Backup’s are very important. You only cherish and miss your digital data once it is gone, and it is very hard to replace the data when you have lost it. Many people don’t backup, which is a shame because it is really easy, cheap and something that you only have to do once a week. There are many automated tools built into your Mac that can backup your data. I am going to show you how you can do this effectively.
Using Time Machine
Time Machine is one of the best tools your Mac has to offer. I think any of the other innovations pale in comparison to the usefulness and simplicity of Time Machine. Time Machine is also easy to use.
To get Time Machine working, open up System Preferences located in your Applications folder, select the Time Machine option. Then, using the select disk option, select your hard drive you want to back up your data to. I will get into hard drives in a moment. Then press the switch to on. Nothing is easier. Your Mac will start grinding through you data and copying it across to your external hard drive.
Now every time you want to access your data, you simply select the option from your menu bar. It will then take you back and find the data your need. With the added integration with other applications, this is even easier.
Setting up Time Machine is easy. However, we need to back this data on to something that is not connected to our Mac. You can use an internal hard drive, if you have the space. Although I prefer external.
Time Capsule, by Apple is an external hard drive. It connects to your Mac through your Wireless orWired network. It has a hard drive in side that will record all of the data needed for backing up the Mac’s in your house. It is Apple’s easy to use and simple to install interface for getting Time Machine to work.
Time capsule is great for people who are not technically proficient, or want a simple and elegant solution. However, this little box is just a hard drive and a a circuit board to connect it to your network. We have cheaper routes, such as an external USB hard drive, or a network attached storage, both of which do the same thing, but cheaper.
External USB Hard Drive
Backing up your data to an external hard drive, via USB, has become very common. The premise is simple. You get a hard drive to dump your data on, attached it to your USB port, set up Time Machine, job is done. For example you can pick a Western Digital external hard drive for less than a $100. Is the price of losing all of those family pictures, work documents and other files work less than $100. Like the time capsule, you plug the drive in, then set up time machine. All you have to do is plug the drive in every week and it will backup all of your data.
If you find you are using this solution a lot, I recommend you upgrade the connection and go for a thunder bolt external hard drive. These are faster to work with due to the connection and allow you to find and move files a lot quicker between them. You do need a thunderbolt enabled Mac, although these are all present on the latest couple of model iterations.
Network Attached Storage
Network Attached Storage, or NAS is a method of placing a storage solution, such as a hard drive, directly onto a network. Its slightly more complex in terms of hard ware, however they are just as simple to set up as any device listed. With this method you attached a hard drive like you would do with a USB cable, but you connect it to your network. This means you don’t have to have the drive connected to your computer, it can be with all your network equipment. It also has the advantage of having every one on your network, such as family members, access it. Time Capsule is network attached storage.
NAS solution come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. For a home network I recommend a Western Digital NAS, they come in a variety of different storage solution sizes. The advantage of NAS equipment is that you can also separate out the partition within the drive so you can place other files and photos on there. This means you can easily share your images, documents and movies with other people on your home network. You will find with a NAS is that you will start filling it up and soon have to upgrade.
Other Backup Tools
There are other tools out there for backing up. For example Disk Utility can create a full disk image onto an external media. Carbon Copy Cloner can achieve similar results. Smart Backup on the app store can achieve the same thing. In my opinion they don’t have the power or usefulness of Time Machine and some external media.