August 22, 2009

Painless Backups

We’ve all had that friend, the one whose hard drive crashes unexpectedly, no backup. This of course makes you think, hey, I should start backing up my files. Some of us even start backing up right then and there, at least for a while. This normally consists of just dragging the files onto an external USB drive, or maybe burning a disc. The problem is that this requires thought; it requires that you remember to keep doing it. Let’s face it we’re only human, no one is going to keep backing up that way. Eventually the urgency fades; you forget about what happened to your friend, and become complacent about backups again.

The solution is to use a backup program that will automate this for you. The “set it and forget it” mentality. It does require a little effort to setup, however after that generally little to no effort is required. Why should you use your hard earned cash to buy a backup program or a USB drive? The answer is pretty simple. Assuming you work on your computer, if your hard drive crashes it’s not just a matter of losing photos, music, or maybe some bookmarks. You’re losing time, money, and possibly clients depending on the timing. Imagine, your deadline on a three-week project is tomorrow; all the files are on your hard drive, no backup, and it crashes, taking three weeks of work with it. A little foresight, expense money and setup time can save you from this type of situation.

There are backup programs available for all the major operating systems, Windows, Mac and Linux. I’ll be covering some of the options available for each in the next three posts. If you’ve heard of Apple’s new Time Machine backup program, you’ll be happy to know that there are similar programs available on both Windows and Linux. Some of these programs are freeware/donation ware, others have a free trial, either way I highly recommend choosing one to automate your backups on a regular basis.


  1. i back up weekly (mostly) with a push button external drive.

  2. Those are easy to use, the only disadvantages are that you have to remember to push the button and they normally only work with Windows.