Backup Reminder – A look at my Backup system

A couple of months ago I had a stark reminder of just how important backups are. I didn’t have my hard drive fail – though I thought it did – my Macbook Pro’s hard drive just wasn’t right. The system was running slow and the keyboard was unresponsive. I took the computer into the Apple Store where they did and archive and install for me that solved the problem. Up and until that point in time my backup strategy was as follows:

  • Backup internal hard drive with iBackup once a week.
  • Store many files in Dropbox.
  • Archive older documents and design files on iDisk.
  • Store Aperture libraries and Music on two separate hard drives.

That was it, short sweet and simple. My rationale was that I didn’t need to worry about lost files from the current week as they are easily reproducible. However when all of this happened it meant I lost and entire day of work time and spent it at the Apple Store. Had I had a proper clone of my internal HD I would have been able to diagnose the issue as software related and restored myself later (spending the rest of work off of the cloned drive).

Since that time I have drastically altered my backup strategy. Here is what it looks like now:

  • Backup internal hard drive with SuperDuper! every other day on two different drives.
  • Store all working files on Dropbox.
  • Archive older documents an design files on iDisk.
  • Store Aperture libraries on 3 different external hard drives.
  • Maintain one small ‘working’ Aperture library.
  • Keep iTunes music folder on external drive with a backup copy on another two drives.
  • Store one of the duplicate backup drives in fire safe.

The main difference is that I have more redundancy, and cloned copies of my internal HD (both on a pocket sized external drive and larger more reliable drive) and that I am keeping a lot of data in Dropbox. I have yet to – and hope never to – run into a problem where I have to put my backup system into effect, however it offers quite a bit of comfort.

My Wife on the other hand refuses to use some of these tools and instead I have her Macbook Pro backing up to an external HD wirelessly through Time Machine. It is better than nothing, but it is far from great.

It is Monday – we all had a nice weekend (hopefully), give yourself the little extra piece of mind this week. Go buy an external HD (they are really cheap) and download a backup program that clones your HD (I recommend SuperDuper! for Mac users) and clone the drive while you sleep. Make it a habit and you will sleep better.

Originally posted for members on: July 12, 2010
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