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28 July 2008

Do you have a data backup system in place? [More:]

My boyfriend just spilled a glass of water over his cover-less computer tower. We think it fried everything: motherboard, hard drives, USB drive. Those drives had everything on them, his music, photos, MST3k, and the USB drive was his backup.

He keeps trying to turn it on and I keep telling him to wait a day or two until the water dries completely.

I'm burning stuff to DVD right this second.

Do you back up your stuff?
Yes, I do. I have a USB HDD that has all my person files on it. I keep it at work, figuring that both places burning down in one night would be just too improbable.

Now I do, anyway ;-)
posted by dg 28 July | 03:15
I feel safe if an important file exists on at least two volumes, but I've never kept an off-site backup. One of the authors I work with gives me CD backups of all of his work files for safekeeping.
posted by D.C. 28 July | 03:30
system files: Time Machine'd

Photos: FW drive, also a backup, looking at keeping off-site photo backups at a friend's place.

Music: none, should get on that.
posted by heeeraldo 28 July | 03:39
I use offsite backup, but for some reason, I'm finding it difficult to find something that works for my personal backup.

If you're not that bothered about how long a full restore would take, then Mozy & Jungledisk are probably my current recommendations for cheapish offsite backup.

At work, we're currently trialling It works OK, but I've not been blown away by what they offer.
posted by seanyboy 28 July | 04:49
Oh, aye. I learned to after a very helpful houseguest decided to upgrade my box to Windows 98 at 6am one Sunday, and I lost years of uni work and 80,000 words of a novel I'd been working on. Our system is rather complicated now - we have separate hard drives for everything after I installed a virus along with a crappy casual game last year, and back them up to each other, our home server and our server in Fort Worth.

I spilled a glass of water on a laptop a few years ago - we pulled the hard drive out immediately and managed to salvage it (but not the rest of the laptop). Compressed air can help speed up the drying process if you can blow the water out before it damages too much.
posted by goo 28 July | 06:09
(Side note - don't ever do that! What would possess someone to sit down at someone else's computer and decide to wipe their OS without discussing it with them first? Gah, I'm still pissed off about it, even 10 years' later).
posted by goo 28 July | 06:25
We're working on having mini-machines here that we can backup terabytes of data on. Places like are good for the smaller backup-stuffs as it's easy and not in your house - but when you have as many photographs as my photographing man does, and as many commercials as I do - it gets a bit expensive. We used to do CD's and DVD's and we have extra raid-drives and stuff all over the place but nothing is a proper system and CD's and DVD's have let us down so many times. Plus holy crap they take up a lot of space.
posted by dabitch 28 July | 07:01
I have an external hard drive that I'm sposed to use to back up my files. Thanks for the reminder. My hard drive is starting to sound not so healthy.
posted by theora55 28 July | 08:04
I do have an external drive that I use to backup the whole hard drive for my personal computer. I also send copies of files I'd hate to lose to my archive e-mail address.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 28 July | 09:21
We lost so much data in an HD crash earlier this year. Fortunately most of the pics and videos of my baby's birth and first year were duped on a portable drive I take to work with me, but we lost pics of our European vacation, birthday parties and holidays, tons of stuff.

So after I got us back up and running, I got an external HD and Backup4All, which has been working very well for us. It's not free software, but it's only $30 US and works better than any free software I tried. Runs like a top.
posted by middleclasstool 28 July | 09:34
At work--god yes, years of tape storage, a secure off-site hot backup, all that.

At home--well, we do NOW. Our desktop died before we had a chance to back up everything. I got a cheap hard-drive enclosure and hooked up the old HD to the new laptop. Even for a non-super-techie like me, it was a 15-minute job, and now we can do a full backup by plugging in a cable and pushing a button. Of course, we have to actually get around to hooking up the cable and pushing the button...
posted by mrmoonpie 28 July | 09:36
I have a USB HDD that I copy important stuff onto. For documents, I usually email a copy of the document to myself at one of my gmail accounts. Every now and again I copy my photo file onto CD, and I also have many (most) of my photos online anyway.
posted by essexjan 28 July | 11:31
I am paranoid about my photos mostly, and all my music (ripped off my own CDs, but it took so long I would never get around to doing it again). I use a WD external HDD, which came with some rather neat backup software. Once a week I back it up and take it to work. Conversely I have a work backup which I take home once a week. I always keep at least two copies of everything at all times, if one fails I drop everything and make another.
posted by tomble 28 July | 23:19
A friend once told me: There are two kinds of computer users in the world. Those who have formulated a backup strategy after a big annoying data loss, and those who WILL formulate a backup strategy after a big annoying data loss.

A lot of these comments seem to be bearing this out.

My approach depends on the data.

The music collection exists in three places at home, with an oldish backup on a usb disk off-site. I have once lost my collection and had to re-rip everything. Not happy.

The SO's thesis-in-progress stuff sits in three places at home, and I make her stick it onto a USB stick to leave at Uni.

Various stuff I create goes onto a USB drive, erm, every now and again.

Vids and installers and stuff, not so much. It's generally replaceable, and I'd prefer to have more, cheaper storage
than more reliability for that.

posted by pompomtom 29 July | 01:24
Best Google "holiday" logo ever || Washing instructions: