01 September, 2009

It's Back Up Your Data Day!

It's the first of the month which means it's Back Up Your Data Day (although it should be done day-to-day!).

We can also use this day to delete stuff we no longer need and defragment our hard drive(s) to keep our machine lean and clean, if you know what I mean.

Windows guide to defragmenting
Mac users don't have to defragment, apparently.

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I had a computer scare last week but it would have been even more scary if I hadn't backed up. Instead of worrying about losing my pictures of Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan and Sophie from Big Brother, all I worried about was whether I could afford a new computer.

Backing up to external hard drive and flash drive is one thing but they also crash. DVD-Rs are safer but they could get lost or accidentally damaged. Besides, unless they're stored off-site then we're still at risk in the case of theft, flood or fire.

Online back-ups are therefore an alternative worth considering. Sir Jason uses Carbonite and recommends it but other online back-up services are available like BT Digital Vault, Mozy, SOS Online Backup, Intronis and IDrive.

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A reminder about Matt's simple and effective back-up:

"I have never been able to get the hang of proper backup software and procedures. I always end up getting into a complete pickle about the various full backups, interim backups and how the bloody hell I'd back everything up if my hard-drive became shot with the backup software on it. So these days I just have a complete clone of My Documents on a portable drive and use Microsoft's Synctoy to keep the files up to date."

However I would suggest backing up your entire Documents and Settings folder and not just the My Documents part of it as it which would include emails and favourites/bookmarks. This link has more details.

I asked Lee about the Mac equivalent:

"Things like emails, bookmarks, fonts, templates, RSS feeds, Applescripts - anything used by an application, but not created by it when you hit Save - are kept in your Home folder, in the Library. In Mac speak, that's ~/Library. Apple apps such as Mail, Safari, and iTunes may have their own folders. Non-Apple apps like NetNewsWire, Montage, Final Draft, Scrivener etc, will keep all their stuff in ~/Library/Application Support. The truly paranoid might want to back up their preference files as well. I know I do. These are in ~/Library/Prefences.

For safety's sake, back up the entire Library folder, it's probably only a few hundred megs."

Jason Sutton added:

"Backing up Macs is impossibly easy. Buy an external hard drive and use Time Machine. It's built in to OS X. The best back-ups are the ones you don't have to think about. Brilliant application."

Thank you Matt and Lee and Jason!

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Don't delay, do it today. It's Back Up Your Data Day, hooray!


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