An External Hard Drive is not a Backup…

Posted by Jan Vantomme on 31 March 2009.

However, I’ve heard you can use them to back up your files. But you can also use them to archive files. And that’s what most graphic design professionals and students I know do. They work on laptops, attach their external hard drive once in two weeks and move the projects they finished to have some extra free space on their laptop.

Having an archive is good, but it won’t save your work when the internal drive of your computer goes down. I’ve met somebody who lost all his emails from the past 5 years. The hard drive of his iMac crashed and couldn’t be repaired. He did have a small archive of his work, but he did not have a good backup…

I did some consulting on backup systems a while ago and I want to share some thoughts on the matter. Here’s a small guide to backup your mac and save your work when your hard drive fails. Creating a good backup is not difficult and won’t take you lot of time. Your computer is able to do the hard work for you.

Step 1: Clone your Internal Drives

Buy an external drive for each internal drive in you computer. Make a bootable copy of your internal drives each day. You can use Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! for this task. Both do an excellent job and if you set up a daily schedule, you won’t have to remember to backup anymore. The software will do this for you.

Step 2: Use Time Machine

Mac OS X Leopard has a great incremental backup system called Time Machine. This is one of the easiest systems to use. Just plug in that new external hard drive and Time Machine will ask you to use it and manage your backup. Click the OK and you won’t have to worry again.

Step 3: Create an online backup

A MobileMe account will get you 20 GB of online storage and should be fine to backup your most important files. The account also comes with “Backup”, a small application that will upload your files so you don’t have to do it manually. Most big webhosting providers also offer online backup plans.

Tweet this article