You don’t really have a backup strategy

Posted by: on Jun 8, 2010 | 8 Comments

I bet you don’t really have a backup strategy for your personal workstations. Some of you probably do some sort of backups but peel back the top layer and it’s not really a full backup strategy. I don’t want to scare you but have looked outside recently? Earthquakes, Sinkholes, Hurricanes, Floods, Republicans, Democrats oh my. Seriously, it’s not enough to be worried about your hard drive crashing at an untimely moment or your laptop bag being snatched from you at the airport (Note to self: don’t mess with (Mark Stelzner). Your home could burn down or be swept away in a flash flood.

Fear not my good friends; let me give you few helpful tips on how to create a very simple backup strategy.

  1. Backup your critical files to external storage.
  2. Image your hard drive and store in a safe place. By safe place I mean a fireproof safe, a safe deposit box, your parent’s house or well you get the picture.  I don’t mean the bottom shelf in the bookcase in your living room.

There you have it. Short, simple and beautiful.  Wait, what?  You need more information?  Oh, sorry.  Here you go:


  1. Backup: Hands down the easiest file backup program for the Mac is already built-in to Mac OS X and is called Time Machine.  Just get yourself an external Firewire or USB hard drive that is at least as large as the hard drive in you Mac, turn on the power to the drive, plug it into your Mac and follow the instructions here.
  2. Image: Buy yourself a second external hard drive that is the same size as the hard drive in your Mac. Purchase either SuperDuper or Carbon Copy and follow their directions to make a full image of your hard drive. Don’t forget the part about storing it in a safe place.


  1. Backup: Unlike the Mac, Windows doesn’t come with a backup program that is as easy and as powerful to use as Time Machine.  So I recommend you skip the whole backup to local external disk option and go with the cloud baby.  I recommend either Carbonite or Jungle Disk.  These two programs will backup your data over your Internet connection to storage at the vendor data center.  Each company has a different pricing model so read the pricing information carefully to determine which company’s backup pricing best meets your needs.
  2. Image: Despite the fact that Windows built-in backup software is barely usable, Windows Vista and Windows 7 built-in image software works just great.  I have had to use it several times now to upgrade my laptop to a larger hard drive and then restore to a replacement hard drive when the new drive failed.  Still on Windows XP?  Why on earth are you still on Windows XP? Oh all right, if you must use XP for some reason, then I recommend Acronis True Image. I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but you did remember to store it in a safe place right?

So NOW you have a backup strategy.


  1. Rina
    June 9, 2010

    I recommend Handy Backup, it’s easy and reliable software for Windows.

  2. Paul Smith
    June 9, 2010

    And one more thing: lightning does strike more than once. In November something virus-like wiped out my NAS Server & corrupted my laptop’s harddrive. (Goodbye 15,000 mp3s) A few months ago, Windows was corrupted & had to be reinstalled. And it happened again last weekend. (I’m using XP on this computer-I know-shut up). Each time, I’ve been lazy about improving my backup strategy—how could it happen again, so soon?
    It does. I’m cursed.

    • Michael Krupa
      June 9, 2010

      Dude. Call me and let’s get you a real backup strategy. Maybe we can talk about you getting off XP as well. If you are cursed then we might need a triple redundancy backup strategy.

  3. Jason
    June 9, 2010

    I like the 3-2-1 philosophy. 3 copies of anything you care about. Store data on at least 2 different media, ie a hard drive and DVD or tape. And 1 of those copies should be off site.

    So in addition to mike’s suggestions about backing up to external drives, I’d suggest using an online backup service like backblaze, jungledisk, crashplan, or carbonite to back your stuff up to the cloud. Most of those services are around $5 a month, so it’s not going to break the bank either.

    Of course it’s one thing to say this, and it’s another to do it… So I really have to take my own advice before something happens!! (knock on wood)

    • Michael Krupa
      June 9, 2010

      Jason – Thanks for the comment. The 3-2-1 philosophy is a great idea with one copy offsite being the key. I totally agree about online backup services, in fact I mentioned Carbonite and Jungledisk under the Windows file backup section. Now go verify you have a backup strategy. I wouldn’t want the pictures of your beautiful greyhounds to be lost in a disaster.

  4. Ellen
    June 9, 2010

    I have heard Acronis but I use Wondershare Time Freeze, for it is free and easier.

  5. Ellen
    June 9, 2010

    Hi Michael,
    Sorry but I find nowhere else to talk to you.
    Would you please review Wondershare Time Freeze? The publisher is now offering free licenses of it. It might be great that more people get it!
    Best regards

    • Michael Krupa
      June 9, 2010

      Ellen – Thanks for the reminder that I need to add a contact form. I’ll see what I can dig up about Wondershare.