“Just because you’re paranoid…” Backup Then Backup Again

Until recently, I relied on solely an external hard drive to backup my photos.  As the amount of photos I had grew and the amount of time spent taking and editing them ballooned, I became increasingly paranoid that one day despite the backup, I would lose my laptop and backup at the same time to fire, theft or some other mishap. And as Kurt Cobain would say, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you”

A few weeks ago I lost my laptop in Switzerland whilst on holiday – scratch the first copy of photos.  This morning my backup hard drive went from a near silent whirring to an ominous clicking that seems to be the machine equivalent of a death rattle because there’s no more life in the old dog – scratch the second copy of photos. Of all the people I know who’ve had a hard drive fail, every single one of them has been a Lacie, no exaggeration.  So it shouldn’t have come as a huge surprise that the drive that failed came from this company.  Big thumbs down to Lacie, grrrrr.

The only reason I’m not throwing furniture or crying in a corner at this point is my paranoid self setup a third copy of my photo library online in ‘the cloud’.  Until this morning my online backup was just providing peace of mind but now its saved me from disaster.

Online backup services are now easy to setup and very affordable.  When picking a provider there are the obvious factors to take into account like What does it cost? and Will the company still be in business when I need my files back? I use a service called Crash Plan which costs $5 dollars a month and allows you to backup as much data as you want.    A less obvious factor to consider is the software provided to perform the backup.  Online backup is in general slow (depending on your internet connection) and it may take several days to upload your latest shoot.  With this in mind, you need the software to run reliably in the background and not have a negative impact on your computer whilst its running.  Crash Plan’s software seems uber stable on my Mac and has a nice feature to slow down backup whilst your using your computer and limit how much CPU gets consumed.  I haven’t tried there Customer support, but if you’re anything like me your first port of call is normally Google so this isn’t a big consideration.

This week roll of honor:

The Good – Crash Plan Online Backup

The Bad – Lacie Hard Drives

The Ugly – Whoever has my  laptop now

    • Severine
    • October 16th, 2010

    Yes back up online is the real solution !
    In 6 months, my boyfriend and I lost 2 external hard drives: Maxtor and Western Digital and 2 PC… Bad luck?? Maybe … Or just all electronics don’t age well.
    So back up, back up, back up : on your external drive and ONLINE above all!

    Thanks Jack for all your advices and great pictures 🙂

    • Dan
    • October 18th, 2010

    Great post.Am a very good fan of online backups.My hard drive crashed one time.This incidence nerely gave me a heart attack because all my files were gone.Well a friend later told me about online backups and introduced me to one named Safecopy backup.I gave it a spin and all went on well for me.Since then till now i use Safecopy online backup for all my backups.Online backups do not only save time but money as well.

  1. I’ve had an external hardrive crash on me too…it was also a LaCie. It was given to me for a project I was working on and I’ll never buy a LaCie again. A simple tip over from the vertical position on my desk had it clicking just like experience with yours.

  2. I agree to Dan. Though I usually back-up all the important files only. I find it hard to find a time to back up all my photos and files. For me, Online back up is the safest out there. Of course, also make sure that the security of the site you will be using for back-up is safe.

  3. So glad I read this post and acted on it. I backed up online recently and as soon as it I was done, a hard drive died. I wasn’t annoyed as a result!

    Do you think the hard drive got jealous about my online backup, and commited hari kari as a result?

    Nice post!

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