Anyone working with important personal or client data should have a failsafe backup plan in place. It should enable quick recovery of both the PC’s Operating System and the Data files as well. We usually learn the hard way of it’s importance and end up spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars in data recovery services if the data is recoverable at all.
This is a quick tip on backup strategy that you most likely will find useful as well as my recommentations for backup software and services. It does require a basic knowledge of hard drives & partitions.
First let me say that I recommend having your OS and your data on 2 separate Hard drives or at least 2 partitions.
My favorite OS backup strategy is to create an image of the system partition with a drive image software. My favorite is Acronis True Drive Image due to it’s full featured and fairly easy to use interface especially on the recovery boot disk. Another one I used for years is Ghost (9 I think), as it also recoverd via boot disk in case of hard drive failure but may not be available anymore. The newer versions of it run in windows which I do not recommend for OS backup.
For backup of the data partition. I recommend that it be constantly syncing with a remote PC or a separate hard drive. There are various sync tools that can accomplish this for locally connected external or internal drives.
But what if there’s a fire in you PC room or it’s gets stolen or some other unforeseen tragedy that affects both the main and locally connected hard drives? For that reason I prefer doing an off site backup. You may have heard of Carbonite but have you ever tried to DL GB’s of data from a distant server? It could take days and depending on the stream from the backup server and amount of data perhaps even weeks! Not good for high volume users like myself. For that reson I prefer Crashplan. It allows you to perform off site backups to an office or home compupter and is free! (Unless you use the optional Crashplan servers). If you have more than 1 pc on broadband in more than 1 location it’s definitely the best way to go. Better than Carbonite or Mozy IMHO.
If you backup a small amount of data and don’t have more than 1 pc, then Mozy is the way to go (also free for limited data). Otherwise both Carbonite and Mozy are OK and recommended by many reviewers.