Folks, please back up your data.
Once again I have been involved with a system meltdown where there was NO valid back up available.
I was able to salvage some data only after many, many hours and lots of aggravation.
Please don’t let this happen to you.
If people would create, and more importantly follow an effective back up strategy, they (and I) would live a much less stressful life.
There’s one simple rule about backups that everybody needs to fully understand:
Your files should exist in at least Two places, or it’s no longer a backup! Too often people delete files from their primary PC, assuming they are backed up or worse have their back ups located on the same hard drive on the same PC. A different partition of the same physical drive does NOT count. When hard drives fail they usually take the whole drive down including all partitions.
You data must exist in TWO, separate places at once or it is not a back up.
The simplest way is to purchase an external drive that you back up your data to by creating (and appending) disk images (see below for more) on a regular basis. I believe the most effective backups are Images(Clones).
Large external drives are very inexpensive these days. You can pick up a 1TB drive for around $100 or less just about anywhere.
But remember when backing up your data that you can’t delete it from your main system once it’s been backed up to an external drive. By doing that, you’ve left yourself with only a single copy of your important files, on an external drive that has just as much chance of dying as your internal PC hard drive.
So if you have only one external drive remember that.
Or you can go to my paranoid – but outrageously safe, route:
And use at least TWO external drives for image rotations.
I believe in the ‘grandfather/father/son’ method of backups.
[This is a method for storing previous generations of master file data that are continuously updated. The son is the current file (the one on your pc or data drive for home users), the father is a copy of the file from the previous cycle, and the grandfather is a copy of the file from the cycle before that one.]
I don’t want to be the guy who lost 25 years of family photo’s or my QuickBooks file with 15 years of business data because I didn’t want to spend a little money and time up front to be safe.
Imaging or cloning is the procedure by which you create a backup that is identical to a bootable system either to another (separate) internal or external drive. This is the ultimate backup! Should your drive fail you can just ‘pop in’ your cloned drive or ‘restore’ that clone image to a new (replacement) drive and your are up and running.
Image software makes a full, exact copy of your hard drive— a mirror image of the operating system, software, data, file organization—everything.
Good description here.
The go to software for me is Acronis or Ghost
Both have home and enterprise solutions. I have used them for many years, and continue to use both of them extensively.
For the price it is inexcusable to not have this software and use it regularly in your back up strategy.
For OS X creating an image is very simple process that can be done without any 3rd party software although I do like using SuperDuper. I have covered that in a previous article here.
Some of you may be happy just having your ‘data’ backed up to an external or online storage solution like Dropbox, Mozy, iDrive or Carbonite. There are others search ’em out.
That is fine and good for immediate back ups or access to current documents while traveling. I sometimes do this to between my image/back up schedule or when I am traveling and I know I will not be able to use a secure system.
I also use Microsoft’s SyncToy to mirror my working folders at home to one of my external drives and at work for my working documents and files. This tool has just been update to increase it’s speed and robustness, especially with network attached storage devices (NAS). You can find it here.
Well that’s all for now.
Please people save some grief and back up your data then back that up!