The Computer Guy's TroubleShooting Pages

Backing up your files
How to backup your files. Media choices. How that process can go wrong - schedules, slow connections, backup failures, restores and error messages.


Updated 8/5/99

 The Basics ... Why you backup.

. Backups are essential. All Harddrives will die. Floppies are unreliable. Tape has a definite lifespan. Properly cared-for, CD's will outlast your computer and your next computer.
. The files you create and your need to access a backup can be broken down into three catagories.
1] Your hard drive dies and you need to access the last backup of a file due today. OR you accidently throw away a folder with a file you need. OR you open a file, change it dramatically and save it - overwritting the original version. You can find last night's backup on: the harddrive or Zip or network drive you dragged a copy to last nite. Time: 1 minute. Or you can restore the file from yesterday's tape backup. Time: 30 minutes.
2] The last file you imported into your document last night, was a corrupt EPS. Now the file will not open. The backup last night also saved the corrupted file, so you need to access the backup from two days ago. OR, if you make sequential saves, you just need to find MyFile04 &endash; the incremental file save from two days ago.
3] Last night the roof leaked, both the server backup system AND your computer were trashed. You need to access the backup tape that was stored in a fire-proof box - safe from the water damage.
4] A client needs the file created six months ago, they are willing to pay 25% of the original fee for the file. You go to the Archive shelf, pull ThatCompCD#3 from the shelf and transfer the project to a Zip and courier it to the client.
The Reality
1] Last night was so hectic, you forgot to drag the file to the backup volume, you will have to recreate the changes that took you all day, yesterday to do. You loose the client. Cost $thousands.
2] You never do incremental Save As. Using just the Save command, you realize the entire project needs to be redone. Your boss asks you why you aren't better prepared.
3] Last night the roof leaked, all the tapes were sitting on the shelf with the server and are damaged. A file recovery service quotes a $100/megabyte recovered.
4] You only back up to tape. The tapes from that period were a format that you don't have a drive mechanism for. None of your friends have that size tape drive. You explain to the client, you no longer have those files.
The Ideal
1] All your files (the documents you create) are automatically copied onto a server hard drive twice a day. You never know it's happening but you can access a four hour old file in two minutes.
2] Once every hour you are prompted to do an incremental save of your project. It has become second nature. You open a previous version and recreate the lost two hours of work.
3] Each weekday, all new and modified files on everyone's computers are backed up. Only today's tape is removed from the datasafe. Each end of month a complete backup of all computers is done and taken off-site. You take the tape to your backup server and recreate your files.
4] As projects are completed, the files, imported graphics, project notes, and fonts are collected to a folder with job number. The folder is stuffed into a self-extracting archive and written to the client's set of CD's.
More Information
. Retrospect costs $150. It is a quality program and can backup Macs and PC's across a network. It is sciptable and backups can be set to happen any time any day of the week or month. Media supported include most tape drives (drive mechanisms $600 to $1200 &endash; 2.6Gb media $15) , Zips (drive mechanisms $129 &endash; 94Mb media $10), Jaz (drive mechanisms $300 - 2Gb media $100), and writeable CD-ROMs (drive mechanisms $450 &endash; 650Mb media $2.00).
. Dantz publishes Retrospect and their site, is a great source for information on hardware and backup strategies. Recommended.

. Shareware programs are available that will synchronize two folders (a folder on your hard drive where you save all files &endash; and a folder on another local harddrive, Zip, or server volume) This means you will always have two copies of all your files immediately available.

#Top of Page
Email your Corrections and Comments.

| Home | SiteMap | Services | MacInfo | MacInfoTwo | Processes | Solutions |
| DataBasePub | EstJobs | Classes | Misc |

Choose a Process

Back to Processes Menu