A Writer’s Backup Strategy: Part 3 – Remote Storage Options

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8 Responses

  1. LivSimpl.com says:

    Another good option is Dropbox (http://getdropbox.com). Not only are your files accessible from the web, but you can sync certain folders between computers as well, so you get backup and syncing for free. I’ve been using it for a while now and absolutely love it. It definitely beats .Mac’s/MobileMe’s iDisk.


  2. Dustin says:

    LivSimpl: I’m trying out DropBox right now, though I haven’t really done much with it yet. I’m hoping they allow users to change the location of the backup; I’d like to have it sync files from my desktop to my external hard drive, and from mmy laptop to the *same* external hard drive on my desktop over the network. So far, I only get one “box” on each computer. Of course, there would still be the copy “in the cloud”, accessible via the Web — but I want a redundant system. If DropBox goes down or even out of business, I want another set of backups where I can reach them!

    DropBox is still in private beta, too, so not everyone can sign up. Once I’ve played with it some more, I’ll probably write it up here and offer some of my invites to interested readers.

  3. Rachel says:

    Don’t forget my company, Memeo, which has a backup tool that will automatically backup your data to both an online storage site and an external hard drive, USB drive, iPod, FTP site, Network drive, etc. Also, if you are concerned about remembering to backup regularly the software has a unique feature that will instantaneously backup your files without any prompting. So the moment you save/modify/add a file it is backed up to any destination you like. It is the best of both worlds, fast local backup and safe, online backup.

  4. I’ve used Carbonite over the last 4-5 months and am pleased so far. It’s unobtrusive (except for the first time it has to back up the entire drive) and I’ve experimentally restored a few files here and there to test that function.

    Note, however, that it is NOT a disaster recovery tool. As best I can tell, it does NOT back up your Windows directory, nor even the files that make up the Windows registry. Nor, apparently, software applications. I’m happy to be proved wrong should somebody with more experience chime in here, but that’s what I observe.

    So, while most of us would gasp, fret and panic if we realized that we didn’t have a backup of our data and work files, we would probably just groan if we realized we needed to re-install the OS and application files.

    I believe that Connected, another online backup service, works similarly, ignoring OS and app directories.

    Also, I’m not sure Carbonite has a MacOS story yet.

  5. LivSimpl says:

    Dustin – Interesting idea of how to use Dropbox. From what I understand, you always have a copy on your hard drive, even if something were to happen to your files on their servers – your files are available on your computer even if it’s not connected to the Internet. Of course, you have a point that if their servers lose your info and then your computer does a sync you may be outta luck. 🙂

  6. Dustin says:

    LivSimpl: Actually, what concerns me is that my local file would die — or my PC would die — and I’d discover that DropBox was down. I’d rather have a backup copy on a local external drive *and* online, in case one failed. That said, DropBox is certainly a useful part of an overall backup strategy — it could easily duplicate Mozy’s or Carbonite’s functionality, especially if you have several “drop boxes” — one on your laptop, one on your desktop, and one (or more) on your mother’s, father’s brother’s sister’s, or anyone else’s machine. Then you’ve got some redundancy!

    John: True. This series is not about recovering your whole system — though of course that’s important — but about protecting a writer’s work. In the end, youquickly recover a fairly recent version of your entire system, and a way to recover your work up to at most a couple days earlier (and preferably up to the last hour or so). This series is aimed towards the latter need.

  7. Tom Colvin says:

    I’ve used Mozy and Carbonite for over a year now. I like Mozy particularly, because it pops up a message each day indicating the status of the online back up. Carbonite is so “invisible” in operation that it makes me a bit nervous. I’ve had occasion to retrieve saved files from both, and got both of them easily.

    I also maintain a local backup on a USB hard drive.

    I’m currently testing another new facility, Syncplicity. This one saves files to online storage, and then using it as the storage home keeps files syncronized on multiple computers. As I maintain three computers and travel a lot, this is ideal. So far I am very impressed. It’s also in beta, but it easy to obtain.

  8. Craig says:

    I use Carbonite at home. Very simple to set up. Set it and forget it. Inexpensive, too. Less than $5 a month for my entire hard drive. Worth it. Especially with our multiple gigabytes worth of digital pictures.

    I gave Mozy a spin around the block, too, just to be fair. I found the set-up very confusing. And two gigabtyes won’t come close to cutting it.

    I am sticking with Carbonite.