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Summary:

Regular backups of important data are crucial to ensure that if the worst happens, one can get back up and running quickly; but you already knew that. The big question is, how do you do it? Backup strategies are as varied as the personalities of the […]

Regular backups of important data are crucial to ensure that if the worst happens, one can get back up and running quickly; but you already knew that. The big question is, how do you do it? Backup strategies are as varied as the personalities of the people who created them, ranging from strict daily backups onto rotating tape drives, to the occasional backup on to an external drive when the user remembers. In an effort to help our readers, and ourselves, ensure the safety of our important data, we pose this question to you: What is your backup strategy? Respond in the comments, and after two weeks, I will go through and and weed out the juicy bits of information contained within your responses, and post a breakdown of how you, our readers, keep their data safe. Think of this as a kind of poll, but feel free to post and tips or tricks you might have.

As for me, I backup my PowerBook using Carbon Copy Cloner onto two rotating external drives; one USB 2.0, and one FireWire. This way, I can never lose more than a weeks worth of work.

  1. I backup Home daily to my iPod using Synk.

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  2. My office uses Retrospect to back up users’ Home folders daily to an external firewire drive. Every 3 weeks or so, I copy the data to another firewire drive and take the backup of the backup offsite.

    At home, I copy data between my two Macs, and some data onto my iPod. I’ve just strated using iBackup. http://www.grapefruit.ch/iBackup/

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  3. On my work we run NetVault from bakbone private i use rsync to sync my pb daily this saves alot of backup time as rsync will only take the new or modified files

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  4. My backup scheme is designed to be inexpensive. I have a built-in Superdrive, so the only cost is a few packages of DVD+RW.

    Twice a week, I burn an encrypted disk image of my Home folder to DVD. (It’s rather large, with photos and movies.) I store one of the weekly DVD’s off-site, the other with the computer. Eventually, when I run out of DVD’s, I re-use some of the old ones, but I always keep an archive of at least one disk a month.

    For a few important files, including current projects that I update frequently, I also store them on the web. I formerly used a webmail folder, but now I have a secure web storage area with a versioning system.

    For files that are too large to fit on a DVD, such as iMovie projects, I firewire transfer a copy to my girlfriend’s computer.

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  5. i’ve never backed up anything. i use my ipod for espically important documents, cept it’s broken 3 times and i’ve had to erase the ipod hd, so that doesn’t really count

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  6. I use SUPERDUPER to backup my entire drive to an external Maxtor firewire drive. A wonderful program!. If registered, you can make incremental backups to update only what’s changed since the last update. That makes it really fast, instead of doing the entire drive, which takes a substantial length of time for my 120 Gig iMac drive.

    I have a large music collection (48 gigs) that I also backup to DVD periodically from a smart playlist in addition to the firewire backup. The same goes for my iPhoto library and video files. Less often, I will backup to DVD my important files in the HOME folder and those apps that aren’t apple apps.

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  7. I also use SuperDuper to an external hd– and I’ve moved my music to another (smaller) external hd since music is backed up by the ipod & so there’s no need to make a third copy of it.

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  8. I had none prior to today, but with the release of Backup 3 (for .Mac users) I decided to give it a go.

    It’s straightforward and fairly flexible. It has incremental backups (so additional backup sets need only be as large as the change from the previous set) All it needs is the ability to resolve Smart Folders (so the file selection can get more nuanced) to be stellar.

    Still, I and my girlfriend back up our Home folders to an external drive (once a day, automatically) and the iTunes library that sits on the external drive backs up to the main internal hard drive once a week. Either hard drive can fail and we’ll be fine!

    -RS

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  9. I have most of my data on my linux desktop, but have photos on my powerbook that need backing up. Basically, I back up each machine to each other. I wrote a shell script that I run whenever I connect my laptop to my home network (usually daily), which does a ton of stuff like start a vnc server on the laptop and connect to it with x2vnc. In addition, it starts rsync jobs between both machines. Works fairly well, but there’s no versioning, and it was a bit of a pain to setup.

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  10. I use SoftRAID on two 250 GB drives (on a PowerMac), with two volumes: A small one in stripe mode for scratch space (doesn’t get backed up), and the large startup volume in mirror mode.

    In addition, I use the MacOS X command-line utility “asr” to make bootable backups (of the main Volume) to FireWire drives, and a incrementally update those using “rsync”. I back up some other smaller machines by rsync-ing their contents to a directory on the mirrored volume.

    So far so good, though I’ll probably have to increase the capacity of the mirrored volume in a year or so.

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