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Backing up my hard drive

509 Views 9 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  duckgeek
My imac lost its video card last week and I was hit with the realization that I currently have no means of backing up my stuff. There is nothing truly vital to be lost at first glance, but I it was a wakeup call when I thought of 5000 plus pictures in my iphoto library(!), not to mention music, my running log, and so on ....<br>
There is also checkbook stuff for taxes and some stuff that Mrs hup works on for work (most of which I have backed up for her on a usb stick.)<br>
So now I'm all about finding an effective method for backing up my system. I'm thinking an external HD but really don't have a clue just what to do and how to do it.<br>
Can any of youse guys give me the skinny on backing up? Suggestions for methods, drives, etc .... ?<br><br>
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If you have a newer iMac running Leopard (OS X v 10.5), or one which you can upgrade to Leopard, Apple's new Time Capsule / Time Machine is a really nifty and easy backup solution. You also get a high speed wireless base station out of the deal. The Time Machine software built into Leopard allows you to go back to any previous version of a file, or restore your whole hard drive. I just got a Time Capsule last week and it has worked out great so far. 500GB model is $300, 1TB is $500 & Leopard runs $130; typical Apple- not cheap, but really well designed and easy to use. You can also mount the Time Capsule as an external drive on a PC and back up your PC (requires Windows XP SP2 or Vista and 3rd party backup software).<br><br>
The less expensive route is to just buy any old external drive to connect to your Mac via USB and use 3rd party backup software. You can go this route for as little as $150- but you get what you pay for- less expensive drives can be less reliable. I have had external drives crap out on me before, and that doesn't do much good for backups, now, does it?<br><br>
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Depending on the type of backing up you do, I would up that to at least 2X the size of your original. If you just do a one time image, then you only need the same amount of space that your current files take up. However if you do incremental backups then the size of the backup set will grow over time. You may also want to save some space on your backup drive for duplicating your photo / music library so that you can easily copy them to another computer (ala thumb drive). You can always get your photos back by recovering them from the backup archive, but it is easier to just copy them.<br><br>
The Western Digital drive that I was using for backups before I bought Time Capsule crapped out on me; it's an over-sized paperweight now. I don't have any good suggestions for a cheap dependable drive.<br><br>
Haven't used CarbonCopyCloner, but it looks like a good option and if you don't like it you can always try something else. Besides, supporting Shareware is great for the IT industry.<br><br>
Time machine is the main reason to upgrade to Leopard. There are some other nifty UI enhancements, such as being able to flip through images in a folder similarly to Coverflow in iTunes.
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It looks like the drive you linked is pretty good, but I am not much of an external HD connoisseur, so I don't know how to compare it to others. Looks like the actual drive itself is a Hitachi DeskStar 7K160, so you might search for reviews of that disk.<br><br>
Time Capsule is really nice, but as with all Apple products, you pay extra for the "slick" factor. If you are also in the market for a wireless base station then the Time Capsule is definitely worth it. As has been mentioned before you can use the Time Machine function of Leopard with external HDs other than Time Capsule.
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