2 More Simple Home Backup Solutions

Information Superhighway
Creative Commons License photo cred­it: nick­wheel­eroz

With the fin­an­cial crisis swirl­ing around this week, I took anoth­er look at ways I keep my data safe. To best achieve this, off­s­ite backups are a must. Should my com­puters become dam­aged or stolen, my data is still secure.

I’ve writ­ten before about Mozy, an effect­ive auto­mated online backup sys­tem, but recently I’ve dis­covered a couple of oth­er ways to ensure my data is safe. These solu­tions are simple file-copy based, but work well for most applic­a­tions.

Online Backup Redux
Syn­c­Back (Free­ware) is a simple yet effect­ive backup util­ity. To quote from the help­file:

Syn­c­Back Free­ware is used to back-up, restore, and syn­chron­ize files and dir­ect­or­ies, wheth­er they be on a loc­al drive, a net­work drive, an FTP serv­er, a ZIP archive, or on remov­able media.

And it does exactly that. Through my web-host, I have an FTP account that I’m using to reg­u­larly backup my extens­ive digit­al photo col­lec­tion.

Syn­c­Back simply logs into my FTP account, looks for changes in the file or dir­ect­ory struc­ture, and then syn­chron­izes the off­s­ite struc­ture with the loc­al one. Zip com­pres­sion is an option.

As a free­ware util­ity, it works well, though the full (paid) ver­sions offer more util­ity includ­ing data encryp­tion, CD/DVD backup and many more. View the handy com­par­i­sion chart for more details.

Simple Hard Drive Backup — really simple!
My next door neigh­bour (a bit of a hard­ware geek) intro­duced me to the Thermal­take BlacX USB Hard Drive dock­ing sta­tion. That’s a mouth­ful, but it describes the item.

Basic­ally, you plug this little device into any free USB 2.0 slot on your PC. Insert a SATA Hard Drive (up to 1 Tera­Byte) into the dock. A quick ini­tial­ize and format later, you have a fresh, empty HD on your sys­tem.

Setup time: under 2 minutes.
With the cost of drives con­tinu­ing to drop, this kind of per­son­al com­plete backup becomes more and more afford­able. My setup cost under $100, CAD.

Your Win­dows or Mac sys­tem will recog­nize the adapter and drive as a remov­able stor­age device. Which means you can now use your favour­ite backup soft­ware (Syn­c­Back works for this) to save your data. Or, simply copy your files and folders to the new drive.

When you’re done, eject the Hard Drive, and store in a safe place off-site. If you want to get fancy, you could auto­mate your backups to the BlacX drive, and cycle between two (or more) drives, keep­ing the most recent backup at work.

The one down­side to any backup solu­tion is the time to backup. Using Syn­c­Back you can sched­ule your backups to run even­ings or whenev­er you’re not using the com­puter. Also, to make your backup have less impact on your work, you could stag­ger your backup: Pho­tos day one, Doc­u­ments day two, Save games day three..etc.

So, between Mozy, FTP and off­s­ite HD stor­age, there are many good solu­tions for the para­noid user to con­sider.

Published by Brad Grier

web.tech.photog.comm. geek.hack