I have been running computers for over 20 years now and I have never had a hard-drive failure. I would like to think it is good management however it is likely good luck. I decided that I would I would practice good backup habits.
There are many different ways to back things up. You can use external drives, burn files to disk or usb sticks. It is good to keep backups at home and at another location. You can do all the backing up you want but if all of your backups are in one place they can be stolen or otherwise destroyed if there is a fire or something like that. Since I got an Apple TV, my investment in digital media has increased exponentially. I would really hate to lose everything. Plus, while Time Machine technically backs up your system, I have heard from others that the restoration may not be as complete as one would hope. I have taken a multi-pronged approach to backing up my main computer.
1. I have Time Machine running on Apple’s Time Capsule. It is a 1TB drive that backs up my iMac and my MacBook Pro wirelessly. I hope that if I ever accidentally delete something I will be able to get it from Time Machine. It would also form the basis of a restoration should I ever need it.
2. I have downloaded Carbon Copy Cloner that allows you to create a bootable carbon copy of your operating system so that if it goes down I can boot from that drive.
3. For my everyday documents I have chosen Dropbox. I came to Dropbox after my disastrous experience with iDisk and Mobile me. Dropbox is an internet program that allows you to sync your documents to storage in the cloud. You can then sync any number of computers to your files. As soon as changes are made to your files they are immediately uploaded and propagated to the other computers. Moreover, you can access your files from any computer with an internet connection. I can not say enough good things about Dropbox.* The best part about Dropbox is that it is free up to 2GB. I use Dropbox for all of my everyday documents for work and home. This way I have everything I need wherever I am. I love Dropbox!
4. I also have numerous external hard drives for backups. All of my iTunes content is backed up including content that I don’t have room for on my iMac. If I lose anything I can immediately get it from one of my external drives.
5. The final component of my backup plan is Mozy. Mozy is cloud storage for backup that is ridiculously cheap. You tell Mozy what you want to back up and Mozy keeps it backed up. After the initial backup which, depending on size, may take a long time to complete, Mozy will back up only files that have changes. In the event of a crash, you can then get your content back.
Everything I have read indicates that this kind of comprehensive backup plan will ensure that I will not lose my valuable data in the event of a crash. Like many computer users I have procrastinated about backing up my data. I feel better knowing that in the event of a problem I will not lose my data. If you have questions let me know in the comments.
*If you want to try Dropbox let me know and I will send you an invitation. The more peopleI get to sign up the more space I get for free!