You can back EVERYTHING up, but SHOULD you?

Over the years I (and others) have experience the horrible feeling of pressing the power button on a machine and seeing or hearing nothing.

In the last few years, Apple has done a number of things to improve and simplify the use of a backup solution (Time Machine built into Leopard). The best use of this is to buy a new Mac, but an external drive and start the two machines online at the same time.

Time Machine does a complete backup of the Mac and then about every hour the system looks for changes (new email, new music, whatever) and backs up those changes. Additional items just continue to roll until the drive is full and begins to roll out the oldest files (usually 3-6 months after one starts the process). After the initial backup, the backups only take a couple of minutes and are unnoticeable to the end user – elegant and simple. Best is that the only thing the user needs to do is “turn on/turn off”.

There is one issue with this solution. Fire in your home, the drive and the PC are in the same place – both are gone along with all your data, music, pictures, business info…

My wife has considered this again as her business grows and changes. She just downloaded backblaze and is running a backup of her info online. The backup is close to 250GB and will take the better part of 1 week (non-stop). CRAZY! This may be needed for some, but personally I take the key data (invoices and billing reports along with backups of the software) and run backups to Mozy and Sugarsync (with much less data, but backups only taking 30-60 seconds).

If you are looking for a good backup strategy, take a look at what is important to you – know where it “lives” on your computer and then do a check to see about how much data you need to put online or on a CD/DVD/External USB Drive.

What do you have that can be kept at another location (archive you pictures 2-4 times/year) and leave them with your parents or in a safe-deposit box or fireproof MEDIA box. Questions, let me know. Suggestions, please share!

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