Should you backup your data?


macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 15, 2002
I was finishing a job yesterday when I heard what sounded like Steve Jobs' voice in my head: "You should backup your data." Then the voice became louder and said, "Backup your data now as data loss can occur at the worst time, like after you have finished that job." So, I backed up the data from the job and loaded iPhoto to review the work. Several minutes into the slideshow, the Mac froze with a control lockout and the slideshow would not go to the next picture, although iTunes continued playing. I did a cold boot, and as the grey screen changed to the OS X boot screen, the voice of Steve said: "That's why you should always backup your current data immediately. Thanks for supporting Apple." OS X froze at "Waiting for local disks" and there was no apparent drive activity on the IDE channel. Hard drive crash! But wait, I made a backup. So I calmly turned off the system and waited a few minutes for it to cool off. When I turned it on again, OS X did what sounded like a Verify Disk or Repair Disk operation and the system finished booting with no apparent loss of data. Having data backups reduces the mental stress of wondering if a day's worth of data will be recoverable.


Moderator emeritus
Mar 10, 2004
Bergen, Norway
That could have been very scary. Now you see the peace of mind you get when your backups are in order.

Moral of the story (for those a bit slow this morning): Backup your data regularly!



macrumors P6
Oct 20, 2002
My motto is to back up my data regularly. Better to be safe than sorry.


macrumors regular
Aug 29, 2005
i never backup my data or even mp3s , u know when u have like 50 blank dvd's and another 50 blank cd-r's but u just have the feeling that u dont want to waste a few cds to backup ur data :p

i dont have anything important except some images i took with my cam thats about it.

i nearly killed myself once when a friend came over a few years ago to format my old windows pc and install some apps , he didnt know what he was doing and so i lost around 20 GB of mp3s,data,school stuff,picx,my website(all of it including the audio files/images/html files) and a lot of other lil apps n stuff that u cant find anymore.



macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
Location Location Location
Kalinatek said:
i never backup my data or even mp3s , u know when u have like 50 blank dvd's and another 50 blank cd-r's but u just have the feeling that u dont want to waste a few cds to backup ur data :p
....he didnt know what he was doing and so i lost around 20 GB of mp3s,data,school stuff,picx,my website(all of it including the audio files/images/html files) and a lot of other lil apps n stuff that u cant find anymore.

Okay okay......I won't point out the obviousness of it.


macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2004
Mac since 7.5
I'm probably a wee bit overdue to back up both computers to my external FW drive and make new DVD's of the critical stuff. It's been almost three months. :eek:

Possibly a complete waste of time, and certainly it will be another lost weekend, but I can't imagine losing everything.


macrumors G4
Aug 2, 2004
I have an external LaCie d2 drive on both my Macs. On my Powerbook at work, it's backed up daily over lunch. At home, my iMac is backed up daily at 2:00am, since it's always on.

Having that backup has saved my bacon already on the iMac when I had a hard drive error, and my PB is over 3 years old, so who knows.

Edit: Just as a note, the external drive isn't that expensive (especially compared with maintaining DVD archives over time), and it's a heck of a lot more convenient.


macrumors 6502a
Apr 30, 2005
I would recomend just to back up your really IMPORTANT files the other ones that are not so important you can if you want leave alone.

I only back up my pictures for the most part.


macrumors 603
Jul 23, 2002
Fuquay Varina, NC
I backup pretty regularly and would advise everyone do the same. It can't be stressed enough.

Personally, I love the people posting "Apple <insert part here> died and now I lost 2 years of stuff! OMG! f bomb this, s bomb that, etc...Im going back to <insert other OS here>!!!"

All that was needed is a little effort and well planned backup and recovery strategy.


macrumors 68000
Jan 22, 2003
In your head.
Data loss never happens. People that recommend backing up your data make money off your expenditure of time and money. Don't do what I do. Don't keep a copy of all of your software keys and passwords and encryption programs on a separate USB key drive. NEVER BACK UP IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS OR ANY PURCHASED MUSIC!!! The truth is that if disaster strikes, you will be better off rebuilding your life from scratch. I admin. a couple of terabytes of mission critical data. The raid5 files servers are mirrored onto another identical pizza box. I have only had a RAID fail 3 or 4 times this year. Nobody has once commented on the fact that they haven’t lost any data or wasted any time (well I had to shut down the network for 4 hours once, but people just took a long lunch). Now if the network went down... I'd be noticed.

Blue Velvet said:
Don't backup if you enjoy surprises and living on the edge...
Really- I have no problem jumping off a bridge or out of an airplane, traveling in jungles with deadly critters and landmines, or in eating rat or spider, but I can't go a week with out backing up my keys and documents. How on the edge can I really be?


macrumors 68000
Sep 4, 2003
I back up every week, sometimes a little longer if i haven't added or changed much on the system.

My dad gave me his old Western Digital external drive because he didn't need it anymore so I've got two backups. I have all my important stuff on my powerbooks drive and older less important stuff labeled and stored on DVD so i just use both externals for back ups.

Talk about being paranoid :rolleyes:


macrumors 68030
Dec 26, 2002
Albuquerque, NM
Duff-Man says...I back up both my drives weekly, and backup the critical files I need almost every night....anyone that doesn't have even the most basic, minimal backup plan is playing with fire and will sooner or later get burned.....oh yeah!


macrumors 6502
Aug 1, 2004
Nara, Japan
All of our macs here are backed up once a week, when I say backed up, I mean the latest files are backed up. I have one Audio Video G5 that never gets backed up, because it does about one project a day and when thats finished we throw the files onto a external hard drive, clean the machine with utilities and shut it off.


macrumors 68020
Feb 3, 2004
Virginia Beach, VA
I do a full drive clone about twice a week. It comes in really handy sometimes. I haven't had data loss since I switched two years ago but one time I was having problems (ended up being bad RAM) and I thought reinstalling OS X might help. So I formatted and reinstalled. Didn't solve the problem. So I just cloned the clone back onto my HD and was right back where I started.


macrumors 6502a
Jan 31, 2005
Now that we've established the virtue in backing up, how about some methods? What's the best way to create a bootable image of the entire drive on another hard drive?


macrumors 68020
Mar 22, 2005
What kind of question is that, of course you should back up your data. You will only realise the importance of this when you lose you data. (Or for me, lose your data several times).


macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2005
Accoville, WV
It's definitely a good idea to keep everything backed up JUST IN CASE.

I usually do a backup to DVDs once a month. (The main reason I got a Superdrive)


macrumors 68030
Apr 17, 2004
A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
I still much prefer to keep my back-ups on smaller CD's

I just don't feel comfortable trusting that much data to
one disc of a DVD when that data is important.
However, I can see the merit of buring your entire Home folder
to a DVD if it would fit.

I actually NEED to run some backups and I'm out of CD's at the moment.

What to backup?

Downloaded .dmg and .pkg installers and updates and their matching serials.
Apple Software and Security Update .pkgs ( in "packages")
Mail .plist
Address Book .plist
Bookmarks .plist
Documents, e-books and pdf's
Tax return pdf's.
Photos, Avatars, Music, Birthdays etc.
Individual applications/project storage
Fonts, templates and loops
Firewall configuration .plist
Just to name a few.


macrumors 68020
Aug 23, 2003
Fort Myers, FL
emw said:
At home, my iMac is backed up daily at 2:00am...
I have a LaCie connected to my Power Mac as well. Backs up every night at 1:00am using Silverkeeper.
From LaCie tech support: Avoid 2:00am, as this is when OS X sometimes does its own maintenance tasks that can interfere with Backup.