Ok, so I know we all talk about it but few of us actually back up our computers as often as we should. I thought I'd post my thoughts and see what other good ideas people have.Suggestions:
1. Backup daily
2. Backup to an external HD
3. Backup to an online serviceRegarding backing up online:
Off-site backups are important in the off chance that your apartment burns down or is plundered by thieves. I know a guy from work whose computer was stolen a couple months ago and he lost all his files from college forward. Think about it. It happens. It would not be a fun surprise to come home from a bar review and find your laptop and your external HD (the place where you had all your backups) both missing.
I suggest looking into: http://mozy.com
. It's a pretty slick online service. They provide free
online storage for 2GB and you can purchase more at very reasonable rates. If you're concerned about privacy, they let you encrypt with your own private key. Also, you can specify what folders to backup, so you could just specify your law school folder and not your "taxes and top secret personal files" folder. Basically, it will regularly backup your data to the Mozy servers so you don't even have to think about it...until that fateful day when your HD crashes and you need your data.
An alternative to online backups that would also provide offsite protection would be to keep a USB thumbdrive on your keychain and use that to backup. The drawback is that thumbdrives sometimes break unexpectedly. I had one that must have been dropped one too many times and just quit working, despite no external damage. Also, you lose the convenience of automatic backups.
Also, some schools have a certain amount of network storage space they give to students. You might utilize that for backup purposes too.My strategy:1. Use Mozy
) to automatically backup my important files online (offsite) whenever my computer is idle. 2. Use KeepSafe
(see review at: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1948066,00.asp
) which automatically backs up files every time they are changed. You can specify how many old versions you want to keep and where to save the backups (locally, remotely, or both). This is very useful in situations where you do something stupid like accidentally save over a file or delete something from a document, save it, and realize you goofed (or otherwise delete or lose a file). If you're between backups, this can be a real lifesaver! I've done dumb stuff like that before and it's an awful feeling to spend hours working on a paper (outline/brief) and then lose it before you get home to backup. KeepSafe only saves files when they are changed, though, so it's not a comprehensive solution.3. Nightly backups to an external HD
of my entire "law school" folder. I haven't decided whether I'll just do a manual drag-n-drop or use software to do it automatically. Software that might be worth checking out is Microsoft's new SyncToy which will let you only copy changes and should be quick/easy to use. (http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/digitalphotography/prophoto/synctoy.mspx
) An external USB hard drive can be picked up pretty cheaply.4. Regular
(weekly?) full system backups
to my network storage drive (a 250GB mirrored storage unit).5. Backups to DVD
from time to time.
I'm not saying that this is the best strategy or that everyone needs to do all of the above, but I figured I'd share it and see what others might suggest. (The last two I admit might be overkill and thus not appealing to most people. But, hey, I'm like that.