Bullet Proof Backup
March 26, 2010

If you don’t have a back up plan set up, you are risking losing critical data, such as your photos, email, or any work or projects you have on your computer.

Backing up for some people is a habit they need to learn, now. Hard drives fail, it’s just a matter of time. You may have been using your computer for years and your hard drive is still running, but take it from me, they don’t last forever and a failure with out a back up plan, you are asking for a nightmare. Over the years I have had about 8 hard drives fail on me.

Here is my Bullet Proof Backup Plan.

Notebook:

I use two Seagate FreeAgent Go drives, one is 320 GB and the other is 500 GB. I back up data by dragging and dropping data into folders I have created on the back up drives.

More about Seagate FreeAgent Go Drives here:

https://blog.unicus.com/2010/03/25/why-i-like-freeagent-go-drives-3/

I also use drive imaging software to create an exact copy of my notebooks hard drive in case it fails. I use Acronis True Image Home 2010 for this, but there are other programs out there as well. True Image works well for me and I like the program.

I use two drives, cause I alternate, one week I will back up and image to the 320 GB drive and the next week I use the 500 GB drive. This way my data is spread over 3 drives, my notebook and two external drives.

Desktop:

I use the two FreeAgent Go drives for critical data, alternating drives every week and I use a 1 TB Cavalry USB external drive with an external power supply for my disk images.

This 1 TB Cavalry USB drive has an on off switch, and it is only on when I am creating a back up image of my hard drive, or restoring an image.  Keeping the drive off when not in use protects your hard drive images.

Important note: When you turn off your external USB hard drive, turn off the computer, then turn off the power switch.  If you don’t have a power switch, turn off the computer, and power bar and unplug the drive from your power bar.  Failure to do so, may result in data loss from the hard drive heads contacting the drive platters.  This advice comes from makers of these external drives.

I image my desktop once a week. If I do more than my normal workload per week, I will back up that data to the FreeAgent Go drive to be safe.

This system works for me.

Backing up data to more than one drive and imaging once a week has saved me many times from disaster.

One major incident and success was in 2001. My hard drive failed on my desktop when the system was turned on, the hard drive was dead. I drove to the computer store, which was only a mile or so from my house, installed the drive, created a partition, formatted it and restored a recent image I had of the drive and was up and running in only one hour. At that time I was using two removable hard drives in hard drive trays in my computer. The disk imaging software I was using at that time was Drive Image, it was an excellent piece of software made by Power Quest.  Power Quest was acquired by Symantec in 2003 and they used Drive Image technology in Norton Ghost, and in my opinion wrecked a great piece of software.

I tried Ghost by Symantec, but did not like the look and feel of it, so I went with Acronis True Image.

If you do not have a backup plan, get one now. I hope my system may give you some ideas to create your own back up plan that will work for you and not take up too much time.  Once you start, backing up will become a habit, and one day you will be so happy you have a plan in place when disaster eventually strikes.