Mittwoch, 7. Dezember 2011

Essential Office Equipment: External Hard Drives & Regular Backups

I had to completely redo my PC from scratch after a virus incapacitated it last week. If you've never had to do this - count your blessings! If you've been there before (blue screen of death, anyone?), you know what I'm talking about. It's not fun at all! 
And it takes a long time to reinstall not only the "big", obvious software like mail and word processing programs and CAT tools, but also all those nifty little programs and tools you've collected over time that make work and life so much easier...
But wait - this only works if you've saved all your data somewhere else, away from the PC and any potential viruses, and preferably not 6 months ago. 
As unhappy as I was about having to wipe the hard disk and reformat it and start from zero, if I hadn't been faithfully backing up my data, I might have considered changing profession and/or jumping off a tall building!

I cannot emphasize this enough: if your PC is the basis of your work life, you absolutely must have a back-up system in place and apply it, too!

Here is what I do:
- Daily back-ups of all work-related files
- Weekly back-ups of all important files
- Monthly complete back-ups
- Alternating between three (encrypted) external hard drives

I've been using Z-DBackup by Andreas Baumann, and it's been a life saver on several occasions already, but definitely this time around! It let's you set up several different back-up sets (e.g. I have one for work-related files, one for music and pictures etc.) and choose between creating one file or doing a 1:1 back-up. Also, you can select several different types of back-ups, such as complete or incremental back-up, which means that only those files that have changed from last time are being backed up, making things a lot quicker (this is what I use). Of course, regular complete back-ups are part of that set-up, as well. 
There are too many great features to explain them all here, and really, it doesn't matter so much which program you use (I guess you don't even have to use a program at all), as long as you do back up your data regularly!

Do you have a back-up routine? How do you do it?


  1. I use Carbonite, and it came in very handy this summer when my computer died. It took 2 days for all the data to download onto the new computer, but it was so worth it! Be sure to back-up your TMs and other data that you don't necessarily think about.

  2. Absolutely, Jill, TMs, term bases, glossaries and similar are on the must-have list! Also any license files for software (I had to dig through my mail archive folders to find some of them...) and the bookmarks of your browser (synching them if possible).

  3. - Acronis (with a differential setup) for complete backups of my computer drive with Windows and all the essential software, also Apple TimeMachine for Macs (occasionally, since I use my Mac only if the customer needs Mac files like InDesign or Quark)
    - a two-bay NAS for all essential data (Synology DS211j, also, Strato HiDrive has a handy Synology plug-in), the point is even if one drive gets broken, everything remains intact)
    - Mozy to automatically backup (twice a day) the files I'm working on

    "redo my PC from scratch..." - happened to me a couple of times (helluva times). Always aware it may happen anytime, though, not only due to viruses but also taking into account the intrinsic propensity of harddisks going kaputt, especially in summer.