Thursday, February 9, 2012



Click…click…click. A hard drive is dying. Begging to be saved as it takes its last breath. Cheesy and dramatic, yes, but this is the worst noise a computer can make. Complete hard drive failure and total loss of data is very common in my field. Losing all of your documents, music, and photos is devastating and for most people data recovery is not an affordable option. (talking a stack of the big bills) Having a solid backup drive and a backup schedule is the only defense.

Here are some tips to get everyone on a safe and solid backup schedule.

Step 1:
Purchase an external hard drive that is at least double the size of your internal hard drive. A USB drive is okay but if your computer has a Firewire input then buy a Firewire external hard drive.

Newegg and Amazon are good online retailers for external hard drives.

LaCie, Seagate, and Western Digital are the only brands of hard drives that I trust. I only use these brands and I have not had a hard drive fail in 10 years.

Step 2:
If your computer is running Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard or newer then backing up is extremely easy. Verify your Mac OS by clicking on the apple icon in the top left and selecting “About This Mac.” If the version is 10.5.x, 10.6.x, or 10.7.x then your computer is equipped with Apple’s back up software called “Time Machine.”

Time Machine will back up your computer automatically every hour, day, week, and month and all you have to do is connect your external hard drive. Done.

Step 3:
If your computer is running an older version of Mac OS such as Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger you will not be able to take advantage of the ease of use of Time Machine but there are still great options available for backing up.

Carbon Copy Cloner is the best free back up utility available. It will create an exact clone of your internal hard drive. It also provides incremental back ups. Meaning it only backs up new files that have been added since the previous back up.

Step 4:
Download, install, and sign up for Dropbox. Dropbox is a hard drive in the clouds. It has so many uses but I recommend saving all of your documents to Dropbox. Resume, invoices, word docs, school papers, restaurant reviews, unfinished blog posts, anything you're currently working on, etc. Save it all to Dropbox so when you're hard drive fails you can jump on a friends computer, log on to Dropbox, and finish what you were working on.

Step 5:
Get on a game plan. A back up is only useful if it’s always current. I use iCal to remind me once a week to back up my computer. Use anything that works for you. Use a sticky note, physical calendar, iPhone reminder, have your parents call to remind you, back up every time you watch an episode of Law & Order etc. Get in the habit of thinking about back ups and following through, because if you don’t you’ll never be safe!

Salud to being backed up! Until next time.

No comments:

Post a Comment