Help with automated backup procedure

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by inlimbo, Apr 29, 2005.

  1. inlimbo macrumors 6502

    Jan 29, 2005
    Sydney, Australia
    Hi apple-heads.

    I hope someone can help me out here. Ok this year im doing my Honours year and Im am writing a 100 page (20,00) word thesis. So im paranoid about in a few months time my PB crashing or something and losing all my work. So I need some sort of automated backup procedure.

    Basically I need software, hardware and procedure advice.

    Basically my thesis will all be written in M$ Word and will be probably consist of multiple documents (not just one huge doc file). These documents will be different draft chapters of the thesis. So in the end I will probably have 100 or so (Im just guessing here).

    Now it would be great if I could have a program/procedure (or apple script?) that does the following:

    Every time I modify a document it gets a different name (i.e. include the date in the filename e.g. if I modified chapter 1 today it would be called "chapter1_20050430.doc") and gets saved on an external disk. That way I can go back to the draft I wrote on the 3 June or the one I wrote on the 5 th April. So that each time I modify a document a new one is created rather than overwriting the previous.

    What software do you recommend for the backup procedure (it would great if it did it automatically without me having to do it) and also the automatic naming of the files.

    I was thinking of getting one of those lacie external firewire drives but then that might be a waste of money. Although my thesis will be big, with mutiple copies and probably 100s of documents, I don't really want to shell out a few hundred bucks when Im not going to use hardly any space on the drive. I think I could probably fit it all on a flash drive but is that really safe enough? Then again the lacie drive will be more stable?

    This is just idea of how the backup procedure could work. Maybe you guys have better suggestions. Anyone here had to write a thesis? If so, how did u manage it?

    Thanks in advance,
  2. inlimbo thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 29, 2005
    Sydney, Australia
  3. macux macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2005
    Maybe Rsync?

    Rsync might do the trick for you. I use the command line (terminal) to keep files up to date between computers, but you can also use it to keep directories synced. You could back up your data somewhere else on your disc or on an external disc. If the external drive is always hooked up you could use cron to do it at regular intervals.
  4. Hoef macrumors 6502a


    Jul 11, 2004
    Houston, TX..... (keep walking)
    I use an external drive (enclosure + my old HD) and Super Duper .... Work fabulous.
  5. MrKahuna macrumors newbie

    Apr 14, 2005
    Well, I can't answer all your questions but I can point out a couple things and give you some links to information. First, you're really asking about 2 different things that should be kept separate since they have different answers, revision control (versions) and data backup ( of said versions of course.)

    I'm not familiar with MS Word on the Mac but I know that on Windows it has the capability to keep track of versions. This may be an option for you. Check out this link. If you have OSX 10.4 you might be able create an "automator" script to do some of this too.

    For backups there are several things to consider. Keep multiple backup volumes, a lightning strike could take out your Mac and attached external drive or you could propagate an errant file deletion to your backup. Make sure some of those volumes are offsite, either online such as .mac or at some other location you have access to. You don't want a fire to wipe out your original copy and all backups.

    Check out these links for some good info. Link 1 is written around a tape backup solution but the concepts are the same. Link 2 has some Mac specifics.

    Hope this helps
  6. pulsewidth947 macrumors 65816


    Jan 25, 2005
    Something I found the other day is that Toast comes with automatic backup software. So if you have an external drive or CDRW you can set it to back up your data at a time you specify e.g. 3:00am.

    The backup software is called Deja Vu and appears in your system preferences.

    Theres some sound advice on here about the backups - particularly keeping a backup off site.

    When I did my degree thesis (12,000 words) I wrote it at Uni, so I kept a copy there, and a copy on a 256MB memory card, and a copy on my laptop. I synched up the changes manually each day so even if 2 of my backups died, i still had a recent copy :)

    Depending on how big your .doc's end up being (wether you have lots of pictures included), you may be able to get away with a 512mb/1gb memory stick - maybe an ipod shuffle? If you get one with no mp3 capabilities, you could save some money - its not really worth getting a 250GB LaCie if your only going to use 700MB!
  7. haravikk macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2005
    I've heard a lot of good things about Carbon Copy Cloner, I'm considering using my external HD as a back-up and this is one of the programs I'm looking at, it certainly seems to have a lot of intuitive back-up features.

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