I am curious to what everyones backup methods /archiving methods are for projects. I have had a scare or two recently involving data. I had things backed up, but my organization and method of back ups made it very time consuming to go through and find everything. I am trying a new type of setup which is as follows. I am a windows user, I have 5 Internal Hard drives.

Main drive

  • Boot Drive is a 80gb SSD where my OS and Pro tools and other key programs run.

Programs/Documents Drive 600g

  • Run my extra programs and keep my documents.

Projects 1 TB - This is where my pro tools projects are located inclusive of everything except video for the project. I usually drop that onto the programs/documents drive


  • Where my sound fx library sits. Both my personal recorded library and the libraries I own. I backup my personal SFX using crashplan to the cloud.

Hot Swap Sata Bay 1TB I use this drive as my backup/archive bay. Basically I keep my Projects Drive Mirrored to this using different methods, none are really seamless and automatic, I manually copy some, have used robocopy utilities, and am currently doing a copy using a program called BART. This drive is basically called ARCHIVE_001...002...003 etc.

Once Projects finish, I have exact copies of everything on that archive drive, I make DVDs of the stems and prints, and the client gets copies of it also. Then Every so often, I remove the completed projects from my projects drive and fill up the archive drive, pull it out and put in a fresh HDD and start all over.

This method is pretty flawed, but it is at least something. I have been researching some forms of server based backup or NAS backups. I am liking this idea as it offers large ability to expand, and older rackmount servers for sata raid data backup are pretty cheap on ebay.

I have also thought of the idea of using something like a drobo , but I really am not fond of the idea of another usb hardrive enclosure laying around.

The backup programs I have seen, seem to make their own image files, and that is not what I am looking for, just want an identical mirror, I guess Raid 1, but I want to just be able to have one of those drives and it just work rather than a rebuild process when 1 drive is gone. Maybe I am missing something, but I am curious as to what everyones process is from Drive Management (Physical) to the software used to automate the process and allow you to sleep at night.


4 Answers 4


I did a writeup last year on my system and strategy here; first part describing an overview of hard drives and their usage can be seen here.


Here the setup in my Mac Pro:

System Drive (apps and system data). Backed up to my local NAS using Time Machine.

Audio Drive (current projects). Sync'd to the cloud (Sugar Sync)

Library (2) 2 TB drives (4TB Raid). Two sets of back ups. Using (2) 2 TB for each set (not raid). Both backups kept offsite at separate locations (I can retrieve either backup quickly). I use an external drive dock and sync data to these drives using Chronosync.

  • Also, archived projects go along with the library data. I don't keep archives forever. Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 3:53

Since you're a Windows user, you may want to look into a free Microsoft program called SyncToy. I use it for differential backups of my project and effects drive. Other than that, I just keep the standard Windows based backups of personal files (bookmarks, settings, etc.) on a separate drive. I've found that, when necessary, a clean install typically works better than restoring from a system image (at least with an SSD as my main OS drive). It wouldn't be a bad idea to keep a fresh install on a separate drive, that way you could just swap it out if you run into an issue, and save reinstalling your files until a given project is over.

  • @Shaun I use an image file to give me a fresh install of my OS drive and key programs. This image file was made immediately following a completely clean install of the os and all programs on that drive. I am less concerned about my system drive crashing, because I have all the programs to put back, than I am with losing my work. I will look into SyncToy. Thanks Commented May 22, 2012 at 16:55
  • @Shaun What kind of drive structure/ management are you using? Commented May 23, 2012 at 4:07
  • +1 for SyncToy - using it for scheduled daily work projects backuping (mirror) Commented May 23, 2012 at 4:34
  • @Michael - SSD for OS and software, 2nd internal for all project files and storage, 3rd internal drive for sound effects library and current use video files. Pro Tools has always been far happier with a separate drive for video playback. My case has a hotswap slot for bare internal drives, and I use sync toy to mirror the project and sfx drives on a weekly/bi-monthly basis. I'm considering getting another internal drive that matches the project drive, and converting it into a striped RAID to increase streaming speed for my sessions. Commented May 23, 2012 at 11:56

i swear by Allway Sync http://allwaysync.com/ to the point where i boot into windows to do my backups (haven't found anything as good- or cheap for mac)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.