Last week my hard drive failed. I had backed up less than 48 hours before and I was able to eventually grab the work from the interim before handing my Powerbook over to the technicians for 4 days. I now have a fresh clean hard drive, replaced under warranty. No real loss, except for the time spent in troubleshooting, taking the machine in for repair and collecting it, time spent setting up a (much slower) backup machine, transferring data, getting organised all over again and finally setting up this machine again.
One problem was that no single device was big enough to hold my entire hard drive so I had bits of information scattered across my iPod, another computer and various CDs.
Now my newest acquisition is a 200 Gigabyte external hard drive which will be dedicated to backups. I found a good price on a Pleiades 3.5″ USB2.0+Firewire 200GB 8M Cache external harddrive for NZ$350.
Take Control of Mac OS X Backups
For a good and instructional book on Macintosh Backups I urge you to buy (US$10):
- Take Control of Mac OS X Backups, by Joe Kissell
- PDF format, 103 pages, 780K download
- Initial publication date: December 2, 2004
- Version 1.1 revision date: February 4, 2005
- Price: US$10 (Free 34-page sample available)
And for us Kiwis — with the exchange rate so high that US$10 is less than NZ$14. That’s a book anyone can afford.
Joe Kissell’s book also clued me in to the RSyncX (free) software which I’ve started experimenting with. Initially I had a spot of bother, but once I formatted the backup drive as an HFS system everything went smoothly. I left it overnight to make a complete backup and that seems to have happened. Today I did what I hope was an incremental backup which took about 10 minutes all up, and again it looks right. Over Easter I’ll do some testing and some further reading.
Even though the drive was replaced under warranty this type of equipment failure is a costly business. There’s time lost in sorting out the backup machine, actually taking the drive in and collecting it, restoring the repaired machine to full working order and dealing with problems, such as Windows XP connecting to the Internet yesterday but not today. There’s a lot of time in that.