Backup’s are very important. You should always have more than one backup if you are serious about making sure your data stays in one piece. Its ok backing them up to disk but what happens if you lost that disk or it doesn’t work. This post will hopefully explain some of the different ways in which you can back up your data. I recommend you pick two different options to make sure you don’t lose everything.
1) Time Machine
The first option you should have in place (I think by default) is Time Machine, you are given the option of data backup service installed by default so I recommend you use it. In essence Time Machine will backup files all of your file on your disk. Then as you change files and add files Time Machine will add them to the backup. This way you can go back in time and view how a file has changed as you have worked on it, you can pick a file from a specific period and restore it as necessary.
I think Time Machine is a great consumer backup system. Its simple to use, works and allows me to pick and choose files I want to restore. I have only used it a couple of times when I have wanted to restore a file, but it was a life saver when it was there. You do need a second hard disk for it to work effectively which is an added cost, however hard drives are getting cheaper all of the time. If you want to read more about using Time Machine read the Noob2Pro post I did a while ago.
Time Machine isn’t a proper backup tool, in that it doesn’t backup system files. If you ever do a full system restore it combines it with a fresh install from your installation disk. As a result you can’t make full backups to take a machine to a certain point and use this disk on a second computer. This is where option number two comes in.
2) Disk Cloners
There are a variety of disk cloners out there on the market. In essence they copy the entire contents of you disk and place it on a second drive. This enables you to quickly restore a backup by plugging the hard drive into your Mac or copying the DVD’s contents onto a your Mac. The advantage of this is that you can create a bootable backup, so you can boot directly from the back up. You can’t do this with Time Machine or other similar software.
There are two decent pieces of software out there which you can use for this sort of thing. SuperDuper and Carbon Copy Cloner. They are very similar in the feature set. If you want to look into this type of back up software take a look at the feature set and try the pieces of software out. I prefer the Time Machine backup as it is a lot simpler. I don’t need to have a lot of full backups. I just need to keep my personal files intact.
3) Online Backup
I mentioned in the opening paragraph that you ideally need two types of backup. The second option I prefer is an online backup. The reason for this is that it acts as an off site backup. The best backup systems are ones where the first backup is next to your computer for easy access, then a second off site to protect against fire, theft etc. This is where online backups come into play.
There are a variety of different online backup systems. Most do the same basic thing. You upload the files to there server, you let them sit around, then when you need them you re-download them. There are lots of different options which such as using Amazon file cloud or a dedicated service which works on the same level. One service I have been trying out over the last couple of days is Backblaze. Its cheap, offers a lot of space and works well. If you want a second method which is cheap and reliable the online method would probably work well, there are plenty around so have a quick google and see what you can find.
Hopefully I have opened your eyes to different ways you can backup your files. The automated methods which I have listed are the best, this is because you don’t need to think about backing up every day, it does it automatically. You can of course burn files to disk using a DVD burner and select the files you want. This however needs a lot of disks and it takes a lot of time (plus burnable DVD’s break down and become useless after a while). Using hard drives, I think, is more valuable for money.
If you have any more methods which you use to backup please leave a comment below.