What is your Computer Backup Plan?

Opened hard drive with top magnet removed, sho...
Image via Wikipedia

Today I was listening to an article on CBC Radio One about one reporter’s desperate hunt for a data recovery company that could salvage her entire digital photo collection. One day she was turning on her computer when the monitor flashed and ‘went blue’. Sounds like a Windows machine to me, but if there is one thing that is not different at all between ANY operating system, that’s failing hardware! As an example, I got my first Mac in 2003 and had the hard drive fail within the first month.

I have always had an underlying fear and anxiety around backing up my data. Most of my personal documents are backed up to my Dropbox account, but not my music, videos or most importantly my precious family photos. There are simply too many and I have 250Gb combined! Part of my anxiety is that I don’t have a bomb proof backup system in place for my most prized memories. My fiancee’s Mac runs hourly backups over the network through time machine. Recently her OS went down hard, and I was able to retrieve everything in a couple of hours. My Linux laptop doesn’t have a backup system in place yet, so I store nothing on it. Paranoid? Yup.

My biggest worry concerns my backup HD? When will it die? It will one day. So will yours. You can count on it…

I took a look at all my photos and family videos and now have 200Gb+ on that backup HD. Unfortunately most of it was run in iPhoto. iPhoto wraps its images inside the application and backing them onto DVD is a task I am just not up to. I would have to break up all those Events into 4.7Gb chunks. Ugh. This also makes me anxious. When will my photos not be able to be opened by some future application due to my past application choices? At least in the past with film, the hard copy of the picture could always been seen! Corrupt pictures meant something different 20 years ago. lol.

Too much for me to think about right now, so my current backup plan is to backup my large 1Tb drive onto another 1Tb drive and remove it from the house and hide it someplace safe(mom?). At USB2 speeds though, this task may take me a while to complete…Once I have a good automatic NETWORK backup for my Mac & Linux laptops, I will breathe a little easier…

What applications do you use to backup all your important digital stuff? I’d be interested to hear your computer backup plan!