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How often do you back up those files that you consider 'very important?'

1/1: How often do you back up those files that you consider 'very important?'

Constantly - RAID, etc. 81 (3.16%)
Hourly 21 (0.82%)
Daily 458 (17.88%)
Weekly 404 (15.77%)
Semi-Weekly 179 (6.99%)
Monthly 284 (11.09%)
Quarterly 232 (9.06%)
Semi-Annually 126 (4.92%)
Yearly 39 (1.52%)
Never -- I live on the edge! 131 (5.11%)
Never -- Macs don't crash! 193 (7.53%)
Never -- Backups are for wimps! 86 (3.36%)
Never -- But I feel guilty about it! 328 (12.80%)
Other polls | 2,562 votes | 20 comments

How often do you back up those files that you consider 'very important?' | 20 comments | Create New Account
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Authored by: Eravau on Sep 07, '04 11:35:39AM

I do it yearly...but feel guilty about it. The "Macs never crash" option is also a good one...and fairly true. The OS may not crash...but hardware does I found out when my iBook's hard drive froze up and died a few months ago. Backup is definately a must...even with a stable OS...because you may get the one in a thousand hard drive that dies.

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25% of polled never backup!
Authored by: dschwar1 on Sep 10, '04 12:50:04PM

Looks like about 25% never backup their files. Those folks are definitely living on the edge --

I'd recommend SILVERKEEPER for nightly backups to an external USB hard drive, as I have on my machine. It's free, allows you to do backups at 2 in the morning, even in SLEEP mode, without turning on your monitor or whatever. I only found this option after experimenting with many different backup programs -- this one is clearly the best.

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EVERY hard drive dies
Authored by: brandondrew on Sep 17, '04 03:20:19PM

True, I do have some old Conner drives from very old Macs, and they're still working. But it would be just a matter of time before they died if I kept using them. ALL drives die, eventually. This is the reality. It's best to face up to it and use RAID for your very important files.

Fortunately, OS X makes it easy to use software RAID (though that slows things down a bit) and if you're not using an iMac then you have plenty of room for extra drives. I put all project files (which change constantly and are very valuable) on a pair of mirrored drives, and run the system and have most other stuff on a single non-RAID drive. This way the slight delay only affects saving these files, and doesn't affect swapping or using the system.

Brandon Z

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Authored by: repetty on Sep 07, '04 12:12:38PM
The forms of RAID which duplicate files across disks (mirroring, RAID5, etc) should NOT be considered "backing up".

If, through carelessness or anger, an employee should delete files on a mirrored disk, they're just as deleted on one disk as they are on its mirrors.

These are complementary approaches to data integrity. One CANNOT replace the other.


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Ok, I'm paranoid :)
Authored by: nite77 on Sep 07, '04 04:21:04PM

But after last year, when my server's harddrive went bursar, I've been a little edgy about data safety. So, now everyone of my workstations have RAIDed (mirror) harddrives, and they automatically (two times a day) backup important data to server, which of course also has RAIDed storage.

Well, you never know? :)

/Nite - "can't rain all the time"
[ ]

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Paranoia increases with experience
Authored by: hmelton on Sep 07, '04 11:12:11PM

I'm a writer. I hate losing text! So, I have several methods all running concurrently.

(1) I run Retrospect to DVD on an old Mac which backups five Macs and one Windows laptop. It runs daily.

(2) I use Deja Vu to backup my home account on my laptop to my iPod on demand. Usually I do this daily to weekly depending on my current project.

(3) I make snapshot CD images of my working directory when preparing for a trip. I give these to my parents who live 500 miles away.

(4) I have written a Perl script that runs hourly under cron. It visits my working directories and makes a 50-60 MB copy of those files which are Most Recently Touched. This MRT archive is then mirrored, using psync (installed by Deja Vu) onto my .Mac partition. The OS then mirrors this archive to the Apple Servers, and then back to the home machine running Retrospect. So even on the road, my home Retrospect backups are picking up any changes I make.

So at any given time, my current project will be mirrored over several computers, off-site on Apple's servers, manually burned to CDROM, backed up to DVD by Retrospect, and copied to my iPod.

The interesting thing is that I don't feel that this is at all excessive.

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Paranoia increases with experience
Authored by: kirkmc on Sep 08, '04 04:29:04AM

If you've ever lost important files (I did; once) then it's not excessive. I find the belts-and-suspenders approach to be the best for backups. It has saved my butt several times.

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Paranoia increases with experience
Authored by: clytie on Sep 08, '04 05:20:26AM

Too right. TechTool Deluxe, that free AppleCare bonus, killed my hdd yesterday. Without my backup, I would have lost everything. I, too, use Deja Vu, which is a Preference Pane, so very accessible (especially if you use Prefs Menu


a very handy little utility which makes all your System Prefs. available from the menubar) and very configurable!

Backup, backup, backup. No excuse is worth losing all that effort you've put into acquiring your data, creating it and setting it up to save you time and effort.

Off-site and redundant (multiple copies, particularly in different locations and on different types of media) backups are best. Think of fire, flood and famine. (Well, someone could eat your information. :) )

from Clytie, still fuming about the damage

Clytie Siddall -- Renmark, in the Riverland of South Australia

iBook G3, 10.3.5, all updates current

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TechTool?? You fool!!
Authored by: Mija on Sep 08, '04 06:40:15AM

I suffered more than enough with TechTool years ago (OS 9 era). I tried to fix some minor problem on my hard drive - TechTool hung after some HOURS and I was unable to boot. I managed to boot from a removable drive and run again TechTool - after more than a day of "work" it stopped responding.
Then I tried Norton and seemed to (slowly) fix things; but the drive wouldn't still boot, and each new run of Norton would fix the same things again!

So I got DiskWarrior... and in less than 60 minutes everything was OK again.

It was SO ATROCIOUS that I swore I'd never use TechTool nor Norton again.

(offtopic rant OVER) :)

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:°°°-( I didn't backup enough...
Authored by: teomalchio on Sep 09, '04 03:06:42PM

...and last month I lost 60 GB of data... not all was valuable, but some very...
hardware failure on a new HD...
damned Maxtor!

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The data's priceless, so I back it up weekly
Authored by: pochrox on Sep 09, '04 11:57:00PM
Great poll! I back up weekly.. I store all of my data in one folder, then just copy that one folder to a 160GB external Firewire HDD every Sunday.

I used to use Disk Copy to create an image file of this folder (with "compressed" & "AES-128 encryption" set) and use that file as my backup, but it took a long time to produce and recently crashes with error 999 (maybe cause the folder is 12GB in size), so now I just copy it over.

As with most people here, the data in my computer (Powerbook G4 12") is worth more than the computer itself, so I at least duplicate the data. Which reminds me.. I have to back up my Email, iTunes, and iPhoto also! I guess I'll copy over my home folder.. I'll do that monthly tho; I'm too lazy. :O)

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Daily incrementals
Authored by: stcanard on Sep 10, '04 01:07:08AM

I've got a perl script that I created back in my Linux days that runs daily from a cron job. Does incremental backups and copies everything to a samba share on another computer. I lose my resource forks, but I'm not really worried about that.

I could stand to lose almost everything on my computer except my iPhoto Library. That's irreplaceable. It's just like in the pre-digital photo days. When the fire alarm went off in my condo I grabbed my laptop and my photo albums. Anything else I can replace with insurance.

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Different files at different times
Authored by: terceiro on Sep 10, '04 02:12:57AM

Like many other people, I back up different files at different frequencies. This ranges from daily (working files) to never (system files). Working with a laptop in a semi-public location, I'm mostly paranoid about theft. I'd be much more depressed about the lost work than the lost hardware.

One other reason why things get backed up at different frequencies is that I'm never completely satisfied with my routine. I keep wishing that .mac Backup would act as a reliable option for simple, brainless offsite backups. But the darned thing won't ever, ever completely work as advertised. Get what you pay for, I guess. Unless you're a Retrospect Express user, in which case you are just hosed and have to start over from scratch. Grrrrr.

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Different files at different times
Authored by: gourls on Sep 10, '04 10:46:10PM

Oooh, I have to keep all my files backed up all the time-once I have some!

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Authored by: gourls on Sep 17, '04 06:32:57PM
Sorry..........that shouldn't have been written. It's been a whole week, but the poll is so yesterday. When are we getting a new one?

if you must speak, speak of topics that may never be discussed again........... ....cheers, gourls

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Hopes for Tiger
Authored by: gospodin_david on Sep 11, '04 11:57:56AM

I noticed that Apple said that Tiger's UNIX utilities will handle forks, thus making tar and other archivers feasable options for backup. I'm eagerly awaiting that, however, what I really want is for dump and restore to work.

Does anyone with the Tiger Beta know whether dump and restore work properly with HFS forks? Does tar?

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Authored by: clarityprod on Sep 17, '04 03:39:59PM

Every time I do anything important I back up the body of work. If you dont you will end up in a very bad situation. Address book etc I back up every month depending on how many new people I aquire. Ive seen the night mares this can cause in production so I choose not to have these problems.

kenneth bailey
Clarity Production LLC

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Authored by: bedouin on Sep 17, '04 10:38:35PM

Vital projects I'm working on get backed up constantly. Basically, any time I make significant changes to something, I back it up. While using Word I constantly hit the save icon; I've had it crash before, and even rewriting <b>one</b> really good paragraph sucks. Some things you just can rewrite, especially if you were in a certain mood when writing it.

Other stuff probably gets backed up quarterly.

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Shame on me..
Authored by: yellow on Sep 20, '04 04:38:33PM

I don't back up enough. Semi-weekly is about the best I can manage.

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Importance of "off-site" backup
Authored by: rotaiv on Sep 21, '04 04:47:33PM

I have two hard drives in my Windows desktop. Each night, data is synced from one hard drive to the other (including a bootable version of the OS). The theory was that if one drive died, I could boot and retrieve data from the second. This has served me well for many years. That is until I accidentally wiped (using DoD standards) BOTH drives on my desktop. Please, don't ask ;)

Fortunately, I had a backup on my PowerBook of most of the important files. Much of the "archival" data was already saved to DVD / CD. What really saved me was my "daily email" where I compress/encrypt my super-important files each night and email them to myself. That email, combined with my other backups meant I did not lose very much.

Today, I still back up to my second hard drive and email my self each day. However, I have a brand new 250 GB FW800 drive attached to my PowerBook that backs up my XP/Linux/Mac machines at work and my XP/Linux/Mac at home. I used psync to backup my PowerBook and rsync via SSH to backup my XP and Linux machines (both at work and at home).

The psync and rsync commands are all scripted so I type one command 2-3 times a week and just sit back and watch. Access to remote hosts is possible via SSH public/private key authentication.

Once the backup is down, I dismount, disconnect and unplug the FW drive from my PowerBook to prevent any future "accidents" ;)

The question I ask people with regards to backups and off-site backups is imagine your home/office burns down to the ground. How much data will you lose? While I never said, "That will never happen to me", I did say, "I really should do something else with my back-ups one of these days". Now I do ;)

All this is to say, regardless of what you backup scheme/frequency is, make sure you also back-up "off-site" in case of stupid accidents, random acts of nature or any other catastrophic event.

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