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.
- Backup your critical files to external storage.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.