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29 September 2008 @ 10:27 am
Backups. First, if you aren't backing up your computer, do so now!

I think most people realize that they ought to back up, but don't actually do anything about it until they get burned by a hard drive failure.

Then there are the really stupid, like me, who get burned by hard drive failure, and still don't get a real backup system set up.

Several years ago, I had a hard drive die on me. I thought I had been good, and had everything I cared about duplicated somewhere else. But when I finally had things up and running again, I discovered I'd lost about a years worth of photography. And while any sane person would immediately take steps to insure that never happened again, I didn't.

In my defense, I did eventually set up a system to duplicate all my photos. I created a duplicate copy of all my photos on a separate hard drive. Since then, every time I copy pictures off my camera, I copied them to both my main drive and to the separate drive. The problem with this, is that I then went on to work on the pictures on my main drive. So, while I had a back up of all my originals, any subsequent work was in just one place.

In the past month or so, I've hand 3 hard drives fail on me (in sequence). Thankfully they didn't fail catastrophically, and I was able to recover everything. So this time, I've gone and done the sane thing, and now I backup everything.

My first thought about backing things up was to buy a drobo. While a drobo can be used as an on-site, robust backup device, it's an expensive solution, and it doesn't directly help get a copy of your backup off-site. I'd occasionally considered swapping space with a friend, so we'd each have an off-site backup at the others house, but I have over 80 GB of photos, and add 1GB or more at a time. That's a lot of data to try to upload over the net.

A while ago, while idly thinking about backups, I stumbled across this post about backups. And it made perfect sense to me.

So, here's what I've done. I went out a bought 2 1TB hard drives and a USB SATA hard drive dock. Then I formatted one as "TM1" and set it up as a time machine disk (I'm running OS X 10.5). After that completed an entire backup, I ejected the disk, formatted the 2nd one as "TM2", and told time machine to backup to that disk. Then I brought TM1 into work.

This morning, I brought TM2 into work, and I'll bring TM1 home. Hopefully time machine will be able to deal with this, and wont have to start from scratch when I plug TM1 back into my machine. We'll find out tonight.

Go, back up your computer now.
Carol Townsend: Thoughtful Hobbesmerseine on September 29th, 2008 03:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the post - my geek/husband is on it. We saw half-TB drives for sale on Woot at $50/each the other day and he snapped up 3 of them. He's been looking for TB drives for around $100... refuses to pay much more than that, and this was the closest optimal solution.

So, I'm curious... where did you find your TB drives and how much did they set you back? If you don't mind sharing?
Ziggyts52 on September 29th, 2008 04:06 pm (UTC)
I don't mind at all, I got the TB hard drives from NewEgg, at $149 I think.

Correction, $139.99. So far, so good.

The hdd dock I bought is this one. It's maybe a bit slow, but works just fine for backups.
Ziggyts52 on September 30th, 2008 08:57 pm (UTC)
It works
Time Machine can handle backing up to different drives, you just need to manually tell it to change the drive. A little tedious, but it does work, and continues the incremental backup on both drives.