Back up your hard drive: Buying the Drive

Back in January I wrote about backing up your hard drive and just recently I got a Maxtor 500GB OneTouch 4 USB drive for for under $80 (USD) in Staples.

As of today you can also order one online, but it will set you back $139.99 + applicable sales tax. I can’t speak for the drive itself or the software since I’ve had it for such a short time but I’ve always had great respect for Maxtor products. Qucik searches for this drive:

Maxtor Solutions

Staples

Google

Back up your hard drive

THIS IS NOT
This is not an article about drive mirroring, which I will have to save for some future date. Drive mirroring is more important for a) those with the know-how and b) those who really need a more bullet-proof option than hard drive backups.

This is also not a step-by-step HOWTO written by someone who has actually done this – I just know its important and I’ll get around to it….. someday. Soon hopefully.

THIS IS
A wake up call for those of you who may not have thought of backing up your hard drive or a reminder for those of you who have forgotten, along with some tips.

WHAT IS BACK UP VS MIRRORING?
Imagine mirroring as a copy of your entire hard drive – all of your installed programs, data files, everything. Back up of your hard drive backs up specific data, but not programs. Sure you can backup C:/Program Files, but if you ever have to restore from your backup many/most of your programs will not work because you have not backed up other essential parts of the program such as Windows Registry entires.

BACKING UP YOUR HARD DRIVE
I subscribe to the Lifehacker RSS feed and found a real jewel – back up your hard drive. This is probably more important than most people realize, especially for those who rely on certain data and files on our computers. In my case my hard drive has countless files in My Documents, like many Windows users, plus I also have upwards of 175 websites. You can read Lifehacker.com’s Geek To Live: Automatically back up your hard drive for more nitty gritty details than I will mention here. My comments on the Lifehacker article:

  • SyncBack freeware is now SyncBack Freeware V3.2.14, scroll down the page past the paid versions
  • External Drives – A quick comparison of 320GB External USB Drives VS 320GB External Firewire/USB tonight on Tigerdirect.com (my friend swears by them). Anyway the USB drive was only about $20 less than the USB/Firewire, so if you have the money go for the US/Firewire combo.
  • FTP Back up – if you need to or have to start out backing up to your external hard drive and add FTP back up when and if you can. Running back up only mean if your original drive gets fried, your data is safe, but if your house burns down your goose is cooked.