How do you guys backup your hard drives?

by Dexx
64 replies
Hey All,

So I had a minor heart attack when my laptop blue screened on me today (Vista 64...ya I prob deserve it)

But it got me thinking...I'd be traumatized if I ever lost either my desktop or laptop computer (theft, virus, hardware failure etc)

due to all the files on them...

Sure I backup files BETWEEN my two computers...but really...the buck ends there!

So I've decided to look into online services etc. that I can backup both my PC and Laptop files too should I ever suffer a horrible incident such as above!

Anyone have recommendations for services they use?

Preferably something simple that I just download software to my computers and it backs up all my documents, powerpoints, etc. for me

Cheers!

PS - I'm considering Carbonite.com [http://www.carbonite.com/] (not aff link) anyone used it?
#backup #drives #guys #hard
  • Profile picture of the author SEOArbiter
    I haven't used Carbonite.

    However, I can recommend SugarSync and IBackup. The only problem with sugarsync is that it doesn't run as a service in the background. You have to make sure it's running in the background and in the tray.

    For offline backup, I'd recommend buying an extrernal usb drive, set it up next to yoru computer, and it will appear as a drive in your system. They're very fast and work great, and you can get 500GB or so for fairly cheap.

    Just make sure to setup a backup to just sync your entire drive to the external drive.

    So, if disaster strikes, you can first copy from your external drive, which is very fast. If something local happen, you have the off site backup.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lawrh
    If you are looking to just backup documents and work files, then try Dropbox.

    https://www.getdropbox.com/

    The free service gives 2 gigs of space, paid 100 gigs.
    Dropbox works as a file synchronization service as well. You have a folder on
    your computer and the files are auto uploaded and synced to whatever other machines have the Dropbox client installed. So your workstation and your laptop will always have the same work files. This also means redundant
    backups, which is good. Also excellent for collaboration and sharing of files.

    Lawrence
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  • Profile picture of the author Dexx
    Ooo dropbox sounds perfect!! I'll check it out! Thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author DougBarger
    Hi Dexx, I am using Carbonite currently to back up 2 computers and I really like it.

    It takes awhile before it backs up everything on the very first backup, but then after the first one, does the backups much more quickly.

    It has a little circle that appears on each of your file's icons so you'll be able to see
    what's already backed up as you go.

    So far, so good. No complaints. Enjoy the peace of mind.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dexx
    Hey Doug thnx for the feedback, how does Carbonite handle duplicate files on two computers? (i.e. my product and client files on both my PC / Laptop) does it realize they are the same file?

    Will it be filled with duplicate files then? Dropbox does seem appealing in the fact that I could just have both computers access the same shared folder that is also backed up online...

    What made you choose Carbonite vs a service like Dropbox?
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    • Profile picture of the author DougBarger
      Originally Posted by Dexx View Post

      Hey Doug thnx for the feedback, how does Carbonite handle duplicate files on two computers? (i.e. my product and client files on both my PC / Laptop) does it realize they are the same file?

      Will it be filled with duplicate files then? Dropbox does seem appealing in the fact that I could just have both computers access the same shared folder that is also backed up online...

      What made you choose Carbonite vs a service like Dropbox?
      Hi Dexx,

      To answer the question, I didn't choose Carbonite vs Dropbox because I've used both, just for different purposes.

      With the Dropbox, I've been using it to exchange files with others specific to only us.

      For a hypothetical example, a Dexx and Doug file would be one where we share and store files between each other so that both can access all of them in that space.

      With the Carbonite, I've been using it for backing up hard drives.

      Just helps me to organize the use of them that way.
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  • Profile picture of the author Isaac Bennett
    yeah dude, dropbox is really really cool. ANd for a small fee they offer you unlimited backup, even for files that you have deleted!!! So say another guy collaborating with you deleted a file that you wanted, it can be retrieve on-the-fly!

    But of course, for peace of mind, offline backup is a must. i use time machine with a wireless Time Capsule hard drive so my data is incrementally backed up at set intervals without me having to do anything. Add to that a chronological back up of files and you have a great way to do projects while being able to go back and retrieve a version of your work that is currently written over. Try it!
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  • Profile picture of the author BillyBee
    I LOVE Carbonite. Works great and it's super cheap. Something like $50 for a year.

    I never worry about backing stuff up now. And I DID have to use it once when my computer crashed a year or two ago. When I got my computer, it did take a fairly long time to download ALL my files, but they all came through. Took something like 3 days for every last file to come back to me, but they all came back.
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    • Profile picture of the author ernesth
      Banned
      [DELETED]
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      • Profile picture of the author Jag82
        Originally Posted by ernesth View Post

        It's probably an idiotic thing to do, but I don't back up my hard drives.

        If there's a specific website or file I need to back up, I email it to myself. Otherwise, I don't back up at all. My web files are always hosted on a server somewhere... so those aren't an issue.

        Of course, I've never had a HD fail on me... so once it does I'm sure I'll be singing a different tune.

        Once you do...you will probably cry. And curse like hell.

        Nowadays with free tools that will automate your backup,
        you really have no reason not to do it.

        What's the value of your information on your hard disk?
        Can you imagine how much time you will have waste to
        just to recover lost info? What is your opportunity cost?

        What's the impact on your business?

        You will do well not to procrastinate and backup - right now.

        Best,
        Jag
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  • Profile picture of the author Jag82
    Originally Posted by Dexx View Post

    Hey All,

    So I had a minor heart attack when my laptop blue screened on me today (Vista 64...ya I prob deserve it)

    But it got me thinking...I'd be traumatized if I ever lost either my desktop or laptop computer (theft, virus, hardware failure etc)

    due to all the files on them...

    Sure I backup files BETWEEN my two computers...but really...the buck ends there!

    So I've decided to look into online services etc. that I can backup both my PC and Laptop files too should I ever suffer a horrible incident such as above!

    Anyone have recommendations for services they use?

    Preferably something simple that I just download software to my computers and it backs up all my documents, powerpoints, etc. for me

    Cheers!

    PS - I'm considering Carbonite.com []Online Backup Service: Outlook Backup, Data Backup (not aff link) anyone used it?


    Dexx,

    I suffered two hard disk failures before,
    so I know how you feel.


    If you are already backing up with your own external
    hard disk drive, don't stop.

    Ensure your hard disk space is big enough to
    contain everything.

    I get the 1 terabyte hard disk drive from Seagate, which
    is more than enough for me.

    Schedule it to run automatically everyday so it's hands off
    for you.


    There's a tool that does this nicely for you on full autopilot:
    Karen's Replicator

    I prefer this over online services because
    the process is much faster. And I feel safe
    having my data in my hard disk nearby.


    If you backup everyday...or every few days...
    in the event of a breakdown, your losses will be
    minimal. At least it will not shatter your business.

    NOW...even in the event you really lose some data,
    there is such a thing as data recovery. There
    are data recovery software and services out there.

    So...there's always a way. But the last thing you
    want to do in such events is to panic. Remember,
    there's always a solution.

    Hope this helps.

    Warmly,
    Jag
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  • Profile picture of the author rosterling
    I use Carbonite. It drove me crazy waiting for the initial back up to be completed though. It took about 16 days, but that's the way they do it. If you do decide to buy it, make sure you do a search for "carbonite offer code" and get a discount coupon first. You can find 20% off coupon codes online.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dexx
    Thanks Jag!

    I really like Dropbox (the video on the main page was great and just what I need) unfortunately Carbonite doesnt allow for downloading files from the web server (should I need a file while on the go) and Dropbox does.

    I will be doing the Dropbox route and backing up info also on an external HD:

    SEAGATE 1TB FreeAgent? Desk External Hard Drive, USB 2.0, Bilingual at Memory Express Computers


    Thanks everyone!
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  • Profile picture of the author Eric Graudins
    The disadvantage of a file by file backup is that you'll have to reinatall all your operating system and all programs if your hard drive fails.

    I use a Seagate 320 gig pocket USB drive, and Acronis True Image software.

    This creates a disk image, which can easily be used to to a complete restore of a failed hard disk - programs, operating system, everything - on to a new hard drive.
    (What's cool about True Image is that you can also access the individual files withing the image backup)

    @ Dexx:
    A friend of mine didn't think an external backup was needed for her 3 computers, because they were all backed up on each other.

    She changed her mind when all 3 of her computers were stolen, and she lost years of work, photos, and financial records.
    Heartbreaking.

    cheers,
    Eric G.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jag82
      Originally Posted by Eric Graudins View Post

      She changed her mind when all 3 of her computers were stolen, and she lost years of work, photos, and financial records.
      Heartbreaking.
      Heartbreaking indeed. Devastated!

      Sadly, sometimes it takes such an event to make
      someone realize just how important backing up is.
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  • Profile picture of the author pcpupil
    I have and use a Seagate external hard drive.
    Bought it at an electronics discount store.59 or 79 dollars or something.
    I wouldnt put to much trust in any online source nowadays.
    If they dont crash or burn,some disgruntled employee can steal and sell your files.
    Especially if there getting fired or laid off in this economy.
    It has been done before.
    Matt
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  • Profile picture of the author Dexx
    Oh for sure Eric!

    Though with that in mind...an external HD could also get stolen at the same time!

    Which is why I want it to be backed up online as well (which I think Dropbox will do great for)

    Never heard of this true image software...does it come with all Seagates external HD?
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    • Profile picture of the author Eric Graudins
      Originally Posted by Dexx View Post

      Oh for sure Eric!

      Though with that in mind...an external HD could also get stolen at the same time!

      Which is why I want it to be backed up online as well (which I think Dropbox will do great for)

      Never heard of this true image software...does it come with all Seagates external HD?
      The idea is that your external drive is stored at a different location to your computers. that way, even if your house/office gets totally burned down, you have a copy of your data available elsewhere.
      (the best system is to have 2 external drives, and rotate them.)

      True Image is a seperate program that you purchase. It's far superior to the basic software that comes with Windows, or supplied by a disk manufacturer.

      with an image based backup you can be up and running again within a couple of hours after a hard drive failure. With a file based backup, it could take a day or two to totally restore your computer - that is - if you can find all the program disks, and the passwords that go with them.

      cheers,
      Eric G.
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    • Profile picture of the author andrewm
      Dexx,

      If you use host gator you can setup a disk directly on your desktop and copy you data directly to their server. Most of us are already using host gator for our hosting so this service comes with no additional charges.

      No need to worry about your os and other programs because you can easily reinstall if your system crashes.

      Andrew

      Originally Posted by Dexx View Post

      Oh for sure Eric!

      Though with that in mind...an external HD could also get stolen at the same time!

      Which is why I want it to be backed up online as well (which I think Dropbox will do great for)

      Never heard of this true image software...does it come with all Seagates external HD?
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  • Profile picture of the author SirLucius
    I use SugarSync and an external Western Digital hard drive.
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  • Profile picture of the author intromaster
    I dont backup everything, just my most important files (photos, documents, websites, etc) so all I need is a couple of DVDs. I backup to a DVD and store them in a safe place. Easy and inexpensive.
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  • Profile picture of the author SageSound
    Well, if you're enjoying reading through all of these posts and wondering how freaking complicated and confusing it can be, and how long it will take, here's a really simple 3-step process:

    Step #1 - Get a Mac

    Step #2 - Get an external USB drive

    Step #3 - Enable Time machine.

    That's it!

    BTW, people are always getting this BACKWARDS...

    The problem is NOT "backing up". Even if you DO back-up regularly, the problem is RESTORING stuff.

    I ran out of hard disk space on my iMac and decided to replace the drive. I shut everything down, replaced the drive with a brand new unformatted 1TB drive, booted from the OS X Installation CD, told it to restore my drive from Time Machine, and 4 hours later I had 800GB more free space than I had before I started! Everything else was EXACTLY THE SAME! (Well, not completely true -- it shed about 20GB of useless files in the process.)

    I've been working with PCs since DOS 2.11. In all that time, I've NEVER seen a system that's as simple and fool-proof as how Time Machine works on the Mac. Yet, I have seen dozens of people with months of daily backups made with every conceivable backup utility be totally unable to restore a single one of them.

    -David

    PS: if it takes 16 hrs to backup to an online service, how long will it take to RESTORE your drive? And ... how do you connect to the online service from a brand new unformatted drive?
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  • Profile picture of the author mill123
    ive got 2 external drives as backups. they run a script nightly every night! can't be too carefull!
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  • Profile picture of the author Kim Standerline
    I just signed up for Dropbox as well, sounds super cool

    Thanks for the tip

    Kim
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  • Profile picture of the author SageSound
    Please ... can somebody using all of these services tell me ...

    How long does it take you (or do you THINK it will take) to restore a fried hard drive?
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  • Profile picture of the author edesimusic
    acronis image maker is the best for taking backup
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  • Profile picture of the author Catalin Ionescu
    Thanks to you guys I've now taken action and ordered a 1TB Seagate external hard drive for less than $100. This is something I've meant to do for months now, but kept procrastinating...

    So thanks again for bringing it back to my attention and pushing me to do it :-)
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    • Profile picture of the author edhan
      I am using external 1 TB USB Drive to backup all my computers with Acronis TrueImage Backup.

      I create backup for the entire O/S and files for the first time and thereafter, I just backup the newer files as my system files grow. If I install new software, then I will do entire O/S backup again.

      For files, I do daily, weekly and monthly backup.

      Better be safe than sorry.
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      • Profile picture of the author Ghalt
        I use Carbonite.

        If you use it, be aware that it can slow your system down. However, it is configurable...I now have it set so that it isn't doing the backups 'real-time' all the time...only overnight.

        I haven't had to restore from it yet, but I don't doubt that it's simple.

        I don't have to think about it, or remember or schedule some backup...it is all done in the background automatically.

        It's only like $50 per year or so...it was a no-brainer for me.
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  • Profile picture of the author RobertAxelsen
    I personally use Google Documents for documents I am afraid of loosing. You can create/edit/store all sorts of documents from word to excel and powerpoint.

    http://docs.google.com/

    It is also great in the sense that you can access it from anywhere with an internet access.
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  • Profile picture of the author TomBond
    I use Mesh - https://www.mesh.com/welcome/default.aspx

    You get 2GB's free which is more than enough for all my business documents at the moment. I've never had any problems with it
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  • Profile picture of the author diverdown
    We use Carbonite for all our PC's, Mac's and laptops at the office - great product wonderful support and it beats that sick feeling you get when the laptop fries.... this happened to me six months ago on a business trip .... I had three bets launches I had been working on while on the trip ~ I wanted to surprise my business partner with them on my return (no backup of course) and I melted down on the return flight ..... never again - I can not recomend the comfort of having an offline redundant backup outside the home and office. never a concern of fire, water damage or other catestrophic event putting me out of business.

    Good luck and have a wonderful day
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    • Profile picture of the author Wakunahum
      I have the usual external hard drive and usb sticks to back up important files.

      As a precaution I will use a usb or micro SD with the most important files kept in another location.

      Realistically I only have like 4gig of MUST HAVE files so the online service isn't for me yet.
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  • Profile picture of the author Andrew Mak
    my external drive die last week with very important company data inside, i have tried many software to recover it but still failed, so i went to computer shop and surprisingly they bring everything back at just USD40. i have a quick look on their computer screen and saw symantic ghost, i think this is the secret weapon....

    now i brought a maxtor shared storage 320GB to backup everything, not install yet and i will report here if it work great

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  • Profile picture of the author ktmurf
    I just use a networked external harddrive. Every day or couple of days I just re-drag & drop what I've recently worked on and it insta-saves a copy of it for future use on any PC, etc.

    I also keep a 16G thumb-drive in my laptop bag to make backups of vital files while away from the home network.

    With the current prices on computer hardware as low as they are, this was a no brainer for me.
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    • Profile picture of the author Intrepreneur
      Never be without acronis TrueImage it's the ultimate backup solution. Can't be beaten.
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  • ...can anyone recommend a service to repair (dropped) external hard drives?
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  • Profile picture of the author AnniePot
    My husband and I both back up our work on additional, internal hard drives using Casper disk cloning, backing up every night. My husband's drive C crashed a year or so ago and all he needed to do was switch to the other hard drive and in business again almost immediately.
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    • Profile picture of the author TerrieS
      With tons of video files from the last 10 years, and with thousands of pictures of my 9 children, I also wanted to find an online storage solution before I lost everything, but I didn't want one that just watched for changes on my hard drive.

      I finally found a site that has unlimited storage for $19 per year, $15 per year if you pay through Paypal. The storage is accessed as a virtual drive on your hard drive. It was a bit tricky to set up, but if I can figure it out, anyone can. Once it's set up, it very convenient, and you can't beat the price.

      Here is the site:

      http://www.onlinestoragesolution.com/ (Not an affiliate link)
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  • Profile picture of the author paulie888
    I really don't like "cloud" third party back up solutions where you're at the mercy of some data center thousands of miles away. If you had mission critical work on your computer I don't think that would be the way to go.

    A simple and elegant solution is PogoPlug, it is a networked drive (or drives, you can plug in up to 4) that can be accessed from anywhere on the net. It's similar to these online solutions, but the difference is that you OWN your hard drive and it is sitting at home for you to access locally in the event that anything screws up.
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  • Profile picture of the author Traffic_Is_King
    I have been using a service called Jungle Disk to back my files up. Works similar to Carbonite but a little cheaper. It allows you to sync files across multipe computers and it can use rackspace or amazon s3 (your preference) and the cloud server to store your data. You also have access to your files over the web if you need them when your travel. If any of you guys have used it i would like to know what you think of it also.
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    • Profile picture of the author Silas Hart
      I do just about everything through a 1 TB Portable Hard drive I bought for $100 at a local store on sale. I take it everywhere I go.
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    • Profile picture of the author lanta99
      Originally Posted by Traffic_Is_King View Post

      I have been using a service called Jungle Disk to back my files up. Works similar to Carbonite but a little cheaper. It allows you to sync files across multipe computers and it can use rackspace or amazon s3 (your preference) and the cloud server to store your data. You also have access to your files over the web if you need them when your travel. If any of you guys have used it i would like to know what you think of it also.
      Yeah!

      Finally someone who talks about s3!

      Anyways, I would really recommend using Amazon S3 because of its pay as you go plan pricing. So if you just use a few gigs then you only pay a few cents per month.

      Oh and if you double check the TOS of all those "unlimited" online backups there's going to be a fair use policy which restricts the amount of resources you take up...and I'm pretty sure they have a file size limit too.

      Oh and one more thing. Amazon S3 data is distributed globally so employees don't get access to S3 data and your information won't be stolen

      ~George
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  • Profile picture of the author Roger Santos
    I have a hostgator account with unlimited drive space and just upload through ftp any documents I need backed up.

    I also use it for all my domains and it's less than twenty bucks a month.

    They do daily backups of the servers so I don't worry about it too much.
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    • Profile picture of the author ktmurf
      I use my FTPs for easy transfers because I'm always forgetting my thumb drives or cds everytime I plan on taking them. I should probably consider using it as my backup too though. Offsite backup is pretty special.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rob Whisonant
    Well since I use Ubuntu Linux on all of our computers it is very easy. I just setup a folder for each computer on one of my hosting accounts (above the public_html folder so it can't be accessed by a web browser) and set rsync to run once a day on each computer to mirror each computer. Works great!

    Re's
    Rob Whisonant
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    • Profile picture of the author trytolearnmore
      I copy all files to a separate computer) pretty comfortable
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  • Profile picture of the author arnoldsmithh
    Well i have purchased a usb device ok 16 GB. I always update it every week to create back up for me.
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  • Profile picture of the author mr2020
    Hey mate,

    I just started using getdropbox.com and LOVE IT.

    Free 2 gigs, automatically synced across all my computers, good stuff!

    Mr Twenty Twenty
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  • Profile picture of the author trishworks4u
    I almost lost everything back in June and then signed up for Mozy. Online backup - automatic when your system is dormant.

    My laptop crashed (again) in Oct and they were complete morons with their support. Took a whole week to get my files restored on my spare laptop. No phone support at all - it's all done IM/chat.

    I'll check out some of these other services when this one expires. I can't be trusted to do it manually.
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  • Profile picture of the author clsimpson88
    I don't know about stuff online, but wouldn't it be better to have another hard copy- a terabite memory size of an external hardrive perhaps if you have a lot-some reasonable price on ebay xx
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  • Profile picture of the author flaminjo
    i am not exactly using any service, i have been using Western Digital Hard Disk Drive. it has a capacity of 1TB and i bought it during my last trip to South Africa, i back up all my files into it. and coz i travel a lot, it has really made my life pretty easy and my data safe!
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  • Profile picture of the author MrMonetize
    Not sure if its been mentioned but Im on a Mac and use Time Machine which mirrors my drive with an external harddrive so I always have a backup copy. I also backup my most important files onto USB and some are in the cloud. Losing data can cause your business a lot of grief so its best to have something in place instead of waiting until a disaster.
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris_Willow
    I'm just using the built-in TimeMachine feature of osx.
    The great thing about it is hourly backups, so if anything goes wrong, you get the most recent version. It keeps hourly backups for a day, daily backups for a week and one backup for all months
    No expensive software needed

    Dexx,

    If you use host gator you can setup a disk directly on your desktop and copy you data directly to their server. Most of us are already using host gator for our hosting so this service comes with no additional charges.

    No need to worry about your os and other programs because you can easily reinstall if your system crashes.

    Andrew
    Hostgator prohibits the use of their servers for file storage, or am I missing something?
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    • Profile picture of the author MrMonetize
      Originally Posted by Chris_Willow View Post

      I'm just using the built-in TimeMachine feature of osx.
      The great thing about it is hourly backups, so if anything goes wrong, you get the most recent version. It keeps hourly backups for a day, daily backups for a week and one backup for all months
      No expensive software needed
      Yea its a wicked feature of OSX, so much so that I never worry about backups really unless its something really important and I'll create a third backup.

      I run the majority of my business from a 32GB USB stick anyway that is encrypted, and just remove it on a night. I use this - TrueCrypt.org
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  • Profile picture of the author Steven Miranda
    Online Data Backup - Offsite, Onsite, & Cloud - CrashPlan Backup Software

    I have used them for many years now and they are by far the best solution. Cross platform (windows, mac , linux) and they can backup to local external drives, social backup and online backup...or all 3! It is the ultimate in backup solutions.

    I'm not affiliate or anything.. just a long time user.
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  • Profile picture of the author lalit657
    simple just buy an external hard hard disk and store all your important data and softwares into it so that you can use it wherever you want and its a safe too.....
    Signature

    If you're going to tell members to check your signature, this is what they'll see.

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  • Profile picture of the author zacsmith
    Also on a Mac for our small home office network (3 Macs and a Snow Leopard server) with multiple layers of backup:

    1. Time Machine to an external drive for the system drive.
    2. Retrospect Backup Enterprise Edition (cheap on ebay) grabs each Mac as well, just in case the TM drive fails. I don't like Retrospect because of the sometimes-difficulty in retrieving files.
    3. Four project drives, each one has it's own identical backup drive. SuperDuper! copies each project drive to backup twice a day, using the "add new" function (so I can preserver previous versions).

    This provides easily-accessible backups to get back in gear quickly. Then:

    4. Script uploads new/revised files to my S3 account each night. I current have a couple of TBs there, as also use S3 for archival storage.
    5. About once a month I copy completed projects to two DVDs, one of which is stored off-site.

    Paranoid? Yes. Last time a project drive failed, I had no backup, and I was nearly out of commission ten days and $1,500 while waiting for the recovery service to (successfully!) do their work, plus remaking many files and the associated delivery delays for my clients, to keep the critical work flowing. Never again!

    gary
    Signature
    Gary Smith, Partner, Wells-Smith Partners
    Your Employee Handbook Personnel Policies for Small Businesses
    Eliminate the barriers to a successful life: How to Create a Happier Life
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  • Profile picture of the author DylanC
    I use an external hard drive. Once in a while, I will just copy the important files over with the dates labelled. Not really a backup of the computer but is good enough for my needs.
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