???
And since up to now, the disks were unable to be used again, you had to use new ones each time you had a significant amount of new date to backup.
With Windows 7 allowing you to rewrite DVDs, you have a cheap medium that gives you a more durable backup that you can throw in a drawer and feel relatively safe. Better yet, throw in in a safe, instead of keeping it in your drawers.