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“My Hard Drive Crashed…” (And What I Learned From It)

The most valuable part of a computer is also its most fragile: Data are the wealth of a digital lifestyle, a currency of which many notes are irreplaceable. At least, that’s how I felt staring at a “Confirm you want to wipe your hard disk” message, my finger poised over the mouse.

During an emergency is a bad time to plan for one. It’s the feeling one might get jumping from a plane before checking one’s parachute. That’s one experience I’d rather avoid, but it happened. Not the skydiving part. My OS was dying, and I wasn’t prepared.

People who make websites face a triple threat: Live websites need backups; test environments need backups, especially when they double as backups for live websites. Subversion1 and Git2 provide safety nets in case of data loss. But there are also support files: Photoshop files, fonts, reusable jQuery snippets — not to mention music collections, an essential part of many creative processes.

I kept regular backups of many files using Apple’s Time Machine3. But “many” is not “all,” and just then my Mac was too erratic for me to tell which fraction I had missed. After copying vital files to a handful of spare hard drives, I took a breath, formatted the disc and reinstalled the OS.

An hour later I was dismayed to see how many files I’d failed to back up. Photoshop files, local test websites, PDFs and most text files were safe. But passwords saved in the OS, cached emails, FTP bookmarks, application preferences and serial numbers, browser history, plugins, color swatches, copies of old browsers for testing… Gone.

Anything digital is susceptible to loss. For a recovering digital packrat like myself, who lives (and now dies) by the Web, data loss is a disaster akin to a tornado, which may also destroy backups kept in the same office as the original files. Fire, theft, spilled coffee, overwritten files, disgruntled coworkers, zombie attacks — I played out nightmare scenarios in my head. Then I began to research better ways to safeguard my digital life.

Two Safeguard Services Link

Offsite backup systems help with disaster recovery by storing versions of files in secure facilities. Many services exist, but I compared the $50-per-year Backblaze4 service to $50-per-year CrashPlan5+ Unlimited package. I’d read reviews of both before and often saw them compared against each other. Which was better? I wanted to find out.

My test environment was a 2011 MacBook Air running OS X 10.8.2. I tested backups from four different locations over a period of three weeks. Important note: While the online backup services I tested should also work on Windows machines, I didn’t have access to a computer with Windows OS on which to test. Anyone with backup experience on Windows or with services other than Backblaze and CrashPlan is welcome to share their experience in the comments.

Screenshot of DaisyDisk's colorful diagram of my hard drive

After two weeks of backups, I discovered a way to prioritize data. Using DaisyDisk6, I determined that the largest folder — my music — was also the most replaceable. I instructed Backblaze and CrashPlan to avoid music for seven days, forcing them to focus on documents and Web files. Once I saw that my vital websites and support files were in both services, I felt safe enough to let them archive my music.

To expedite the backups and placate my neighbors, I also backed up overnight for two weeks, using Caffeine7 to keep my Mac awake and calibrating my battery8 after 10 days of continuous nightly charges.

Starting Backblaze Link

Backblaze customers may install an application for OS X (10.5 and up) or Windows (XP, Vista and 7). On OS X, Backblaze is accessible as a System Preferences pane. Whether Mac or PC, while a user’s computer is on and connected to the Internet, Backblaze uploads the contents of the hard drive to a custom facility in San Francisco. The app was tiny, occupying 829 KB on my hard drive and using 10 MB of RAM.

After a quick hard-drive scan, Backblaze determined I had 92.7 GB of files ready to be backed up, mostly in my User folder. As advertised, it proceeded to copy my files any time my Mac had access to Wi-Fi.

The nature of Backblaze is set and forget, which I often did. Aside from its menu bar icon and an occasional network lag, the application did not draw my attention. I could view my archive through Backblaze’s website the day after installation.

Starting CrashPlan Link

Like Backblaze, CrashPlan uploads selected sections of a hard drive to the service’s facility in seven cities around the world9. It also works in the background, avoiding notice unless summoned. To that end, CrashPlan for OS X installs two applications: one program accessible from its menu item, and a second full program that provides statistics, account information and options to store data on devices other than CrashPlan’s servers. The menu bar shows how the current backup is proceeding, the current file being uploaded and pausing options.

Upon first launching, CrashPlan informed me that 101.6 GB was ready to be uploaded. I wasn’t able to determine why it saw more files than Backblaze. Backblaze claims it does not upload podcasts, but that didn’t account for 10 GB.

Comparative Features Link

From a casual glance, Backblaze and CrashPlan are similar enough to spawn their own patent war. Both systems share the same goal: to provide peace of mind by saving customers’ data on remote servers. Both systems work the same way, copying files via the Internet while the user works. But they differ in more than options, prices and controls. The more I looked, the more their differences became apparent.

Pause Link

Both Backblaze and CrashPlan feature pause buttons, the need for which I discovered after three days.

Editing a WordPress theme on a live website, I stepped away for a cup of liquid enthusiasm while my FTP program connected to the server. When I came back, it was still connecting. Even normally fast websites took up to 40 seconds to load. This was the kind of slow usually reserved for Murphy’s Law10. (True to form, it was an emergency PHP error on deadline.) The culprit was running both backup services.

Backblaze's drop-down menu controls

Users may set Backblaze to run once per day or manually, but the application defaults to “continuous.” Continuous backups may be paused until told to resume. It also resumes upon log-in — say, after a reboot.

Whereas Backblaze stays paused until told otherwise, CrashPlan users may pause with a timer for 1, 2, 4, 8, 12 or 24 hours. CrashPlan’s “resume later” mentality was handy when, focused on my work, I would forget to reenable it. That cut both ways. More than once, I noticed a sudden Internet slowdown as CrashPlan reactivated. Backblaze gave me no such surprises.

CrashPlan's drop-down menu controls

Both services stopped running when I put my Mac to sleep, switched users or otherwise logged out of my user account. However, both services can back up the entire contents of a computer’s hard drive — including user accounts not set to run the services. If someone else uses your Mac and you need access to their account, Backblaze and CrashPlan are happy to oblige.

Bandwidth Link

Although both applications stay out of the way, the fact that I was moving about 200 GB across the Internet did not go unnoticed. Neither backup service caused my Mac to slow down, but both I and people on the local network saw Internet speeds take a hit any time I had one or both running.

Slowdown was especially apparent as I was editing live websites. Websites at Rackspace11, Dreamhost12 and Pair13 became tedious with either service running. Even the act of refreshing directories with Transmit14 disrupted my train of thought. But were the problems consistent? And which service caused more lag?

To measure their impact on Internet access, I uploaded the same files, totaling 1.5 MB, to a remote Web server via FTP from different locations and different times of day.

One result was obvious. Locations with more than 10 laptops, smartphones and iPads jostling for bandwidth saw varied results. Especially because each test took between 5 and 15 minutes, demand for local Wi-Fi changed as people came and went. But running either Backblaze or CrashPlan always slowed my FTP upload and download time, regardless of the crowd.

Infographic of which service reduced my FTP speeds

The graph above shows the time it took to upload files to a website while either CrashPlan or Backblaze was running. Seven times, uploads were faster while CrashPlan was running than when Backblaze was. Four times, the opposite was true. Three times were too close to call. One time, uploading to FTP while Backblaze was running was faster than uploading with Backblaze off, a testament to erratic bandwidth usage at coffee shops.

Anecdotally, I learned to stop both services while working on live websites (transferring WordPress from local to live servers) or while otherwise performing network-intensive tasks. The blue shows upload times with neither Backblaze nor CrashPlan running. Not only was it faster in 13 of 14 tests, but turning off both services doubled my FTP speed.

At least, it felt like a speed boost. By chance, during one test I also updated software on my iPad via Wi-Fi. I thought the updates had stalled until I disabled the backup services.

Recovery Link

Backup is half the story. Getting files back is the other. Hopefully, few people will be parted from their data. But if the worst happens, customers of both Backblaze and CrashPlan can recover files via the Web. Customers can also use CrashPlan’s application and iPhone app to recover files — at least, on paper.

Backblaze’s Straightforward Process Link

Backblaze’s secure website lets users browse their files as they would their computer’s file structure. After I selected random HTML, CSS, JPG and PNG files from different folders for recovery, an email notified me that my files were ready on the “My restores” page. The selected files downloaded as a single ZIP file. Customers may also request their files to be sent on a USB jump drive for $99 or on a hard disk for $189.

Recovering files on Backblaze's website

CrashPlan’s Many Options Link

The full CrashPlan application allowed me to select backed-up files to download to a destination folder on my Mac. Although CrashPlan warned me that it was “unable to restore until we have synchronized with the destination,” my files downloaded with no fuss. But I made the mistake of choosing my already-crowded desktop to receive a dozen recovered files. This differed from Backblaze, which downloaded one ZIP file that contained one folder.

Recovering files in CrashPlan's application

Users may also restore files from CrashPlan’s Web application, although my experience indicated otherwise. While I had no trouble accessing my online account, five times over one week the website informed me it was “unable to log into server” to recover files. CrashPlan’s tech support said recovery via the Web was a known issue but had no estimate of when the problem would be fixed.

I never had problems recovering files from CrashPlan’s app for OS X. The iPhone app was a different story.

Backup to iPhone Link

CrashPlan’s iOS app15 (v1.3.2) allows users to browse and download their saved files to their iPhones. As with the OS X application, I navigated a copy of my Mac’s file structure by tapping the appropriate folders.

Tapping a single JavaScript, CSS, TXT or HTML document downloaded a copy of that file to my phone, after which I could read it as a text file in the CrashPlan app. The app let me copy text, email the file or open in other text-savvy apps, such as Evernote.

Rather than show source code, the app displayed HTML files as Web pages, including CSS styling, right down to clickable email links that opened my iPhone’s Mail app. Thus, I couldn’t tell, for example, whether a given HTML file had Google Analytics installed. PHP, JavaScript and CSS were legible as unformatted source code.

Recovering files in CrashPlan's iPhone app

For JPG and PNG images, the CrashPlan app offered to email, open in image-savvy apps or save to my photo roll. Files that it could not read — such as Pixelmator’s PXM files — were displayed as an icon, along with the file size and a “Send by email” option.

The app had two significant limitations. First, I could recover only one file at a time. Granted, an iPhone is not the ideal destination to recover hundreds of files. But if you want to restore whole websites, be prepared for a lot of tapping.

Secondly, a week after I recovered a few files with the iPhone app, some of those files did not appear on my phone. Although I downloaded a WordPress plugin, for example, according to the app, my “Downloads” folder was empty.

Backblaze has no iOS app — yet. At the time of writing, the company has only hinted that it is developing an app16.

Options Abound Link

The services covered here aren’t the only two that sell peace of mind. Services such as Mozy17 and Carbonite18 follow the same approach: back up all of a customer’s data to a remote, secure location. But design agencies and Web developers with dedicated computers might find advantages in selectively saving.

Mozy's product page

LayerVault Link

Aimed at creative users, LayerVault19 targets Adobe CS files, with an appropriately visual user interface. Its service includes full-sized previews of changes over time, collaborative change tracking and simple editing tools.

LayerVault's tour page

Dropbox Link

Dropbox keeps more than the files that people entrust to it; it keeps versions and deleted files20 for 30 days as well.

Dropbox's versions page

Evernote Link

This free note-taking software21 captures any type of information users throw at it. While Evernote won’t back up files on one’s hard drive, it is a good repository for HTML, CSS and JavaScript snippets and commonly used JPG and PNG files. Evernote notebooks can be shared, enabling a Web design team to collaborate on the same library.

Evernote's application

Backupify Link

While Google Drive (née Google Docs) resides in a secure facility, Google states22 that deleted files are gone forever. Backupify23 protects Google Drive and Gmail from users’ accidental deletions.

Backupify screenshot

Backup Buddy for WordPress Link

Designers who use WordPress have many options to save their websites, both local and remote. Starting at $75, Backup Buddy24 preserves and restores both the files and database of a WordPress website. If you have the files or don’t have the budget, try a database-only solution25, such as WP DB Manager26.

Backup and Migrate for Drupal Link

Designers on Drupal can use the Backup and Migrate module27, which does what it says. Drupal also recommends other backup strategies28 to save a website.

Choosing a Service Link

No one strategy applies to every user’s needs. But there’s enough overlap between Backblaze and CrashPlan to give would-be customers pause.

Ostensibly less developed, Backblaze offers fewer options, making for a streamlined service. One pricing plan and one application means that new customers can begin saving their data minutes after reading the sales pitch. Its business package29 follows the same prices but combines billing and data management for many computers into one account. The price per month30 decreases as customers buy more time: $95 for two years, $50 for one year and $5 per month.

CrashPlan plays to different digital needs with the following:

Both services worked well in my tests. While Backblaze delivers what it promises and no more, CrashPlan struck me as a business that targets specific markets. After using both for several weeks, I found Backblaze sufficient for my work. Your experience will vary, of course, and at the time of writing I have another 49 weeks with both. Which will I prefer this time next year? Time will tell.

Either service works better than doing nothing, as I discovered when I wiped my hard drive back to factory settings. Backblaze’s motto could speak for every service: “Back up, before you wish you had.”


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SmashingConf Barcelona 2016

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Ben Gremillion is a Writer at ZURB. He started his career in newspaper and magazine design, saw a digital future, and learned HTML in short order. He writes tutorials and facilitates the ZURB University training courses.

  1. 1

    What a mess. I just use dropbox. Beats all backup software IMHO. Files are on pc, laptop and online. Unilimited file version history. Not to mention browser access and easy sharing of my files. Currently testing Sparkleshare, an open source, self hosted alternative to Dropbox.

    • 2


      December 28, 2012 1:26 pm

      Data is always a mess. Backing up the mess is even more, despite planning for it. Files, photos, contacts, mail .. stuff like that’s fine and easy to backup. But like Ben mentions, how do you backup older versions of browsers, plugins installed in apps, data within apps that’s hard or cumbersome to export?

      Like someone said, we really need to re-think our computers.

    • 7

      You’re missing a big point here:
      The article isnt talking about backing up selective items, but making full backups of ALL your files, or at least all your professional data. Where Dropbox easily costs 100-500$ a year to be able to store large amounts of data (even the 500gb plan wouldnt be enough for a graphics designer over the years), Crashplan comes with unlimited space starting 3$/month

      So it’s not about usability and file accessibility, it’s about a cost-effective way to provide a failsafe for hard drive crashes…

  2. 8

    while reading this post, i was just remembered my friend, actually i too recommend to use only the Dropbox

  3. 9

    Generally I just work inside my Dropbox folder and run regular Time Machine + manual backups. That seems to do it most of the time, especially with Dropbox’s handy revert to previous version function if (and when) accidents occur otherwise.

    • 10

      Yes, I rely on my time machine as well. it works quite well and is reliable. Dropbox for sharing files and storing what I deem most important, as well as sharing across different devices like my iphone or iPad. It works great.

      However I believe that maybe absorbing the cost of a remote backup like mentioned here (aside from dropbox) would be a great idea incase for some reason your time machine blows up or whatever might happen to it. Think of all the lost files and such.

      I know my hard drive, i have files I move from my computer to the drive to save space.. It’d suck if it blew up on me. I’m going to look into getting a remote backup :)

  4. 11

    DropBox can only do so much. CrashPlan+ is the way to go (especially with a free year – just search for it). Best of all you can use CrashPlan+ with a buddy for free and back up your files (encrypted) to each other’s computers. With HD prices so low this is a very easy and cheap way to keep offsite backups.

  5. 12

    Some good info on these services, thanks. Using services like these is a good idea.

    However, it’s not the only option. I think that a good backup strategy should consist of two parts:
    – An archive backup, making it possible to go back in time and search for old(er) files or versions of files. Time Machine on Mac does this. Buy a very big harddisk and let TM make daily backups (or hourly if you want).
    – A bootable clone backup, making it possible to resume work immediately on an exact replica of your system complete with ALL files, settings, mail, etc. in case your system crashes. On Mac, programs like SuperDuper or CarbonCopyCloner do this.

    Then there’s (in my opinion) the necessity of having multiple copies of each backup. And at least one full copy of a backup in a remote place. I have one in a safe in a bank.

    I prefer working with external harddisks for this strategy. They are cheap, flexible, replaceble and using TM and Clone programs you’re sure everything is backed up, not only some folders you let a service like Dropbox backup.

  6. 13

    Why are you so adverse to the idea of creating a full backup of your whole hard drive. Whenever I format, I make a simple list of all the software that I need to move, along with all the settings and what not. Over the next months I will find that certain things were missed and I will just go back to the full backup and pull them over.

    Once I have been running the new hd for a few months I am usually confident enough to get rid of the backup as I know that I won’t miss any of the data it holds. Couple that with good organisation of certain config files (stored on dropbox) which are either symlinked or the software supports dropbox integration.

    1password then takes care of storing all my useful info. Gmail holds my email. I understand the need for multiple backups to avoid the loss of the computer and backup drive but I fear that you simply don’t have a very well organised mac if you were missing vital pieces when you formatted.

    • 14

      Precisely what advantage do you gain by selectively backing things up? None. You save a bit of drive space, but drives are dirt cheap. Instead, you add barriers to doing a backup (maybe not for yourself, but many people will balk at doing the “what do I need and not need” work). Back it ALL up. It’s irresponsible and unprofessional for any person who uses their computer for work to not do this and it’s ridiculous if the reason is monetary. Our apps and data are our work tools and product. For the price of a couple of lunches per month we can easily and completely protect every bit we have. To not do that is insane.

  7. 15

    Thanks Ben for a great write-up! Been looking at this same issue since my ‘then’ current server backups weren’t actually grabbing all I needed! [read: check settings closely!] Will go have another gander at them now that we’ve got your observations to bolster a decision!
    Happy hols!

  8. 16

    Carlo Rizzante

    December 28, 2012 2:43 pm

    Thanks for sharing this, Ben.

    Personally I backup everything related to my work across an iMac and a MacBookPro with Dropbox (including websites in local and MAMP files). It’s light fast, reliable and in short damn good. So, I’ve all my working flow and archive stored in two computers and in the cloud as well.

    I then backup the entire hard drive of the notebook with Time Machine.

    Dropbox has one limitation, though. It sync only the content of its own folder.

    I would add that both iCloud (if one use Apple’s devices) and Google Drive help in keeping in sync address books and documents.

    In my opinion we’re moving fast from the concept of backup to a new one, that I would describe as keeping our whole data synchronized across different devices (including a virtual one so far called “cloud”).

  9. 17

    Seems a major feature of CrashPlan is missing in the review above.

    With Crashplan the deleted files are archived forever while Backblaze will remove your deleted files in 30 days. So CP can double up as an archival tool or when you wish to free up your machine’s hard disk.
    (This comes from my personal exp with both the services. I am not affiliated to CrashPlan in any way. Am Just a regular blogger at )

    • 18

      We choose Crash Plan backup service too because of this important option. This is truly a backup service, and not a “sync”… My opinion

  10. 19

    While this article mentions Apple products so many times that it would be easy for someone to make the mistake of thinking that these services are platform specific, in reality there is a lot of good info here…except, slightly ironically imo, what platforms they all work on. My wife was using Carbonite on an old laptop. When it became too slow to use running the OS it came with, I formatted it and loaded Linux, which is what I typically do to extend the life of old hardware. That old Windows dog suddenly was one of the fastest computers in the house, not counting my phone. The problem was that Carbonite does not support Linux. So, with a tear in my eye, I “fixed” her computer and she was able to load her backups and we were off to buy her a brand new laptop that was slower than her old one running Linux.

    So, the moral of the story is to check carefully what platforms are supported when choosing any sort of service. You may be in love with your current OS, you may have bought into a whole ecosystem based around it, it may be all that you ever need for the rest of your life, but I wouldn’t bet on it. How many iOS users began as Windows users? How many Linux people started on one of the other OS’s? A friend and co-worker of mine was completely in the tank for Apple products, so much so that despite having a very good job, he worked weekend at the Apple store just for the discount. He was particularly in love with the iPhone. After 2 years of watching Android users being able to do so much more than he could with each release, he finally made the switch. The phone made him very happy, converting and transferring things that were done when he assumed he was forever Apple did not.

    At home I have 3 PC’s, multiple Linux boxes, and a Mac. At work we have those three and some UNIX servers. Your current situation might be totally different than mine, but your future one could be very similar some day. Using an OS-specific “solution” is a good way to find new problems.

    • 20

      Chris Scheufele

      December 28, 2012 7:37 pm

      @joepower, Crashplan supports Linux boxes, as well as, Mac, PC, and Solaris. They also have phone apps for iPhone, Android and WinPhone. Been a happy customer.

  11. 22

    Dropbox/skydrive or something of the like for your everyday files. As far as app data and such you can just ghost your machine once a month onto a disc (ew) or saved to one of our cloud storage places, a NAS, or external. With then you can restore everything exactly as it was with app data and the like.

    That all said. Moving to app stores and cloud storage, much of this is already taken care of. If you buy stuff from the app store the settings/data can be stored in the cloud instead of locally. So for many apps it is as simple as logging in with for example your live ID on a win box and your stuff is just magically there. We aren’t there quite yet but it isn’t far off.

  12. 23

    Before wiping OSX, one should always buy a new blank external drive the same size or bigger than your original and use Carbon Copy Cloner to create a bootable clone. Then reboot holding the Option key and boot from the external. It should look and act just like the original only a little slower. Now you can wipe the original without fear.

  13. 24

    It astounds me how many people write articles talking about the many variations of “backups” to save them when their hard drive fails – but fail to include even the slightest mention of RAID. It’s hard to take anything you’ve written seriously with such a glaring omission. Unlike the many internet backup services you’ve promoted, RAID is as fast as your system bus and drive speed, and is *truly* set it and forget it, without any performance impact after initial setup. And getting it up and running again after a drive failure can literally be done in seconds.

    • 25

      RAID all nice and well, except that so many of us are now working with laptops, tablets, smart phones, etc. [I believe Lenovo and Dell were once offering really expensive chunky professional laptops with raid drives.]

      • 26

        RAID is the best method. Period. I can agree that for whatever reason alot of design work is being on laptops and tablets (which boggles my mind as no tablet or laptop can ever provide the same serious performance, power, or multi-tasking capabilities of a desktop) and RAID is not a viable option for those devices. A happy medium for those users is a NAS with RAID in it – one time expense, no ongoing fees, larger capacities for less money, and scaleable as your needs change.

    • 27

      I prefer UNRAID to RAID myself. If one of the drives fails, I can just go about my business until I get the replacement drive. With RAID, I’d be SOL until I replaced the drive and wait days for the volume to be rebuilt.

      • 28

        Karl Kaufmann

        January 11, 2013 8:42 pm

        If you have a good RAID setup, a drive failure shouldn’t be an issue. This is what the system is designed to deal with–to keep you up and running in the event of a drive failure. Larger systems can even handle multiple concurrent drive failures.

    • 29

      RAID is all fine and dandy until your home office or business office experiences a catastrophe (flood, fire, etc). I think the article was focusing on off-site backup which is imperative to safe guarding data. If your business doesn’t have an off-site copy of your data then you are doing your business a great disservice. RAID is great for local backups but doesn’t solve the off-site part of the equation.

    • 30

      Karl Kaufmann

      January 11, 2013 8:39 pm

      This cannot be overstated…

      Especially now, where options such as Synology are available, where once setup is done, the backup is pretty much an appliance-type setup.

      To add to this, there are other services such as Amazon S3, which may need some more initial setup, but is a viable alternative for offsite backup.

  14. 31

    My (original) Hard Drive just crashed few days ago (on 21st) on my MacBook Pro, and when I opened Smashing Magazine today… Voilà!

    Great article, by the way, with a lot of usefull thoughts and information.
    Thank you!

  15. 32

    Its a good read Ben,
    In my opinion, putting all your eggs in a single basket is not a good idea.
    Imagine your password gets hacked or stolen and your files get deleted (or hacker deletes them), in the mean time you get a need to restore files. What you would do?

    I use two backup services to backup different files and backup most important files on both of the services, this way I always get at least two locations where my backup is saved.

  16. 33

    Simon Vangelder

    December 29, 2012 12:44 am

    Don’t forget to consider a home theft, fire at home, etc.

    Personally, I keep an 3.5″ external drive hooked up to my computer which makes two Time Machine backups of everything on my computer twice per day (using the free Time Machine Editor). It’s best to have a TM drive that is at least twice the capacity of your computer’s drive.

    Additionally, I make a monthly full backup (using CarbonCopyCloner) to a different 2.5″ hard drive which is kept at a friend’s or relative’s home. That way, if I lose everything in my home, at least there’s a backup somewhere else.

    It’s a cheap way to keep yourself covered.

  17. 34

    I believe that a good back-up strategy is starting with your local file structure!

    All my data is on a second harddisk partition (away from the operating system), and on this partition I have one directory called 00work (so it sits rather high up in the tree), where every client gets a subdirectory for ALL files related to this client.

    On top of each client’s files is another directory, called 00info, in which I keep all client related info like server log-ins, correspondance and copies of Skype conversations with the client, back ups of the robots-file (if needed) and other small tidbits like short memos, the source files for this client’s graphics, and even a copy of the client’s contact details, and so on… I usually create a new client directory as soon as I have the second communication with somebody – long before I start any real work!

    I also keep under 00work a directory called 00resources, where I store CD/DVD images and serial numbers of all my important software, template files, downloaded software and resources, icon collections, etc, all sorted into distinct sub directories.

    All this then gets backed up onto 2 different external harddisks and into a password protected directory on my own web server (I still don’t trust clouds). After a serious crash, or when changing computers, it’s a lot easier to re-install if you have everything as image files on your disk.

  18. 35

    The backup strategies outlined here sound complex. My setup is very easy to maintain. I keep all my important files in Dropbox, and synchronize that between my home and work computer. I then backup both of them with Time Machine. That is a total of 4 copies, in addition to the cloud.

    Perhaps one day I will pay for relying on Dropbox so heavily, but until then it is the best backup strategy I’ve had.

    • 36

      How much does 2TB of space cost on Dropbox? Yeah. $5/month for unlimited space on BackBlaze is a heck of a deal.

  19. 37

    I use CrashPlan on my PC and I set it up to backup at night with the schedule settings.
    I use Dropbox to store project files that I share with clients.
    I use Evernote to manage anything I need to be able to find quickly, as well as code snippets.
    I use Google Drive for creating and storing documents.
    And my code is hosted with Beanstalk / Assembla / Gitthub depending if it needs to be public or private

  20. 38

    I personally use skydrive, wich is set to backup a “work” folder on 2 computers at home and one at work. That means 3 local copies + 1 in the cloud.


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