What should I buy in the future to back up my stuff?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by applefan289, May 23, 2011.

  1. applefan289 macrumors 68000

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    #1
    I currently have a 27" iMac with about 60 purchased iTunes songs. I use a 2GB Sandisk flash drive to store the iTunes music (and some other files from my Windows computer) as a backup. When the 2GB is used up, what do you recommend I do to back up valuable things like iTunes purchases? Should I use my '06 HP computer drive as a backup (transfer iTunes folder to HP computer), should I buy another flash drive of higher capacity, should I buy an external hard drive, or should I use Time Machine (I currently have Airport Extreme). This is just a theoretical question for the future. I currently have about 1GB left on the flash drive, and I'm thinking of future backup options.
    Thanks.
     
  2. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #2
    I'd buy an external hard drive and back up your entire system.
     
  3. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #3
    External drive connected to Airport Extreme. If you want to really be safe, also go for off-site backup (Carbonite, BackBlaze, Mozy, etc.).
     
  4. applefan289 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #4
    Well, it's really just to back up occasionally my really important files, like iTunes purchases and text documents. I don't really want to back up my whole system, and I think a hard drive being connected all the time to the Airport Extreme is not necessary since I'll only backup when I create more files or purchase more music. So, I think it's really between another flash drive, external hard drive, or Time Capsule, but I think 1TB of data for me is overkill. I'm leaning toward a 16GB flash drive because I really don't need that much space. 1GB for me goes a long way.
     
  5. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

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    #5
    I suggest an external drive for Time Machine. 1 TB is a convenient size and these days they should cost under a hundred bucks.

    I also suggest an off site backup, especially since you have relatively few files. Dropbox might just serve your needs for off site backup. If it isn't enough, consider crashplan.

    Lastly, if you have multiple computers you can get a network attached drive for around 100 bucks. I use a LaCie which cost $149 at Microcenter. I also have a Time Capsule but I don't rely on it exclusively as I have had it replaced once already.

    I know this might sound like overkill, but wait until your hard drive goes belly up or you decide to buy a new computer and you'll be glad you had everything backed up. When I used windows, I used syncback to back up my important stuff to a network drive. When I got a Mac I simply switched off the Windows box, turned on my Mac, copied everything over from the network drive and I was good to go.

    Another solution for off site backup is to burn a CD or DVD and ask a friend to keep it for you or rent a safe deposit box (less than $100 a year).

    You certainly don't have to do all of these things but I suggest you pick 2 and make sure you do them regularly.
     
  6. applefan289 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #6
    If I hook up an external drive to Time Machine, do I have to keep the hard drive plugged in all the time, or can I plug it in when I feel like it (like after downloading a new iTunes song)? Will Time Machine back up my extra song or extra text document automatically?
     
  7. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #7
    I run Time Machine using a Western Digital 1TB drive. It's always connected and backs everything up every few hours or so. You can fit a lot of music on a 16 GB flash drive, but a regular backup drive will keep all your music, photos and applications safe for you. When (not if) your computer drive fails, you will really appreciate a backup plan.

    Dale
     
  8. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #8
    You can plug it in whenever you want to back your files up with Time Machine but it'll only backup what you currently have on your computer. If you've deleted anything in the mean time it's gone.

    Honestly, storage is so cheap these days you may as well go with a full external hard drive and be safe(r). Every computer I've owned, my wife has owned and my parents have owned has had a failed spinning disk hard drive. I'm so glad SSD's are becoming affordable.
     
  9. applefan289, May 23, 2011
    Last edited: May 23, 2011

    applefan289 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #9
    Is it possible to use an iPad or iPod as a backup device for music? If I lose everything on iTunes, I can upload it from an iPod or iPad, right?

    Also, my current flash drive just plugs into my Mac and it shows up normally where you can drag and drop files into the window.

    Would an external hard drive, like WD work just as simply, or would I have to reformat something?
     
  10. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    #10
    Is a drive connected to the Airport a supported Time Machine device? I thought Apple removed that capability.

    In any case, yes, I'd use Time Machine, and I'd let it work automatically 24/7. I agree that you should just back up the entire system, because disk space is cheap.

    I'd also set up an online backup system - Dropbox is a good solution for now while you don't have much to back up, but as that increases, consider going to another service like Crashplan.

    One of the most important things about backups is to make them automatic so that you don't have to manually do anything. You may be vigilant about manual backups for a few weeks or even a few months, but nobody is going to do manual backups without fail every day for years on end. Let the machines do that kind of repetitive work. It's worth the initial effort.
     
  11. scottlasak macrumors newbie

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    #11
  12. McRCN macrumors regular

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    #12
    Thanks for sharing! I am considering CrashPlan too after leaving Mozy.
     
  13. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    #13
    I'm loving it too. 650GB currently backed up, and I think I'm paying about $3/month! (paid in advance)
     
  14. mstrze macrumors 68000

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    #14
    Drives connected to Airport do function as TM drives, BUT there have been issues as they are not 'officially' sanctioned. In my experience, I backup my wife's MacBook to a USB 2.0 1TB HDD hooked up to the AEBS and so far over the last month or so, Time Machine has failed to recognize it twice. I can pull data from it, but TM doesn't recognize it as the drive I had been using for my backups, so it refuses to do any additional backing up and it must perform a full backup from scratch again.

    To the OP:

    Why are you limiting yourself to flash drives and avoiding like the plague one of the best free programs for backing up your data already included with your Mac (Time Machine)?

    Buy a 1-2 TB external for around 80-100 bucks, hook it up, run Time Machine and let it do its thing. The first backup will take a few hours, but each additional backup will take a minute or so as it only backs up whatever has changed in the last hour...in some cases that would be nothing (like overnight).

    Yes, you can disconnect and it will recover once you reconnect it...although it's likely to run a lot longer to update all the changed files since your last update. And, like someone else has said, if you create and delete a file between updates, those files are lost forever.

    I have my external always connected, I rarely see TM even working. It writes some data each hour and then does it again an hour later. I have my TM drive (a MyBook 1.5TB) backing up my internal iMac drive and my external iTunes drive (I have approximately 600GB of iTunes content residing on a 1TB external).

    With HDDs as cheap as they are these days, there is no reason to not use Time Machine to its fullest extent. Make sure you buy a drive that is at least 1.5 times the size of your internal. The reason being, that TM allows you to go back in time to pull files you may have deleted months ago or to restore your complete system to a point before you made major changes that caused you grief (as an example). As TM runs, you will build up this history and be able to go back and restore your system with ease.

    ASIDE: Buy.com has this 2 TB drive for $89.99 with free shipping.

    http://www.buy.com/prod/fantom-g-fo...rive-with-32mb-cache/q/loc/101/219577830.html

    All the previous being said, you do need an offsite backup for complete protection (although you certainly have been living with out that thus far). Maybe take your flash drives of your iTunes purchases offsite...or burn them to DVD once a month or so. Or use a cloud service, but be prepared for a HUGE upload when you do your initial backup...it could take a week or more to upload based on your ISP speed and other issues.
     
  15. applefan289 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #15
    Can I upgrade to Mac OS X Lion with the hard drive plugged in (and a printer)? Will there be any modifications to do on the hard drive once I upgrade to Lion?
     
  16. mstrze macrumors 68000

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    #16
    I have upgraded my computers from OS 7 or so all the way up to Snow Leopard over the last 15 years or so without any issues about what was connected. System upgrades do not fundamentally change the way your peripherals behave although sometimes an upgrade may make an older printer (for example) need to have a new driver installed in order for it to work.

    Certainly, there will be nothing that would affect external HDDs.
     
  17. applefan289 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #17
    One last thing:

    Can I shut down or put my computer to sleep whenever I want with time machine activated and the hard drive connected?

    Or do I have to "eject" the hard drive first?

    Thanks, all the answers have been great.
     
  18. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #18
    Buy a small number of external hard drives. Use these for backup and rotate them so one is near the computer and other are far away from it. One should be in a different building. Leave the largest drive connected full time and let Time Machine have access to it.

    One external drive is NOT a good backup. Well, OK it depends on if you care about the data. if it is just iTunes music all that is replaceable after a house fire or whatever. But if you ever get non-replaceable data you need multiple redundant backups and some copies off-site
     
  19. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #19
    Part of the "shutdown" process is to unmount any disk drives. Just click shutdown or sleep and it works.

    But remember that Time Machine does NOT protect against common causes of data loss like theft of the equipment or a fire or lightening hitting a power pole down the block or other acidents. You also need a backup that is not near the computer
     
  20. mstrze macrumors 68000

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    #20
    Although compared to the OP's current method of backing up, TM is overwhelmingly better.

    I would argue that what you list as 'common causes' probably end up being less than 1% of total data loss issues. The most common would be that the internal hard drive crashes and needs to be replaced, hands-down with the TM or CCC backup easily readable as a backup.

    As for the shutting down: My machine sleeps automatically after 30 minutes or so of inactivity. It also wakes back up when needed to serve music and movies to my AppleTV and my wife's laptop. I have 3 externals attached to it and have not had any issues.

    There have been some drives through that have given me problems when the machine sleeps. I get a complaint that the drive was not ejected properly before the computer was shut down or put to sleep, once it comes back to life. I wish I could tell you what to look for to prevent this..or if it's even an issue. Generally it's not.
     
  21. applefan289 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #21
    I ended buying the My Passport Essential SE for Mac 1TB.

    My iMac's hard drive is 1TB, so I'm guessing that if I were to use up all the space the hard drive would have no room for the items I deleted that I want to recover?

    Even with this in mind, I find it ridiculous that I have like 985GB left on my Mac, so I will in no way even get close to 1TB. Getting a hard drive with more space than that would seem wasteful, so I jumped right to the 1TB drive.

    I know I can format the drive myself for use with Mac, but I like how it comes set up out of the box in the correct format. Plus, I got a great deal on it.
     
  22. 100Teraflops, May 24, 2011
    Last edited: May 24, 2011

    100Teraflops macrumors 6502a

    100Teraflops

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    #22
    Also, you can buy an internal 3.5" drive, put it into an external enclosure and have a bootable clone handy if your internal drive pukes. I know that removing the screen from an iMac is not a task some people will attempt on their own, but having a bootable clone is a piece of mind in the event that something happens to your iMac. That is my current strategy, but I have an MBP. :)
     
  23. malnar macrumors 6502a

    malnar

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    #23
    Yes. I had to do this when my Macbook was stolen last year. I lost what wasn't on my iPod, obviously, but most was on my 160gb iPod (and what wasn't I had on CD and could re-rip.) It's not perfect - not everything is returned exactly how you had it set up - some artwork, ratings, playlists, playcounts, etc., may be messed up or lost. But it's better than losing everything.
     
  24. applefan289 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #24
    What happens though if your iPod is set to sync automatically? Would that mean it just copies what is on the computer to your iPod?

    If I ever have more iTunes songs in my library than on my iPod, would I have to change to manual syncing?
     
  25. mstrze macrumors 68000

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    #25
    Assuming your internal HDD goes belly-up, your new copy of iTunes probably will ask you before it does anything to the iPod...since it would be an unfamiliar iPod. But generally, sure if you have it set to sync automatically, it would copy from computer to iPod. Of course this is all moot when you have a complete TM backup.

    And WHEN you have more songs in your libarary than your iPod can hold you will have to sync manually. I can't recall ever not syncing manually, partly becuase my wife has music for dance classes that are of no interest to me, but also because I have always had far more music, TV shows and movies than my various iPods would be able to hold.

    And I know it seems impossible, but you will someday get close to having 1TB of files on your computer. ;)
     

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