Today, March 31st, 2016, is WORLD BACKUP DAY!!!
Many of you in both my live and online classes have heard me, very strongly, tell you to BACKUP your data! As I’ve mentioned before, the only time you miss having a backup is when you need it and don’t have it.
I always recommend more than one method of backup, just to be safe. Hard drive space has become very reasonably inexpensive, and cloud space can often be had for FREE (my 2nd favorite price, as I often say) ?
Some strategies you might mix and match:
- A CLONED backup of your system, or just your startup drive. Cloning is creating an exact replica of your hard drive (please note, for this discussion, I’m not referring to “Disk Imaging”, which creates what is essentially a zipped file of your cloned hard drive, but doesn’t use the suffix .zip). You need a hard drive with space that matches the size of the drive you’re backing up for this. As for software, Windows users have the options of Macrium Reflect Free, Paragon Backup and Recovery (Advanced) Free , Acronis True Image 2016 (not free), and several others. I do a weekly clone of my startup drive, so that in the case of disaster, my system is only one week behind. However, please note that I do the next strategy daily.
For Mac users, there’s DejaVu, Carbon Copy Cloner, Super Duper!, Data Backup, along with many others . Note that there no longer seems to be much FREE cloning software for Mac, but that’s because the MacOS has Time Machine built in – we’ll discuss that momentarily. With any application you choose, I recommend getting one with the following features:
- Exact duplicate clone capabilities
- Creation of a bootable backup (contains the files necessary to start from and use the backup drive, should your original drive go “bad”)
- Duplication of the startup drives “Recovery Drive” feature (I know Carbon Copy Cloner does this on the Mac, but am unsure what does in the Windows world)
- The ability to SCHEDULE your backups on a regular basis – so that you don’t have to remember to do them – your system does it automatically.
- A duplicate backup of all my “Work” drives, which includes my USER FOLDER from my startup drive. I do this nightly, scheduled with the same backup software I use for my weekly backup of the startup drive. Every night, the drives (or folders) that contain my daily changes are duplicated to a secondary drive. Note that my user folder is in there, so if I ever need to reinstall from my cloned drive back to a new hard drive, I can also move my user folder into place, and my emails and documents, etc. are up to date. On this drive, I don’t duplicate my startup drive. Since I have several drives in my computer, I need quite a large capacity drive for this backup. However, since it only changes the file that have been changed that day, the backup process is quite quick.
- Mac users may also take advantage of the MacOS built in “Time Machine”. This requires quite a lot of storage space, but it does an hourly (give or take) backup of all changes made to your system. The advantage of this is that you can store and restore files from many months back, in case a file gets corrupted, accidentally deleted, or just plain messed up. The DISadvantage to this is that the drive is not bootable (you can’t start your computer from it), so there’s downtime if you must replace your original hard drive, while Time Machine copies your files back to the drive.
- ONLINE backup into the “cloud” is also a great option. Some systems automatically upload your files to their cloud, but you may need to pay for the service. Please note that these will NOT backup your system files, so an Operating System reinstallation would be required). But, your work files will be saved offsite, which is always safe. Nowadays, there are what seem to be a Zillion choices out there for this service. One popular service is Carbonite, and another is Backblaze, there’s also iDrive, CrashPlan, Pogoplug (I love this option, because it also offers a hardware “personal cloud”)….. I could go on for days on this. Some of these plans offer a free option for a small amount of space. In addition, there are FREE:
- Dropbox – 2GB – file size limit 10GB
- Box.com – 50GB – file size limit 250MB
- OneDrive Windows – 5GB – file size limit 10GB – or 1TB with an Office 365 plan
- Google Drive – 15GB – file size limit – varies – but up to 5TB for non-converted files
- Verizon Cloud – 5GB – 1200KB from phone
- Amazon Cloud (w/ Prime) – 5GB for video and files, unlimited for photos – file size limit 2GB
- Copy.com – 15GB no max file size limit
- hubiC – 25GB Free – got 30GB with code
Oh, and DON’T FORGET TO BACKUP YOUR CELL PHONE PHOTOS AND VIDEOS. Use a cloud to do automatic uploads, use iTunes, or whatever software you have to get those photos on your harddrive and back THOSE up. I’ve seen such sadness when someone loses their phone, corrupts the data, accidentally resets the phone… PLEASE remember that those photos will not be easy to recover, if they’re recoverable at all.
In my line of work, there’s been a lot of money to be made by people having NOT backed up their data – please save yourself the money of data recovery, the heartache of lost files and work. Find a strategy that suits you and remember to BACK UP!!!
Oh, and if you ever do need to have data recovered, I do recommend DriveSavers, in Novato, CA. Their “cleanroom” work is the best in the business. If you ever need a discount, please feel free to use my code DS16297.
****Broken hard drive image, courtesy of DriveSaversDataRecovery.com