Automatic Backups

18 months back I experienced a hard disk crash which resulted in complete loss of important data. I could not recover one file and lost everything. Why? Because I always had a notion that hard disks were reliable and trustworthy but after the crash I learnt that they aren’t. That’s why a thought of making backups of important files and folders never came to my mind. The hard disk was hardly 2 years old. I had two hard drives installed on my system at that time. One which I had been using since 2002 and the other one which I had purchased in late 2005. The amazing fact is that the one I purchased in 2002 wasn’t the one that crashed! It’s still fine and kicking. It was the other one that had. And the height of bad luck was that the one that’s still alive and kicking had nothing important whatsoever in it. It was the other one that had everything. From this you can learn and understand how unreliable hard disks can be.

Few weeks back I thought about this crash and wondered what have I done to prevent another one in the future? At that time I had taken no precautions or measures and so I knew history could repeat itself. I also knew I could do nothing to prevent an actual crash from happening again but I could instead take steps to at least prevent data loss. So I thought I would make backups on a regular basis but I knew that wouldn’t be possible in a practical way and also that after a while I would eventually just get bored of it. So I started searching for a software that would do this for me automatically. My idea was to store the backups on a USB drive that I would keep connected to the system all the time. Upon doing some research and playing around with trial versions of various softwares, I finally settled with Second Copy.

Automate backups using Second Copy

Second Copy has so far been a very impressive software and feature rich. It’s a software that can be used for making backups or for synchronizing files. Using this software I have created a profile for few files and folders that will be backed up in real time. What this means is that, say I have a very important file like a bank account statement or a document that contains vital information. If I want to make real time backup of this file I would just add it to a profile that continuously updates files so that whenever I edit and save it, an updated copy of it is made and is stored in the backup location that I had chosen. And all this would happen automatically in the background and wouldn’t require your intervention. All you need to do is set up a few profiles and that’s it. Also you can create as many profiles as you want

usb_drive

The reason I choose a USB drive is because it’s relatively cheaper as compared to other mediums like external hard disks. You could even use a second internal hard disk to copy the backups to but what if both the hard drives crash? Another advantage of using a USB drive is that in case of an emergency (I am serious here) like fire, you can take out the USB drive before you evacuate the building. Apart from this the other option you have for making backups in real time is RAID 1. But the cost of setting up RAID 1 is high and it’s not feasible for everyone

Also it’s always a good idea to regularly check the health status of your hard drive using S.M.A.R.T. S.M.A.R.T is a technology that is used to monitor the health of a hard disk and is present on most hard disks. A hard disk should be discarded as soon as it starts giving you problems because once a problem starts, it will only get worse and eventually lead to complete failure.

Posted on: 9th February 2009 | Comments (0)
Under: Softwares | Tags: , , ,