Monday, August 09, 2010


That's the sound of the punch in the gut I felt when OIT told me that they wouldn't be able to retrieve any of that data: apparently, none of the retrieval machines would even recognize it as a drive.

Which means that I totally dodged a bullet by almost randomly deciding to back up many of my documents, and almost all of my most important documents, on Saturday night.

I can only imagine how I'd be feeling if I had not done that, because I would have lost: a year of teaching documentation mere weeks before my annual report was due, all of my work on my tenure file and annual report, and much of the writing I've done in the last year, including huge chunks of the book manuscript (see all that progress over there on the right?).

Frankly, I've been very cavalier about backing up, and this could have been a total disaster. Instead, this is only a minor disaster, and I've learned (I hope) a Very Important Lesson.

Sooo, internets? do you back up your files? anything systematic? simple? reliable? If enough of you give me good advice, I'll repost the findings.


Dr. Crazy said...

After an Almost Horrifying Event last year I bought myself an external hard drive that you can just keep plugged into your machine and it xfers everything new on your hard drive like once a day onto the external drive. Best 100-200 bucks I've ever spent.

undine said...

Dropbox. Dropbox. Dropbox. Seriously changed my life and saves me a lot of time. I also do a weekly backup on an external hard drive, but Dropbox is what I really depend on.

Horace said...

Yeah, I've gotten the dropbox suggestion as well as the external drive. I've also heard about Mozy, and SugarSync, which will sync multiple desktops and back them up to the cloud as well...Anyone heard of SugarSync yet?

Laura said...

I'm on a mac and have an external hard drive and using Time Machine to back up. Everything is backed up each hour! If you're a PC person, I know there are similar programs out there. The automated nature of the backups is what really saves you. When I was writing my dissertation, I uploaded every draft to a server that was backed up, but my photos, other documents, not so much.

I've heard of SugarSync, saw it mentioned in another post this morning in fact. It was recommended.

Jason said...

As I think I shared on your FB, Dropbox for day-to-day files (I use the free account). Dropbox acts just like a folder on your desktop, but it's really a virtual drive, so it saves in the DropBox cloud. And it syncs on other computers you sign into DropBox. And you can share DropBox files, so wife & I have a shared file that has some general household files than then syncs on *all* of our machines. And I also save my OneNote files there too, so I can access my OneNote on my laptop or my desktop (easy sync).

Then I set up JungleDisk using the Rackspace cloud, which means I pay ~15 cents a gig for storage. I have all the pics and all files (research, household) stored there, and it costs ~$9 a month. You can store it on the Amazon cloud too, but Amazon charges transfer fees in addition to storage fees.

I do *not* backup music anywhere but on the music players and an old backup hard drive I have sitting around, b/c I figure that's some of the easiest data for me to recover.

One note: if you sign up for DropBox, get a recommendation from a friend, which will boost *their* DropBox storage by .5gig or so. I think you can score recommendations like this until your free account is like 8 gigs. Also, I believe they give you .5gig just for doing the tutorial (used to anyway).

Good luck!

Rosemary said...

I'm late to this (pity) party, but let me offer my condolences on the loss of your data. There is no other moment in human life more likely to evoke the expression worn by the figure in Edvard Munch's "The Scream."

And I'll add another vote for Dropbox. And will use your experience as a cautionary tale, and be more diligent about backing my own files up.

Rosemary said...

BTW, there was a useful post about this on the Professor Hacker blog last week: