My Backup Plan

Mac Equipment

I have two pieces of Mac Hardware, my main machine is a 24" iMac and my other is a Macbook Pro.  The following post shows the backup strategy I use.  Some items are machine specific and they are listed below.

First off all my documents, notes etc are all stored "online" so to speak, I don't save any of my documents on the local hard drives, this is for a couple of reasons, one is that I can always work on them, where ever I am, also I can access them on any environment, Windows, Mac OS, Linux etc.  Plus this way you have the extra advantage of they are automatically backed up for you.

For general notes, documents and technical documentation (pdf format) they are stored within Evernote, I love using Evernote as it is so simple, I can write draft posts or general notes, I scan directly into here as well (you can read the review of the portable scanner I use here), then I click one button and from there it is synced and I can move on, plus where ever I go I can access them via a PC, laptop or even via the iPhone/iPad application, you can also use any browser to view your files from the evernote website.

I also use two other services, iDisk from having a Mobile Me account which will soon be going with the new iCloud service, which is a good thing as the syncing is not very fast at all.  The other service is Dropbox (If you use this link and sign up you will get an extra free 250Mb).  I have the documents duplicated on the two different methods.  This is incase one of the services are down I can continue to access my documents.  This is not too much of a manual task as I can just work on the document then also save it/upload to the other location.  As mentioned before I personally prefer to use dropbox, the majority of the time, sometimes the upload time even for a word document tends to take a long time to iDisk or to sync from the mac seems to take a while, whereas Dropbox is pretty much instant.

For privacy reasons if the documents etc are of a sensitive nature I store them within a truecrypt container, this way I know they are protected if anyone ever did get access to my machines.

Physical Backups

I use Super Duper to make clone backups of my macs, I have paid for the license for Super Duper which for around £20, it is well worth it, with the free version you can make clone backups until your heart is content, but with the paid version, it allows me to schedule my clones, which are updated via the Smart Update feature, basically it is like carrying out incremental backups.  This saves lots of time, and I can schedule for the backups to run at a convenient time.  For my main iMac I schedule this to run weekly late on a Sunday evening when I know I won’t be on the machine.

With my macbook pro as this is used less often I have a reminder in OmniFocus to carry this out once a month, however if I do lots of work on the laptop I will manually run super duper smart update as soon as I get a chance.

On the iMac I have Time machine running all the time, to catch the backups for everyday work and changes to the system. I have a 1Tb iomega drive connected to my main machine via firewire.  The backups are a lot quicker than when I used to have them running via wifi to my time capsule.

With regards to the macbook I have moved my time machine backup to run off of a portable hard drive. I now use a Gdrive mini (you can read my review of this device here ) and I carry this around whenever and where ever I go with my Macbook. This is because where ever I am I will always be able to back up my laptop and have a backup, also the option to restore if I accidently delete a file (it has been known)

I also have manual backups in place, I  copy directories i.e. iTunes library, iPhoto library to external disk when ever there are changes, i.e photo inserts or iTunes movie/album purchases.  To me I suppose the most important file is my iPhoto library i can't imagine if i lost all the photos of my kids etc, somethings can't be replaced.  ( I can now imagine a lot of readers thinking I must get a copy of my photos).  Funny enough when ever I get a machine to work on, the first question I always get asked is will you able to save my photos as I haven't got a backup of them. 

I always ensure I have my Bento database backed up to dropbox and I ensure that it is regularly with both my iPad and iPhone.

Windows Equipment

Again like my Macs I use Evernote and Dropbox to store all of my documents etc.  As both pieces of software are cross platform, I always can work on any of my documents where ever I am.

With regards to my Windows machines, I now use Arcsoft TotalMedia Backup as my backup software of choice.  The main reason I use this software is that it came with a drive that I was reviewing.

The software is very easy to use, it has a simple interface, and you can do incremental backups.  I backup straight to the  external disk, my weapon of choice at the moment is a Hitachi 500Gb carbon fibre external drive USB 2.0

You can easily select whole drives or just individual folders to backup.  It labels the folders by date so you can easily see when you carried out the last backup.  It also keeps a log-file, very handy when completing an incremental backup so you can see in details what files have changed.

I just backup this netbook every couple of weeks, sometimes once a month, that does not seem very frequent but its only because I really only use this for surfing the net etc.  I also use this to write initial posts etc and for that I use documents saved within dropbox or type them up using evernote.  As this is synced often, I hardly ever store information on the local hard drive.

There are amazon links at the bottom of the page to the drives that I am currently using for backups.

As always I am always interested in your thoughts so if you have any comments or feedback then please feel free to add any comments, or you can mail me  here.


Kindle app on the iPad

Summer of Sonic 2011