Poll : How often do you backup your data?

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iantm's picture
Last seen: 2 years 6 months ago
Joined: Apr 2 2005 - 14:01
Posts: 709
Poll : How often do you backup your data?

As many of us have lost all of our data at one time or another due to a failure in hardware or software, user error, or theft, one would consider backup to be critical. Here's what I'd like to know. Do you back up your data, how often, and in which way? Do you use Apple's backup software, retrospect, cd, dvd, flash, tape drive?

I had a critical data loss about six years ago while in college when my PowerBook 1400c/166 died. After that mishap, I became religious about doing backups. Initially it was manually over a network. Now, I do it via retrospect over a network on a fixed schedule. I have a dedicated backup server at home.

Last seen: 1 year 10 months ago
Joined: Dec 16 2005 - 12:05
Posts: 244
I backup important things wee

I backup important things weekly, and other things every other month.

protocol6v's picture
Last seen: 13 years 3 months ago
Joined: Apr 21 2006 - 20:58
Posts: 339
I use Retrospect, Do a Tape B

I use Retrospect, Do a Tape Backup every two days, and a File Backup every night. I have scripts set up in Retrospect, so I don't have to do anything other than load a tape. I to have a backup server running Retrospect. A few months ago, my PowerBooks HD crapped out, and luckily I had a recent Backup. I have never forgotten to Backup or not been able to backup, and have never lost any data

themike's picture
Last seen: 11 years 10 months ago
Joined: Jul 21 2004 - 19:33
Posts: 455
Not much, nor often.

I rarely if ever back up anything but my digital photos and my music collection. When I do backup, I use CD-RW's for the photos, and DVD-RW's for my music.

I am considering setting up a backup server so I can back up everything, but in all likelihood, the server is going to have to be composed of hardware that is older and even less reliable than my main machine.

coius's picture
Last seen: 9 years 6 months ago
Joined: Aug 25 2004 - 13:56
Posts: 1975

every 8 hours. either that, or when I get home. I am obsessed with backing up, but it has saved my neck soooo many times.
At any given time (give or take a few hours) I have anywhere around 3-5 copies of something, sometimes more if I back up onto Several DVD's (I call them 'parity' discs)
I have an iBook, a PC with over 700GB Space (with RAID of 2x 250GB SATA Hard drives (1.5Gbps)) and several IDE Hard drives. I also have a Blue&White G3 with ~240GB Hard drive space, each mirrored, as well several external drives.
Because I work with client's data that I ABSOLUTELY *Cannot* lose, i HAVE to do this. But still, when i get the chance and I have data that is not needed that much, they get striped amoung my DVD-R's

coius's picture
Last seen: 9 years 6 months ago
Joined: Aug 25 2004 - 13:56
Posts: 1975
Dual post

oops! -.-
Gomen nasai!

Last seen: 3 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Jan 19 2005 - 23:30
Posts: 700
funny you mention it, im abou

funny you mention it, im about to start backing up 75 gb of files onto dvd's tonight because i suspect somthing is wrong with my hd... hope it makes it that far Blum 3

coius's picture
Last seen: 9 years 6 months ago
Joined: Aug 25 2004 - 13:56
Posts: 1975
if it doesn't work

use the freezer trick. It's a very handy thing to know as a tech (Thank God I work out of my house, i have a freezer 24/7 so I can work with them easier)

Last seen: 2 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Dec 19 2003 - 18:53
Posts: 906
Backup with redundancy. . .

I back up my word processor files twice weekly by networking my computer to my girlfriends and keeping a copy on her harddrive (it has plenty of room).

Then I backup everything on DVD+R's or DVD-R's once a month. Also, a second copy on an older external firewire HD.


Last seen: 6 years 7 months ago
Joined: Feb 23 2005 - 05:27
Posts: 233

I backup.

Big files, backup...2 hard drive when needdedd.


Gmail slow.

mmphosis's picture
Last seen: 1 week 3 days ago
Joined: Aug 18 2005 - 16:26
Posts: 418
when it's time to

I "backup" when I have almost a CD-ROM size amount of a particular type of data sitting on my hard disk. The particular types of data are: music, operating system, tools, SDK, docs/data/sourcecode, photos, and now short videos. This way I can label the CD-ROM with the date and type of data and find it later. What I am doing can hardly be called a backup because what I burn, I delete from the hard disk. But, if I really like what I am burning, I burn two CD's, and put them in two different places -- that sounds more like a backup.

I also realize that the shelf life of my data on CD-ROM is 5-8 years! After that it could all be gone. I've gone back and attempted to "restore" and sometimes the some of the data on CD-ROM is already corrupted/missing.

Recently, I used someone else's computer who has DVD-burning capability to burn a DVD. It was useful to put that much information on one disk.

I use the Finder and it's Burning capability under Mac OS X 10.1.5. And, iTunes for music as an MP3 CD-ROM. I sometimes use Terminal (tcsh) commands in darwin like cd, ls, files, and diff (to verify a backup.)

"The wastebasket is our most important design tool--and it's seriously underused."

Hawaii Cruiser's picture
Last seen: 6 years 6 months ago
Joined: Jan 20 2005 - 16:03
Posts: 1433
an assortment of harddrives

There's usually some noticeable symptoms that a harddrive is beginning to have troubles, or if my harddrive is a few years old, I know it's time to start thinking of a new one. I've only experienced a couple of cases where a harddrive failed on me and it was in such bad shape that I was unable to retrieve my data despite a myriad of rescue techniques. If I can't get the drive to function long enough for Diskwarrior to get in there and find enough to recover, then that disk is history. But after those couple of failures, I now respect the little warning signs of a drive's impending demise.

I always have three separate harddrives in my upgraded B&W tower: my main harddrive, a Storage Harddrive for storage, and a Utility Harddrive to boot into to run utilities against the main harddrive. I installed a switch on the tower so that I can turn off both the Storage Harddrive and the Utility Harddrive when they're not required. Those hardrives are SCSI because I've found no problems with my computer getting confused by turning off SCSI harddrives. It often does get confused when I turn off ATA drives--between shutdowns, of course--so SCSI is my backup.

My main harddrive has at least two partitions: one for the system and one for storage. Sooner or later, I move all important files to a filing system on the Storage Partition. Then every once in awhile--maybe once every two months--I turn on the Storage Harddrive and wipe it clean. I'll run Disk Utility from the main harddrive and choose the "write zeroes" option to erase the Storage Harddrive and then go have lunch or something until the clean wipe is through. Then I come back and copy the entire contents of the Storage Partition on the main harddrive over to the Storage Harddrive.

I've really come to appreciate the usefulness of Carbon Copy Cloner lately. I use it to copy the storage files over to the Storage Harddrive. It is always a nice methodical, glitch-free transfer using CCC, as opposed to just selecting all the files on the storage partition and then dragging and dropping them onto the other harddrive--a process which almost always runs afoul at some point, and usually, at many points. The other thing that is nice about CCC is that before you transfer files you can also see and delete any unwanted hidden file clutter, such as those .DS Store files from the transfer.

One other thing I now use CCC for is to create the Utility Harddrive. I simply copy my whole system of the main harddrive over to the Utility Harddrive and use the copied system to run utilities. I don't plan to do this complete copying of the entire system every two months--maybe every six months or something like that. Thus, I've always got two backups on two different drives, one for storage, and one for the system. I've also always got at least one harddrive that's sitting in a box in the closet somewhere that used to be my main harddrive which I retired with the contents intact--just in case there's some kind of massive failure or fire (God forbid) or something like that, or I have to go back and try to find some old file I might have deleted from the new harddrives.

Sometimes I use CDR's for storage, but I've found that to be, on the most part, time consuming and impractical. Most of my folders are fluid, changing and growing all the time. If I constantly burn them to CD to keep up, then I end up with a massive collection of CD's which have to be scoured through to find things, and it gets confusing to remember what's placed where since it requires many CD's to backup what's on one harddrive. Only when I know that a folder is not going to have much or any changes in the future do I burn it to CD, otherwise, I rely on my harddrive system. I just bought an external DVD RAM drive, so that may increase my use of burned discs because of the much larger space available for burning. I guess I won't have to cut up folders like I would with CD's. We'll see how that goes.

But I always eventually start running low on harddrive space anyway, so a new harddrive is bought long before the present harddrive is starting to fail. I resist the temptation to buy the mega-space harddrives out there now because I know it might take too long to fill them. It's better to buy a cheaper, smaller harddrive and use it until you need one that's maybe twice as big, not five times as big, unless you've got some definite major project that requires 500GB, which I never do. By resisting the temptation to buy a huge drive, I don't end up eventually with an old, possibly insecure harddrive.

Am I rambling? Sorry. There's been no waves on the south shore recently--affects the mind--except that little tsunami yesterday--speaking of which, if you want to see a very wild new video of Honolulu getting trashed by a tsunami, go here:
Click on "Browse All Video." You don't have to wait for any collection to load.
Type "Ultimate" in the search box. Make sure to capitalize U.
Click on "Ultimate Tsunami."

A nightmare, thankfully very rare (although a regular occurrence in geologic history our here, they say), that actually could happen at any time. Heebeejeebees. No backup available there!

Last seen: 11 years 10 months ago
Joined: Apr 22 2004 - 15:37
Posts: 378
Not much data to backup

I only have an MS Money file and a few pictures to backup at home. Normally I just copy them to a flash drive. Most of my emails are for payment confirmations or junk mail. I could care less about saved games.

After washing said flash drive (twice!) in my pants pocket and a run through the dryer, I now have two of them. Strangely enough, the flash drive survived it's ordeal.

My data gets backed up about once a week.

At work, it's backed up daily to an 80GB removable hard disk. Every Monday the prior week's backup is burned to DVD and that drive is swapped out for its twin. Afterwards the DVDs are taken off site.

My iTunes file are backed up to DVD once every few months - I don't buy much.

Jon's picture
Last seen: 12 years 4 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Posts: 2804
The washer is why I use [url=

The washer is why I use this flash drive that attaches to my keys. I know where my keys are at all the time. They never get washed. Thus, my flash storage doesn't get washed either.

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