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I'm planning to take offsite and offline backups of photographs - 700GB of them - to blu-ray disks. Selecting and cataloging files manually is too time-consuming. I'm trying to find a solution that:

  • Stores raw files, instead of custom format. This is important for archiving - that tool is not necessarily available after 5-10 years, but I still want to be able to access the files. As photographs are usually <50MB, lost disk space for not splitting files is negligible.
  • Automatically catalogs files per disks. I want to be able to find disk holding a specific file.
  • Automatically detects and chooses modified/new files to be backed up.
  • Preferably stores checksums to detect corrupted files.
  • Supports disks with different sizes: some data might go to CD-Rs (700MB) or DVDs. Or to some next-generation disk with greater capacity.
  • Runs on Windows, Linux and/or OS X. It doesn't have to support all of those.
  • Either CLI or GUI.
  • Alerts ("There's this many files that are not backed up yet") are a bonus.

Does such tool exist? I couldn't find anything even close.

I'm aware optical disks decay over time (and that M-Disc is one solution for that). Also, often people seem to recommend HDDs for offsite backups. The problem with HDDs is a) fragility and b) updating the contents. To backup new files, (one of the) disk(s) must be carried back home, updated and then stored offsite again.

I have checked similar questions, including this, this, this and this with no luck.

  • I'd just tar.xz the folder with the pictures, and burn it to a disk with some standard disk burner ;) – MadTux Feb 6 '14 at 9:41
  • And pick all changes manually? That doesn't sound too convenient. – Olli Feb 6 '14 at 9:44
  • Just my way of doing it -- I also use the same way to back up my OS ; I just can't be bothered to learn some complex clever tool that saves stuff in a format I don't understand. – MadTux Feb 6 '14 at 9:50
  • @MadTux I misunderstood 'I'd just' as suggestion (instead of 'I just...'. As written above, I want/need a tool that writes stuff as raw files, not on some exotic backup database format. – Olli Feb 6 '14 at 9:56
  • You're likely going to have issues with your requirements, but the best disk burning software, IMHO, is ImgBurn. It'll save the files to disk, no special format, it'll do disk verify on burn, supports different disks, and will run on Windows. I do not know if it fills the other criteria, hence me posting this as a comment, but as it is free you could always take a look. – tombull89 Feb 6 '14 at 10:20
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You can use standard unix tools to do this. They are available on linux (and afaik also on osx, but you have to test that though).

  • You also should have a look at cdbackup which sounds matching, but I haven't tried it yet.

The script I have in mind uses

  • bash to process the script
  • find to locate the files
  • touch to store date values in files
  • cpio to do the backup; They are stored in the crc format of cpio which adds checksums to the archive. Don't be worried about cpio not being available in the future. The crc file format is sufficiently easy and well documented that you could re-implement an extraction routine if all else fails. (and I would be really surprised if there is no cpio in 20 years)

If you are interested in doing this by shell, I would give it a shot and write such a script.

You would get a tool that prompts you to switch devices (cpio does that, at least for magnetic tapes, should be the same for DVD-R or any other block device). And a file that has a list of all archived files together with the timestamp of the equivalent backup action and the number of the dvd used. So you will have to open that file, search for the filename you want to recover and then search up for the DVD number and date. Not the handiest solution, but would work.

I have used all these tools in the past, although not for this specific purpose.

  • +1 for this. In general the UNIX tools give you a level of flexibility that you aren't going to find in a front-end. – Chris Travers Feb 8 '14 at 2:12
  • -1 Seriously? Your suggestion is to write your own backup program? What a great use of one's time that's sure to produce a quality, bug-free, feature-rich application. "Not the handiest solution" -- nuff said. – Aleksandr Dubinsky Aug 11 '14 at 14:37
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Genie Backup has good options for backing up to optical media, with lots of features such as incremental backups. It stores backups either as zip or exe.

See:

  • Welcome to Software Recs. We prefer to have answers that contain full recommendations. Currently your answer is little more than "Look at this link". Did you use this tool? What are your experiences? – Angelo Fuchs Aug 15 '14 at 13:37
  • @AngeloNeuschitzer You mean my answer wasn't opinionated enough? – Aleksandr Dubinsky Aug 15 '14 at 22:25
  • @AngeloNeuschitzer So when someone asks "Does such tool exist? I couldn't find anything even close," I'm not allowed to just point them to such a tool? I have to give an entire spiel about it? Why does every SE site seem to have its own asinine rules? – Aleksandr Dubinsky Aug 15 '14 at 22:30
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    Yes, have a look at this meta: meta.softwarerecs.stackexchange.com/questions/356/…. From your answer I still have to visit the outside tool just to get an impression. The idea for this rule is to make a difference between "recommendation" and "Link". SR.SE chooses not be just a link collection but a collection of people who share their experiences. SE strives to have "high quality" Sites and the only thing that repeatably produces such content are strict rules. – Angelo Fuchs Aug 16 '14 at 8:29

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