Experiences with Dropbox as iPhoto Library Backup


The renewal on my annual Mozy Backup subscription was due, and I decided that I wanted to consolidate backup solutions. Dropbox had (recently?) upped their Pro plan to 1TB, so there was plenty of room to back up a 100GB iPhoto library.

I made the switch on Wednesday of this week, dragging the iPhoto library in Photos over to the Dropbox folder (do this with iPhoto closed and then double-click once moved to let iPhoto figure out the new location.) I did a selective sync to another computer that was lacking in hard drive space so that the Dropbox sync wouldn't eat up all the space.

Finder claims there are about 98,000 in the library. Dropbox was indexing about 360,000. I haven't dug into the discrepancy, but I'm guessing hidden files aren't in the Finder count. 


MacBook Pro mid-2009 model, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB 5400 RPM HD, 50/10 Mbps Cable Internet service through TWC. 


Default setting for Dropbox upload is to "Limit automatically" (as shown below) to minimize disruption to other Internet activities. I had to change that to "Don't Limit".

Dropbox Network Settings

As of Saturday (3 days later):

I've also done a disk clone of the of the 1TB and gotten caught up on Time Machine backups, but three days later, Dropbox has indexed half of the files and uploaded 10GB of data. 

 As of Monday (5 days later):

Dropbox is down to only indexing its last 18,000 files (5.6%) and has uploaded roughly 85 GB of data.

As of Wednesday (7 days later): Dropbox appears to have backed up 160 GB of data, but it also appears to have crashed at some point along the way as well.

Norton Ghost 12.0: My latest favorite tool

Just used Norton Ghost to upgrade/replace a hard drive that was in the early stages of failing--it had had a few intermittent blue screen/reboots:

This was a HP Pavilion zv5000 laptop with a 60GB drive and XP Home.

Event Viewer showed several things of note around the reboot times:
Got a bug check: 0x0000007a (0xc03dd9a4, 0xc000000e, 0xf7669130, 0x0737e860)

The error is The device .DeviceIdeIdePort0, did not respond within the timeout period.

An error was detected on device DeviceHarddisk0D during a paging operation.

Ran the whole chkdsk /r and chkdsk /f bit. Found 4KB in bad sectors--but more importantly, I heard the tell-tale sound of a hard drive beginning to fail.

Miraculously, Ghost 12.0 was able to make a disk copy of the hard drive (and properly resize) to an 80 GB hard drive. The only catch left is that the "bad sector" flags are copied as well. Not a big deal in this case, but here's a page with a resolution: The $BadClus metatfile.

Because of the failing drive, the copy operation for 10 GB of data (4500 RPM drive) took close to two hours. I'd imagine the faster hard drive in better condition would have a significantly better transfer rate.

Once the disk copy was finished, I swapped hard drives out and the new drive booted almost exactly as old. One glitch: XP Pro/2003 boot option was added as a second option, in addition to the valid XP Home boot. No problem... I just had to edit the boot.ini.

Anti-spyware change of heart.

Spy Sweeper is my new anti-spyware solution of choice. I started out using Ad-Aware, but I ran across spyware that I was trying to remove that Ad-Aware could not take care of.

At that time, I stumbled upon both the Microsoft Anti-Spyware Tool and Sunbelt CounterSpy. Both tools did an exceptional job, and went with CounterSpy because it was advertised as the creator of the engine for both products.

In two years of use, CounterSpy bogged down my 2.8Ghz P4 with Win2k and 1 GB RAM. I also had quite a few false positives in those two years. With a recent update, CounterSpy constantly disabled itself on my Win2k system.

I decided to switch over to one of the top recommendations from a Consumer Reports article... Webroot Spy Sweeper... as far as I can tell so far, Spy Sweeper is using only 8MB of RAM while not conducting a scan.