The fantasy of error-free hard drives



Congratulations! You’ve just recorded your 100th episode. That’s quite a milestone and it’s appropriate to take some time to stroll down memory lane and check out some of your older shows. What? The first 30 shows were on a hard drive that crashed? That’s OK, you can restore your old shows from a back up… right? I hope so…

Unfortunately hard drives aren’t as reliable as we would like them to be and every so often they crash. If the data isn’t backed up somewhere, it will take a lot of luck, plenty of money and a hard drive recovery service to possibly restore some of it. The last thing you want is lose all your podcasts, photos, financial data and whatever else you stored on that thing.

There are several ways to back up your important data. Your operating system (OS) has a built-in application and that’s a great start. You can set that up to back up to a completely different hard drive. There also are applications such as Synctoy that allow you to run backups and mirror data in two locations such as a second drive. Generally, a solution like this has both drives in the same location. This works out well if your primary hard drive decides to call it a day, but if you find yourself in an unfortunate situation where your house gets trampled upon by a stampede of laser-wielding unicorns, both the drives could be kaput.

I have a friend who on a regular basis backs up a third drive and stores it in a safe deposit box at his local bank. This is a great idea, but quite frankly that’s a lot of extra time that most of us don’t have. Fortunately for us, in the past few years several online “cloud”-based services have appeared, making digital archival quick, easy and inexpensive. Most of them are straightforward and function fairly similarly. You pay the service a few bucks a month, download and install its application and let it do the rest. The application locates all the important data such as profiles, media, photos, documents, etc. (You can control this if you desire.) It uploads and stores the data in the cloud on the secure redundant servers. On a predetermined, regular basis, the application will scan your computer for new or changed data and back them up. You can now rest assured.

Mozy, Live Sky Drive and Carbonite are only a few of the online backup options out there. Take a look at those and research some others to decide what is best for you. Personally, I use a combination of backing up to another hard drive as well as an online service. I’ve been very happy with it and feel a lot more comfortable knowing that when my house gets attacked by a pack of rabid gnomes, my digital data is safe.

~ Brian, creative director

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