In an editorial post a few years ago, I bemoaned the state of backing up. The post, entitled “Why don’t people back up?” discussed the many varied (and somewhat reasonable) reasons individuals might not be backing up their precious data.
I also discussed many scenarios in which people lose that precious data completely and forever… scenarios in which a backup solution would have protected them in some way. In fact, almost any backup solution would have helped. As I say in What backup program should I use?, “Asking what backup program to use is very much like asking, ‘What’s the best exercise program?’ The best program for exercise or backup is whichever one you’ll actually do.”
Anything is better than nothing.
The good news is that more people are backing up – or at least attempting to.
The bad news is that we still have a long way to go to get more people to back up. I know this by the number of panic-stricken emails I receive.
Now that you can buy a 256 GB SD card for about $100, would that be a good way to back up a laptop? I always hate plugging in an external drive to backup my laptop. This way I can schedule automatic backup and not worry about the media. The 256 GB card has a lifetime warranty and so if fails you can, in theory, get a replacement. Any idea about the expected failure time for reading or writing the SD card daily?
You know, my gut tells me that this is a bad idea. There are a few things that make me uncomfortable.
Something I’ve said for a long time is that your approach to change – particularly change that’s out of your control – is one of the biggest factors that will determine just how successful you are at using technology. The better you can handle change, the happier you’ll be. I’m absolutely convinced of it.
Note that I’m not saying you need to like all change. Not all change is good.
I’m currently working on my next book, Saved! Backing Up with Windows 8 Backup, and I’m running into some changes that are so incomprehensible it’s making me think “WTH Microsoft?!”
Let me explain how I avoid ulcers in this ever-changing world of technology.
I’ve been told that an external hard drive can still be corrupted after you transfer files, pictures, whatever. Should I still purchase an external hard drive or get a subscription to a good online service?
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
Everything can fail, including the online service. Backing up isn’t as much about which backup technology you choose as it is about having multiple copies.
You recommended backing up with online programs including Skydrive, Google Drive, etc. but these sync all the computers on the system. Can you not then lose files that get accidentally deleted? I used to back up my copy to another networked computer, but fear that now I may lose info on all of them if something does me in on one. I didn’t notice any discussion of this in Backing Up: 101. I’ve been following your newsletter for years and appreciate it. I only wish I had time to read more.
You are correct. With the way that your backup is set up, you could lose files, but there are a couple of safety nets and at least one clarification.
To begin with, when you use a file syncing or cloud-based file-sharing service like Google Drive, Dropbox, or SkyDrive, you need to remember that they should be part of an overall backup strategy.
How can I backup my work on a running basis throughout the day so that I don’t lose hours of work through hardware failure or accidental deletion? A friend lost his presentation yesterday while amending it an hour before delivery because of a thumb drive failure. I sometimes accidentally delete parts of my work during the day and have to do them again. My solution is to intermittently save to a file name with “PROTECT” added as the name and on a different drive; but this is clunky, takes time, and is unreliable because it depends on me remembering to do it. Are there automatic options to achieve this purpose?
I feel your friend’s pain. Anybody that has used a computer for any length of time, particularly in business or when giving presentations, has been in his shoes.
Leo, I’m a bit confused. If I schedule a backup for say 1:00 am, must I leave my machine on? When I leave my machine on and unattended, then after about 15 minutes, the machine comes to a place where it needs my password to resume in Windows 7. Will this not prevent Macrium from performing a backup? Also if I backup to DVDs, I will need to be up at 1:00 am to swap out discs. Do you know where I go in Windows to disengage the password for my machine?
Some of the things that you ask about will definitely affect your ability to run your backups in the middle of the night – and some of them won’t.
Hi, Leo. Will autorun programs be prevented from running if I lock my computer so that it can only be opened with a password? Specifically, will Macrium’s scheduled backups be prevented from running if I lock my computer?
Macrium will run just fine. As for any autorun programs,… well, it depends.