Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Backup, backup, backup!

I won't finish writing about this for a few days, as my dear, precious iMac is still in surgery, having a new hard drive installed.  It's kinda like a heart transplant combined with brain surgery for you or me...

Poor thing.

But, she's lucky being mine, because I am positively anal about one thing: backing up my data.

Fortunately, Apple, Inc. makes it easy to do and to keep your stuff safe.  All you need is a relatively current version of OS X and a backup disk, or perhaps a Time Capsule.  In my case, I have both.  The Time Capsule is the primary backup, backing up my stuff hourly, keeping one daily backup weekly for the long term.  In addition, I also have two portable drives, one terabyte each, which get rotated periodically in and out of the bank vault where our safety deposit box is kept.

That way, I am covered, if I need to recover just one file, or, as in this case, the entire HD goes south and Apple has to replace it.  When they give it back to me, it'll have OS X 10.8.4 installed, and all I have to do is use Migration Assistant to migrate all my accounts and all their data back onto the new HD.

Takes about an hour and a half, depending on the amount of data to restore.  Easy!  In the long run, no data is lost at all, and new stuff saved in the Cloud migrates down back to the requisite apps on the new hard drive once it comes back up.

I never lose a thing.

Why am I so anal about this?  Because I once ignored my backups and, thinking they were just fine, lost an entire year's worth of data, including some photos, because the backup I thought I had was corrupted.

Never again!

So, my message to you out there is, back it up.  Don't take it for granted, check those backups periodically, to ensure that they really do contain the data you think they do, and that they are not corrupted and have good data retention.

If the data you have is irreplaceable, then KEEP IT IN MORE THAN ONE PLACE!!  Pay for a cloud based backup service, use an external hard drive and have an extra one you keep in a safety deposit box.  Three backups are just barely enough IF one of them is off site to ensure you against theft, disaster or fire. 

Data lost is data lost, and it CANNOT BE replaced.  Electronic bits and bytes are fragile and can disappear in an instant.  Don't take any chances, folks, you'll never get that photo of your great grandmother again and your kids will never be so cute as they were at two.  And you'll probably never get that incriminating shot of your spouse as sauced as he/she was last New Year's again, so KEEP THEM SAFE!!

You've been warned.

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