26 March 2013

What is your ideal way of backing up?

Just a couple of weeks ago, I conducted a training on how to use CrashPlan since quite a number of my colleagues at the beginning of this year were entitled to yearly subscription provided by my department. I though it will be useful to you guys reading this post of mine, to evaluate together how to protect your data. In fact, just recently, I have one colleague who contacted me, stating her external hard disk showing signs of "death" as her laptop is not able to detect it. Bear in mind, her hard disk is only 1 year old.
I asked her, "Did you use CrashPlan to back up your data?"

"You mean I can use CrashPlan to back up my external hard disk???"  She said.

"Oh! You didn't attend my training!" I replied.

My point is... sometimes, Ignorance ain't bliss after all.

SO how did you back up your Windows PC or your Mac?

Windows PC and Mac do shipped in with their own backup software which I will not talk about. If you are doing it on a regular basis, like weekly, it should suffice. However, if you are still looking for a better solution or alternative, 2 things I want to share: Dropbox / Sugar Sync and of course! CrashPlan

At least for your working documents like Word, Excels, Powerpoint and PDFs should be stored in either of the accounts, they do have mobile apps available for all Smartphones like iPhone, Google Android & Blackberry too, even your tablets like Nexus 7 or iPad. Keeping them in sync is one of the best solution they offered. Most importantly they are free! With a minimum of 2.5GB or up to 5GB even. It is like your cloud thumb drive literally! You can access it even if you didn't bring your laptop with you and access these files via their respective website. This, is also a form of backup. Minimum! 

CrashPlan offers 1 month trial of Cloud Back Up, after which it will be deleted from their Cloud Server but you can still use other free features like backing it up to your External Hard Disk, back up to your friends PC or Mac, other PC or Mac you have at home etc. If you can afford to pay each month S$7.45 or yearly S$75 for unlimited storage plan . You may want to see what other pricing plan they offer or view it in US pricing: https://www.crashplan.com/consumer/store.vtl 

Let's talk about their features:
  • Automatic, set-it-and-forget-it backup. You set your backup schedule (nightly, weekly, by-the-minute) and CrashPlan takes care of the rest—you don't have to remember to back up once you've set it up.
  • Back up locally. You can back up to any computer on your network, or any connected external drive. Assuming your house didn't burn down, the local backup is the one you'll go to first. (Just keep in mind that the off-site backup needs to be there in the event of a more catastrophic loss, like fire or theft.
  • Unlimited file size.
  • Incremental backup means CrashPlan only backs up the bits of data that have changed in a file—which means it doesn't have to back up the entire file every time something changes. This makes a big difference when you've got limited upload bandwidth.
  • CrashPlan keeps your files forever. Even if you delete a file locally, if it's been backed up to CrashPlan, you can restore it at any time unless you'd prefer they don't.
  • You can restore a file at any time from the CrashPlan client or via their web app.
Below is a short video on how to go about downloading, installing and setting it up.

At the end of the day, protecting your data is your responsibility and it is not difficult to get it done... so please get it done TODAY!


1. When connecting to your external hard disk to back up using CrashPlan, ensure that you changed the mapped drive to other letters other than D or E drive. This is to prevent CrashPlan to "synchronised" your back up to say "D" drive whenever you connect your thumbdrive or your friend's External HDD to your laptop.

2. Encounter 2 instances where Mac unable to connect to CrashPlan Cloud after a few days. Go to Destination, select Cloud and click the option to remove archive backup. This action will re-established connection with CrashPlan Cloud backup and resynchronised.

(Updated 2/4/2013)

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