This scenario happens all too often. You sit down in front of your Mac and turn it on. Nothing happens. The hard drive decided to die without any warning.
Everything that was on your Mac is gone. Thousands of songs. Thousands of photos. All your files, your movies, everything.
Without a good back up strategy, your Mac life just got complicated, right? With almost any kind of back up system in place your files should still be there, ready to use.
The key question for many Mac users these days is, “What back up strategy should I use?”. It’s not an issue of “Will my hard drive fail?” It will fail. After that there are only two or three issues to consider.
When will the hard drive fail? You never know. When it fails how quickly can you get up and running again? That circles back around to the same question, “What’s a good back up strategy?”
Your particular strategy is totally dependent on the value of your files, and Macs are loaded with tens of thousands of files these days, and how much you want to spend to secure and retrieve those files.
An easy way is simply to get an external Firewire or USB drive, connect it to your Mac, and use Apple’s built in Time Machine software to back up your files. That’s a much better solution than no solution.
Or, you can use another hard drive and something like Super Duper! to clone the contents of your Mac’s hard drive. That gives you a removable, portable, inexpensive exact duplicate of all the files on your Mac.
After that, back ups get complicated, sometimes tedious, more expensive, and often require regular babysitting.
One of my favorite back up tools is the Drobo from Data Robotics. Think of it as more advanced than a simple extra hard drive, but with far more capacity and flexibility. Yet, it doesn’t have the complexity of a RAID array system or NFS, network file system.
Macworld has a rather detailed review of the latest drobo that features Firewire 800 for even faster back up and restore.
An extra hard drive can cost less than $100. The Drobo can cost $500 without any hard drives. Some RAID arrays and NFS devices can cost even more.
Apple’s Time Machine goes a long way toward making back ups easy, but not so much restore. Super Duper! clones of your Mac’s hard drive are perfect for near instant restore, but if your Mac loses a file, and you make a clone, the lost file is indeed lost.
Complexity and expense seem to be the common denominators among a number of trade offs. So, my question to Mac360 readers is, “What is your back up plan? ”
Does it work for you? How? Have you had to recover from a hard drive failure or other disaster? Any pros and cons regarding Time Machine? Share your view with other Mac360 readers in the Forums.