Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 10:30 AM
A couple of years ago I made an impassioned plea to all the readers of our sites to implement a solid backup solution, preferably an off-site one. I figured it was time for an update on my solutions, and a refresher for everyone on the importance of backing up their data.
I was a Carbonite user for a couple of years, but last year I discovered something quite ugly: Carbonite filtered out EXE files, ISO files, and a few other file types. I have a few small ISO files I keep in my documents folder; these are boot CDs I might need to duplicate in the future. And as for EXE files, I purchase digital software quite often, and these EXE files are required if I need to re-install the software. I consider both ISO and EXE files to be part of my data - things that, if I lost, I'd be very upset because they'd be difficult to get back or re-create.
Carbonite considers these types of files non-user data. Shouldn't the user decide what constitutes the data they want to back up? I understand why Carbonite might automatically filter those types of files out - clueless users might try to back up their entire Programs directory thinking it would help them if they had a hard drive crash - but ultimately the user should have the final say over what they want to back up. I still recommend Carbonite for most of my friends and family, because I know they don't have ISO and EXE files to back up, but it was no longer the right solution for me.
I had experimented with Mozy [Affiliate] last year, and liked what I saw, so I signed up with them for a two-year plan, using the coupon code of the month (it's just the name of the month) to save 10% off the total. That works out to only $3.89 per month - tough be beat that! The screen shot above shows the beginning of my 180 GB backup from a few weeks back...as of today, I'm about 40% through the total backup. Backing up 180 GB of data at 1 Mbps upstream is a slow, slow process - and I have a technical cap of 100 GB total transfer per month with my ISP. Once it's finished though, I'll be comforted knowing that all of my photos, documents, music, and software is safely backed up off-site. I still user FolderShare to shuffle my files around and maintain multiple backups of my documents/pictures, and I have a local backup running to an external hard drive, but Mozy completes the circle by offering me off-site protection for my data at a very low monthly rate.
If you're not backing up your data on a regular basis, I'll leave you with a quote to think about from my review of the HP SimpleSave Photo product:
"I encountered one such woman recently: she came to me quite upset because Windows XP on her computer had become corrupted somehow, and a technician re-installed it for her, but she was missing several years worth of pictures of her child when he was a baby. She'd never run a single backup in four years, and despite my efforts using undelete software I was only able to recover a fraction of the photos she'd lost. It was heartbreaking to have to tell her that several years worth of photos were lost forever."
Even if you have a great backup solution yourself, what about friends and family? Don't let them suffer the heartache of losing their digital memories - help them implement an easy to manage off-site backup solution.
Jason Dunn owns and operates Thoughts Media Inc., a company dedicated to creating the best in online communities. He enjoys photography, mobile devices, blogging, digital media content creation/editing, and pretty much all technology. He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his lovely wife, and his mostly obedient dog.