Spring’s on its way. Backup now — before you’re too busy.

I’ve writ­ten a lot about back­ing up your data over the years. But even though backups are import­ant, some­how they’re always 2nd or 3rd on the pri­or­ity list. ‘Some­thing to do when I get time’. And as Spring approaches, time is one thing that there’s going to be less of as pri­or­it­ies shift from inside activ­it­ies to out­side — yard cleanup, redis­cov­er­ing loc­al parks with the dogs, etc.

But back to backups. The key to keep­ing your data safely backed up is to make your data backup pro­cess so simple you can for­get about it, until you need it, of course.

In the past I’ve writ­ten about online backup as a solu­tion, but recently I’ve star­ted to use that as a sec­ond­ary backup sys­tem. My primary backup sys­tem is cur­rently loc­al hard­ware based, works flaw­lessly so far, and is simple.

The Hard­ware
In my case, it starts with the hard­ware. These days, USB drives are quite inex­pens­ive for their size, so I have three (500GB) units that I cycle through my backup routine. Each drive is naked — no fancy case — I use a Thermal­take BlacX dock­ing sta­tion to handle the SATA to USB con­nec­tion, which then lets me con­nect it to my com­puter. The drive simply rest in the unit and is then recog­nized by your com­puter as a USB stor­age device.

Which would be enough if I was to manu­ally drag and drop my files to the drive each time I wanted to back up, but remem­ber, I wanted it to be über easy. Which brings me to the next piece of hard­ware; the Click­free Trans­former SE USB inter­face.

This little hard­ware device sits between your USB drive (or dock, in my case) and one of  your com­puter­’s USB ports. Once it’s plugged in and moun­ted by your sys­tem, it asks to install the Click­free backup soft­ware, and then launches a backup ses­sion (which you can abort and con­fig­ure) auto­ma­gic­ally. Remem­ber I said I like simple and reli­able.

The Pro­cess
So, now that I’m set up hard­ware wise, how does my backup routine work, you may ask. It works like this:

  1. Con­fig­ure, or recon­fig­ure the Click­free backup soft­ware to include new drives or folders (both on sys­tem and mapped to my sys­tem but moun­ted on my net­work)
  2. Veri­fy or reset the backup time and fre­quency if needed
  3. Ensure one of my 3 SATA drives are moun­ted in the drive dock
  4. Carry on about my reg­u­lar work — the backup will launch at the pre­de­ter­mined time and execute in back­ground
  5. Now it gets a bit tricky with 3 backup drives, but here’s how I do it:
  • When com­plete, remove the SATA drive ( I’ll call it Drive A) and take it to a safe off­s­ite stor­age loc­a­tion.
  • Pickup the drive (Drive B) cur­rently at the off­s­ite stor­age and bring it back to be used later.
  • Insert the third drive (Drive C) that I had on site, but not in use into the SATA drive dock. It’s now ready to be the backup drive at the next backup ses­sion.

That’s prob­ably the most com­plex part of this pro­cess. I like to keep two drives on site and one drive off­s­ite. The most recent backup is always off­s­ite and safe. The next-to-most-recent backup is onsite and avail­able if I need to recov­er a file or two I know have not changed since my last backup. And the old­est backup drive is ready to be used for the next backup ses­sion.

And that’s all there is to it. The Click­free backup pro­cess does­n’t encrypt or com­press the data, so should you need to recov­er a file or drive, it’s a very simple mat­ter to get at the files.

Want one?
Now here’s the cool part — your backup pro­cess can get back on track thanks to the fine folks at Click­free; they’ve giv­en me a few of the Click­free Trans­former SE units to use as prizes in a con­test.

If you want to get your backup pro­cess setup before Spring has sprung (and soaked up all your free time), either enter the con­test (tell me your data backup hor­ror story), or you can simply order a Trans­former SE dir­ect from Click­free — and yes, I have a dis­count code so you can even get a deal on part of your backup hard­ware. Use Grier10 when check­ing out to get a 15% dis­count on your order.

So what are you wait­ing for…Spring is on its way and you know it will eat up all your free time. Save your data now, whatever backup sys­tem you use.

Published by Brad Grier

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