Spring cleaning. Getting a fresh start. Purging. These are all great things to do with your life, as it allows you to focus on what is important. But what about the data on your computer? Old documents, pictures, financial data, family movies, etc. The easiest way to purge this is to not backup your machine and then have the unthinkable happen. Your computer crashes and all your data is gone. It is just like a natural disaster that we all too often see where people are digging through the debris just trying to find a picture or teddy bear, just to hold onto memories.
I have often preached the benefits and requirement to complete backups of important data. Twenty years ago, it was easy to keep your data intact, as there just wasn’t that much of it. We didn’t have 1,000’s of pictures or even video stored on those personal computers. Financial data, probably, but most of that was also probably printed out on nice green bar paper for cataloging.
Today, our data is EVERYWHERE. Literally, everywhere. If you have more than one computer in the house, which many households do, you have spread it across multiple machines to minimize the loss of data. You have pictures in iPhoto and music in iTunes on your mac. You have work documents on your PC at work and your laptop at home. That next great book you were writing is in word. Yikes. So many devices, so many files.
My main machine at home was our Mac. We have moved our data from mac to mac as we upgraded the hardware every three to four years as the machine started to get a little slow as newer technology leapfrogged earlier versions. Over 12 years, and thousands of pictures, songs, movies of our kids, etc. were piling up on that Mac. We had no backups, nothing. I tried to make copies of the data to keep them up to date, but it was difficult as things were constantly being added to that machine, and doing backups were a royal pain. That’s when I purchased a subscription to Carbonite for my home machine. I paid the annual price, loaded the application and let it do its things. Gigabytes of data were pushed into the cloud and were kept constantly updated.
I would say at least a year went by and then it happened. I did a very stupid thing. We were doing major home renovations and the electric in the home office was somehow not working. Not to be deterred, I ran an extension cord across the house to power the computer and monitor. Note, this is not a wise decision, as that afternoon, major thunderstorms passed overhead and then I heard it — POP! Say goodbye to the Mac Pro. It was completely fried, including the hard drive. Of course I didn’t know for sure that the hard drive was fried until we brought it to the Apple store and the tech confirmed it. They were going to try and repair it, as it still had 25 days left of the AppleCare warranty. In the meantime, we purchased a brand new iMac, as it was getting to that three to four year timeframe.
I got home that night, booted up the machine and did all that Apple stuff you have to do and the next thing I did was install Carbonite and begin the restore process and let it run. Two days later, the Mac was completely back up and running with ALL of our data. All the pictures, all my child’s videos and schoolwork. Everything.
To this day, I use Carbonite on my home machine and my office machine. It makes doing backups simple. You really don’t have to do anything much in the setup, it will save your files for you. That is the thing that makes this program work the best, it is transparent.
I will say that Carbonite is my backup solution, but to be honest, I do also take important steps on some of my more valuable information and spread it across different cloud based on-line storage just in case.
So what’s your backup plan? Share your experiences and questions below.
Michael Franchino, Vice President, AX ConsultingSr. Network Consultant firstname.lastname@example.org
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