Backing Up Your Data

Recently a friend of mine lost about 12 months of his toddler’s photos when his hard drive crashed. With more and more of our important files being converted to electronic formats (pictures, home movies, tax records, and more) it is becoming critical to keep it backed up. Compared to the cost of digital SLR cameras, camera memory, computers, etc., ~$75 seems like a small price to pay to have, not just the photos, but all of your data backed up to a secondary removable drive. Although backing up can seem like a hassle, I have some scripts that make it a lot more convenient. I have a 1TB Western Digital Elements drive as my primary data drive on my server and a 500GB Western Digital Passport drive, which I backup monthly, in my Sentry 2 cubic foot Fire Safe. I also found a Sentry Waterproof Fire-Safe Hard Drive, but it isn’t theft resistant. There are also safes that enable the use of active drives inside such as the Sentry Data Storage Chest and the larger Sentry 2 cubic foot Fire Safe with USB which also has room for your other stuff and is a little less portable for theft resistance. I still question the data security of these drives, however, because if stolen, one could still access your data without opening the safe. Look for my other posts regarding encrypting portable drives. Another option is to backup offsite, there are pay services, but also Windows Live offers 25GB of backup with their SkyDrive, although economy bandwidth can make this a bit slow to use. Even if you don’t feel like you need a fire-safe backup, I would still recommend getting your data on two drives. Your hard drive will fail. It may be predictable, which a few of mine have been, where you can toggle the power, or disconnect and plug in the drive again to regain functionality, but this isn't always the case. And you could send your drive off to be professionally recovered, but these services can be expensive. Even if you are not concerned about fire or theft, I would recommend getting a backup drive for peace of mind, and to prevent a devastating drive failure.

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