General Question

jjd2006's avatar

How do you back-up your "stuff"?

Asked by jjd2006 (743points) September 5th, 2008

How do you back-up your pictures, music, important documents, etc. on your computer? External hard drive? Zip drive? CDs?

I’ve heard one too many horror stories about losing everything on computers recently, and I’m trying to figure out the most efficient/cost effective way to back-up.

I have a MacBook.

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12 Answers

robmandu's avatar

For an iMac:

1. External drive for Time Machine
2. External drive for CarbonCopyCloner backup of boot volume
3. Online backup of mission critical items to

In case of fire, grab external drive #1 on the way out the door.

For a MacBook (or anything wireless), I’d put serious consideration into a Time Capsule… so that you need not physically plug in drives.

damien's avatar

I use a mixture of Time Machine, iDisk (using Apple’s Backup app), DVDs and Amazon S3.

bodyhead's avatar

I use different types of backup for different types of data. I categorize my data into tiers one, two, and three.

Tier One
This is personal data that comes from me. i.e. Personal spreadsheets, writings, tax documents, etc.
This is also any personal pictures or original work.

If you’re anything like most people, you’ve got less then two gigs of this type of information. There’s plenty of online services that will sync your data seamlessly in the background. I might actually have a beta invite for dropbox if you’re interested. I’ll have to check when I get home.

Tier Two
These are movies, games or files that I’ve gotten via the internet or other means that are not easily replaced. This is obscure rips of B movies or mp3s of out of print records or important e-book manuals.

This type of data I back up to an external hard drive in case the original copy dies. It’s stuff I care about, but not enough to have another backup off-site.

Tier Three
These are general movies, music and games.

I don’t worry about backing this stuff up because if I loose it, I can get it again. It’s no big deal. Most of this stuff I haven’t really looked at in a while anyway.

My Setup
I also keep all of my data on a raid 5 file server on the network but that would be overboard for most home type situations. Raid 5 is great because one of the hard drives could die and it would rebuild itself if you replace it before another dies.

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Snoopy's avatar

I just back up every couple of weeks to a disc. Nothing fancy, but it does the trick.

tekn0lust's avatar

I second Mozy for encrypted cross platform backup. Even the free 2GB account is great for your important documents.

jasonjackson's avatar

robmandu is right: Mozy’s great. I use it both on OS X and my Windows bootcamp partition. It works fine on both. However, it’s quite slow to restore from, and it doesn’t back up OS X’s extended attributes (which includes things like resource forks and spotlight comments), so it’s really more appropriate as an off-site backup of last resort than a day-to-day backup solution. I use it for critical personal files, in case my apartment building burns down or my laptop is stolen, but not to back up my entire OS.

So under OS X, I also use Time Machine for day-to-day backups of my entire drive, to protect against the time I accidentally delete something important, or my hard drive fails. I’m thinking of switching to SuperDuper though, because it makes bootable backups easy.

I don’t have a day-to-day backup solution for Windows. They’re out there, but without the ease-of-use of Time Machine (or similar), I’m too lazy to really follow through.

mikebrittain's avatar

I put everything onto JungleDisk… pay as you go. Right now I think I only pay about $0.73/month.

I also use a local external hard drive, but in the case of my apartment going up in flames (I like to cook), then at least my files are online somewhere and not just on a melted drive.

tWrex's avatar

Well… I use an external hard drive, but I mount all of my drives through my Linux server and use rsync and cron to backup all of the specified files/drives/file types to the external hard drive. I have 2 xp machines, 1 linux and my shiny new macbook pro and it works well for all.

Yeah I do the nerdy thing, but it works beautifully!

PupnTaco's avatar

Time Machine onto a 1TB MyBook.

argaudette's avatar

I used to do a full backup to Carbon Copy Cloner once a week or so. But this took much to long, and I could only do it at night, and not easily set it to run automatically. Now I just use Time Machine. It works, automatic, keeps all of my data, can’t complain. Might be a little more work to restore my computer than a full bootable backup would, but this is just easier.

robmandu pointed you in a few good directions though.

MrBlogger's avatar

Apple has solved this. Its called Time Machine. If your running Leopard it should be very easy to back up.

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