You never know what you’ve got till it’s gone
Very rightly said.
This is the age of digital media. Your pictures, music, movies have value, that is why you keep them. The cheapest form of storage we as consumers have access to are hard disks, & though spacious they have the habit of failing. And failing bad. Once a HDD dies, a lot of the media which you suddenly took for granted becoming seemingly irreplaceable [it may be recoverable but that may require professional help]. That is why you should always backup. Without fail. Sadly backing up is seen more as a chore than a necessity esp. as it is usually manual. And who want to keep making DVDs/copying files, keeping track of everything. Yes it is a form of insurance, you may never need to use it, but it is always safe to err on the side of caution.
I use two backup methods. My main backup resides in my ext HDD & a copy of some important files are backed up online via Mozy. I detest DVDs & consider them obsolete. They have this habit of being more unreliable than the local MLA. I never trust either.
Considering the pathetic broadband speeds in India, backing up online is not really feasible. My online backup is really specific stuff I would ALWAYS need. That is the address book, my calendar, documents folder, & passwords [separately encrypted, ofcourse]. Mozy runs once a week, at night, to automatically update any changes that may have been made. You can create an account & it will give you a free space of 2GB, more can be bought for a fee.
My primary backup is on the ext. HDD [80GB/320GB for backup] & is handled by Mac OS’s Time Machine app. It backs up everything [music/pictures/documents/mail/OS/installed apps] except movies, because I have assigned only 80GB to the Time Machine backup partition [rest is used for regular data storage]. It runs every 2 days & keeps the old backups till it runs out of space, after which it automatically starts to delete & replace the oldest backups.
As of yesterday, I had never had to use the backed up data. Yesterday when I formatted & re-installed Snow Leopard I thought I had copied all the required data but as turns out, I had not. Imagine the shock when I went to copy my iTunes folder & did not find it there. There was distinctive shiver that ran through me as I suddenly realized that my precious music was gone. Then I looked for my iPhoto library….missing. Documents….missing.
It took me a moment to realize that I could restore through Time Machine & get (most) of the stuff back. But I was still unsure as I had never done a restore on such a large scale. Thankfully it all went through without a hitch.But for those initial 5 mins I was in numb. Sadly I lost all the movies & TV shows, but those are replaceable. My photos, music & apps on the other hand are not. So take this post to be your wake up call. Backup, & do so regularly. If you don’t have a HDD, buy one, you can get a 320GB one for around Rs.3000 [externally powered] & smaller ones even cheaper. If not, then use DVDs [make at-least two copies though]. Start of with documents/pictures & move up from there.
Trust me, you will be grateful one day.
Here are some links you may find useful:
Complete Free Mac Backup
How to Backup Your Mac With Time Machine
Five Best Windows Backup Tools
Mozy Free backup [2GB]
Five Best Offline Backup Tools
Image:Time Machine icon