Backup Your Data: Hard Drives All Fail

It’s been a crazy week! Our main editing computer had a graphics card failure which was cause for a lot of concern and a few days’ delay, but once we got a new card in it, it’s back to normal again. Graphics cards can give really confusing errors when they start to die, and we were just relieved that the entire computer wasn’t melting down. =)

Speaking of computer problems, I run into people all the time (especially when we’re dealing with a computer problem like this week) who don’t have their computers backed up. If it seems overwhelming or expensive, you might look at CrashPlan. It’s a continuous online backup of just the files that have been modified (like Apple’s Time Machine, but off-site). We have it running on all of our computers (the family plan is around $10/month) and it’s been a life-saver on more than one occasion. Of special note, CrashPlan does not throttle back your backup speeds regardless of the amount of data you’re backing up, so our 2TB backs up without any limits whatsoever.

If you’re on a Mac, Time Machine is built in, and is SO easy to setup. Just plug in a new external hard drive and it will most likely ask you if you’d like to set up Time Machine. Done! I actually us two separate 1TB drives for Time Machine, and I swap them out, storing one in a safety deposit box a few miles from home.

If you want to really go crazy with it, you can also make a bootable clone drive that updates every night. Time Machine is really easy, but the bootable clone drive was a bit advanced. I set mine up just this week using Carbon Copy Cloner (a free program!) and I’ve already tested it to insure that it works as expected.

I mention all this to encourage you to please, please back up your important documents and photos! We do, and it’s a huge peace of mind, professionally and personally. I meet pro photographers all the time who do not backup adequately, and it pains me to know that it’s inevitable that all hard drives will fail.

*ADDED* I’m partial to G-Technologies G-Drives for externals, and find myself typically using Hitachi drives for internal drives.

Have any other good backup advice? Leave a comment below… I’m always looking for ways to improve!

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