Perhaps I’m just unlucky, but in the last decade I’ve had two hard drives (one desktop, one laptop) suffer complete meltdowns, to the point where all the files were lost.   The good news is that I’d backed critical files on CDs (the horror!), and more recently, jump drives.  Non-critical files, aka everything else, such as recent work files, were gone.  For the record, this is not a good thing.

After the second hard drive fried itself about six years ago, I invested in a 160GB external hard drive, and backed up my desktop’s entire hard drive. Every few weeks, I’ll sync the external drive with the hard drive to capture any changes.  Since I began blogging in 2008 and given our recent trips (i.e., lots of photos), this is even more important, and this system has in fact worked well.

So…   why backup files online? Isn’t that, oh, how do I say this?  Both redundant and an excellent example of an unnecessary expense?  Perhaps.  Read on, please.

Where does my external hard drive sit?  Well, it currently is located about 6″ from my desktop’s box.  This is a fine thing, except consider how a backup drive could actually prove to be useful:

  • Your main computer’s drive crashes and burns:  good news, you’ve got a backup!!  And in my case, this would certainly have rescued me.  So far, so good, right??  What else could possibly happen?
  • Uh, someone breaks into your home and steals your computer.  Guess what else they grab?  Your back up drive.
  • God forbid, your home burns to the ground, is flooded, or struck by a Category 5 tornado.  Your back up drive is of no use in these scenarios, either.
  • You are one of the unluckiest people on earth:  your hard drive goes kaput, and you discover your back up drive is also shot.  It could happen – extremely bad luck, or perhaps a lightning strike.

In any event, this is why I decided to try an online file backup system in addition to the external hard drive.  The particular online service I’m using is MozyHome.  They offer a free version that gives you 2GB of storage space (enough for your critical photos, perhaps, or your favorite mp3 files).  All downloads and uploads are fully encrypted using military grade encryption technology, and you can automatically schedule backups to occur daily, weekly, or whenever you like.  You can retrieve your files from anywhere, just by logging into your account.  Unlimited space costs about $60 per year; I found a coupon that brought the cost down to ~$46.

And for the record, I have no connection with MozyHome other than being a customer.  I’ve been using it for a couple of months, and it works flawlessly – once set up, you basically don’t have to do anything; it’s automatic.   You can learn more here:  MozyHome.  There’s a version for businesses, by the way, called MozyPro.

Speaking only for myself, of course, the additional peace of mind is well worth the modest cost. Are you backing up your files regularly?  Or not??  Please comment.

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3 Comments on Why I back up my files with both an external hard drive and an online service (MozyHome)

  1. Dinah says:

    This is a very good article.I love Mozy but at times i get sick with Mozy and this happens mainly when one is backing up large files.I had to switch to Safecopy backup and it is what am currently using.

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  2. Bill Balena says:

    A great and timely post!

    I spilled a full cup of coffee into a macbook pro last year. Liquid and macs don’t go well. I had no backup, but the drive was undamaged, thank God.

    A client who is an IT guy at a major hospital set me up with 2 backups. One an onsite external drive. The other is online. I chose carbonite after some pro recommendations. Recently I started using dropbox.com to network my office in the cloud. Install dropbox on each of your computers. Put you docs into the my drop box folder on your computer, and it syncs with the dropbox site, as well as all the other computers with dropbox installed.

    Now all my desktops, and laptops and netbooks have the most up to date version of all my data files. No restore needed.

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  3. Kevin says:

    Aaarrrrgghhh! I won’t bother going into the gory details, but suffice it to say I had an opportunity to test out doing a few web restores with MozyHome. It worked well, but in all honesty I used my external hard drive for downloading almost everything that I had in my iTunes music and video library. I’d backed up my entire hard drive on the external drive about a month ago, and since had only downloaded a few albums – those were on MozyHome. As long as you don’t select hundreds of files to restore all at once, the Mozy downloads are fairly quick. Back up your data!!

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