Backup Friday!

Scott Kelby today posts about their IT guy who’s drive recently crashed.  He labels today “Backup Friday”.

Funny timing, just last night after photo club we were hanging out and encouraging one of our members to start backing up her photos.  Where there’s moving parts it really is only a matter of time before something fails.  I thought I would write a post explaining what I do for backing up my work.

I have a few external drives, I head out on Black Friday each year and buy whatever drives are on sale for cheap.  I have a couple different drive enclosures for the different drive interfaces so I can swap them out.  If that seems a little too techy look for the external drives already set up.  At the time of this writing 500gb seems like the sweet spot.

For the actual backing up, I run Windows XP and have found Microsoft’s SyncToy very easy to use.  On each external drive I create a My Pictures folder off the root, then set up a folder pair in SyncToy to contribute from my laptop.  The contribute folder pair will add new files and updates but not deletions.  As my laptop drive fills (it only takes about a month and a half of photos) I can delete last month’s and know that I have at least two copies on external drives.

I run SyncToy at least once a week and keep one drive at home and one drive at the office.  As drives get larger and cheaper I copy my older work forward so that there’s even more redundancy.  There’s a few enclosures out now that have multiple drives and handle mirroring your data between them.  As they come down in price I will definitely be switching over.

For now though, it’s nice to know that my photos are relatively safe.  Since SyncToy is so easy to use I don’t have any problem remembering to run it weekly.  Can Apple users suggest something similar for use on Macs?