Back Up Your Hard Drive (CAD Manager's Toolbox)

7 Oct, 2008 By: Robert Green

You never know when you might lose your data — or even your computer.

I was recently on a trip to London where an associate misplaced a laptop and feared it had been stolen. As each hour passed without the machine being located, the mood grew more dour as the thought of the expense and the hassle of replacing all that data became an all-too-real possibility. And even though the laptop was backed up every week, the prospect of losing that last week of work made the situation seem even worse. Luckily, the laptop turned up later that day. But the lesson learned, with respect to data backup, was reinforced on both of us -- especially with regard to laptop machines.

I've been using an online backup tool called Carbonite for the past four months, and I've been very impressed with it.

The strength of Carbonite (see below) is that you simply tell it what you want backed up (I back up my entire C drive), and then Carbonite waits for your machine to go idle (essentially, when your screen saver kicks in). As soon as your machine becomes idle, Carbonite starts backing up everything that has changed to the company's secure data servers automatically, assuming you have an active Internet connection.

Click for larger image
Carbonite integrates with Windows Explorer to give you access to backed-up files on the Internet and control which files are backed up from your computer. (Click image for a larger version)

I've started leaving my laptop on at the hotel when I travel so everything will get backed up each evening. Now that my machine has been fully backed up, the process of keeping the backups updated takes only minutes a day. I'm confident that I've always got a backup copy on Carbonite's secure servers.

Now if I need to restore files, I simply use my Carbonite account from any Internet-connected computer. The convenience of this feature is great, and I also like the fact that I have all my files backed up to a remote site in case of total loss of my office equipment due to theft, fire, or flood.

Carbonite costs $50 per machine, per year (less than I'd spend on a backup drive every other year), and I never have to think about backing up again. I find it to be a great tool.

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About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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