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Backup Your Data

I’ve just had the stressful experience of losing a hard drive. In fact, the main internal drive in my MacBook Pro. This is never fun, even if you are 100% sure that your backup solution is going to work when you need it. Luckily, mine did work, and I just wanted to document the process for any friends or family who might not have a backup solution in place. This is critical! All your pictures, your music, your movies, documents, etc are on your laptop, and you need to have it backed up on a second drive somewhere. (Remember also that having important data only on an external drive is not sufficient!)

If you have a Mac, you should know about Time Machine. It is easy to set up, and as long as you remember to connect the drive, easy to keep up to date. If you buy a new machine, having an up-to-date Time Machine backup makes that process almost anti-climatic.

I’ve gone one step further with my backup system and purchased CrashPlan+ from Code42 (a local Minneapolis company!). I decided to go this route for a few reasons:

  1. By purchasing the family plan, you can back up all your families’ machines to their cloud backup service.
  2. The cloud backup service works from any location, so your computer is always backing up the latest files to their system.
  3. If your local backup drive dies, you have the piece of mind of the backup on someone else’s servers.

So my hard drive went down, and the Apple Store quickly replaced it under warranty. My backup drive was working and up to date, so when I returned home, I started the restore process:

  1. Install Crashplan on the new blank system
  2. Log in to my Crashplan account
  3. Attach my backup drive directly to the machine for a faster restore (I typically have it connected to a “server” in the house)
  4. Started the restore of my entire home folder choosing to overwrite any existing files.
  5. After about 12 hours of copying data (I have a pretty full 500GB internal drive), I restarted and found all of my data back in place, preferences, desktops, dock, everything.
  6. I told the CrashPlan app that I wanted to adopt a previous computer (as it thought that this was a completely new system)
  7. Completely back up and running!

CrashPlan has picked up exactly where it left off, backing up the new pictures I just downloaded.

Now admittedly, I did NOT have an up to date Time Machine backup. If I had, I would have used that to do the restore since it is baked right in to the operating system. But I do feel safer knowing that all of my backup data is in two places. I’ve had more than one drive die in the past year, and it is a bad, bad feeling.

The moral of the story… pick a backup solution and use it. Whether it be CrashPlan, Time Machine, or something like Carbon Copy Cloner, always have an up-to-date backup of your data.

Categories: Technology.

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One Response

  1. Thanks for the CrashPlan recommendation! I’ve been looking for a good backup plan and that looks like the best–all the features I’ve been hoping for at a great price.

    Rebecca9/19/2011 @ 12:10 pm

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