Friday, 22 February, 2008

Backup without hassles

Everyone knows they have to back up their work. Nearly everyone has lost some data from drive or computer failure. Almost no one makes backups, or at least not often enough to make a difference. And when you really need a backup, the latest one is usually the only one of value. And mostly if its over a week old, its useless.

I've been in this as well and have somehow managed to find one possible solution. This is 'a' solution not 'the' solution. And I've been using it for a few months now.

Lacie Silverkeeper

It ships with every LaCie hard disk on a CD. But you can download it at the link above. And its free.

Very simple to use. Just decide which folder should be backed up. To where it has to be backed up - usually a Firewire or USB hard disk. And make a schedule for the back up. Mine is 9 am every day. Yes, every single day.

On the first day, it takes a while because all the stuff on the folder you specify is copied to the target. The next day and thereafter, only files that have changed are copied and overwritten. Overwritten, remember.

Files you delete from the folder you're backing up are deleted off the backup as well. So the backup is always an exact clone of the original. You can change this delete behaviour with one setting 'Never remove files'. I've done that. And you can specify excluded items. So I've marked 'Documents' for backup, but excluded 'Final Cut Pro Documents' from the backup.

You can decide to make multiple copies. So it you set that to 5, Silverkeeper will back up and make a new set each day, but keep 5 sets, deleting the next oldest one in rotation. I've not used this option.

Besides backing up data, a good backup solution should also help in restoring backed up data. I had occasion to test that. When I upgraded my MacBook Pro to Leopard I did 'Erase and Install'. So I lost everything - photos, music, videos, documents, Mail, FCP projects.

After Leopard installed, I just connected my backup drive and copied the backup folders in their appropriate places, and had my old MacBook back. I chose to do this manually as I wanted to pick and choose what I wanted back. Great way to get rid of clutter. But there's also a restore option that does this for you.

Very simply, LaCie Silverkeeper works. At their site LaCie say it works with Tiger up to 10.4.11, but not with Leopard. I'm using it with Leopard on my laptop. Seems to work. But then Leopard has Time Machine. I've yet to try that.

Silverkeeper only works on a Mac. For Windows, there's 1-Click also free and from LaCie. This too is on the CD that comes with every laCie drive.

Western Digital also ship backup software with their drives. I tried it
once, but I must confess I didn't give it much time since I was already using Silverkeeper and it worked for me.

Again, backup is important, everyone knows that. With Silverkeeper, the excuses to not backup just reduced by one.

Now to look for a great software to remove duplicates all over one's hard disk...

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