A Spoonful of Backups

Let's take a moment and talk about backups. If a meteor hit your PC right now and incinerated your hard drive when was your last backup?

The funny thing about backups is I found I had to force a mental recalibration of my thoughts. Backups used to be something that was a major pain and required special hardware. (And yes, I've even had a tape drive installed on my home PC, back in the Windows NT days). But nowadays it's both easy and pretty cheap.

I'll 'fess up - I haven't to date been systematically backing up Tiny God. I've been spot moving files to Kool-Aid or to my iDisk (.Mac online storage), but I just now got around to buying the necessary drive.

Here's my thinking circa early 2007. Hard drives are cheap. I just bought a 500 gigbyte external drive that supports USB 2.0, FireWire 400, and FireWire 800 from Newegg and it cost $210. This drive is the exact same size (storage-wise) as TinyGod's drive. I will be able to simply back up the whole damn thing weekly. I use external drives, so I can easily disconnect them. This way my backup can't be touched by some crazy rogue process/virus/OS upgrade - the drive isn't turned on most of the time. This doesn't cover me if a meteor destroys my whole office, but it does cover hardware meltdowns or an OS screwup and those are the most likely failure cases.

Software - OS X: I use SuperDuper. This program is awesome. It can clone an entire drive and do what it calls "Smart Update" where it only copies changed files. I back up Kool-Aid every week and it usually takes about 20 - 30 minutes. I run the backup over lunch often. So every week I have a complete, bootable clone of my laptop drive. The whole thing. I can just plug that into a different powerbook and boot from it. Highly recommended.

Software - iPod: I use iPod Access. I have a 300 gig external Firewire drive for Kool-Aid and it has a partition for Kool-Aid and a partition for my iPod. I only back up my iPod monthly, but I still have it backed up. In fact when I set up TinyGod I simply copied my iPod backup into iTunes.

Software - Windows: Windows is the poor man out (big surprise). I use Acronis True Image. It's not nearly as convenient as SuperDuper, but you can create a full backup and then weekly create Incremental backups. Not as convenient but it's easy enough to mean I never lose more than a week of stuff.

So if you read this blog and your backup is more than a week old - you know your homework. You don't have to use this software, but you have to use something.

technorati tags:,

Blogged with Flock