Monday, January 07, 2008

New Year's Resolutions: Backups

When you give advice, people are more willing to follow it if you do it, too. Right? So here is what I'm doing for my 5 New Year's Resolutions, starting with Backups.

My main concern was my USB drive. I have a colleague who recently lost hers, including all her recent work from several weeks, and several who leave theirs attached to other computers regularly. Yes, I've done that, too. I've never actually lost one, but I have had them disappear for several days, especially when I'm working on multiple computers that are shared. I've heard of folks who have put them through the wash (with mixed results), and the larger ones, at least, are expensive enough to be at risk of outright theft.

So, first I added a text file to the main folder on my USB, "If lost, please return to.txt". The file has my name, work address, email, phone number, and a reward statement. I hope that this will get it returned if I lose it. Backing it up is just a matter of copying the whole thing to a backup folder on my hard drive. Unfortunately, I can't use the Windows XP backup feature, because of the way the university computers are set up. So I have the choice of finding some third party software or setting a reminder for myself to copy the files on a regular basis. Ideally, it would be something that would automatically copy the drive or certain files/folders when I insert the USB into the computer, but it has to compete with the "free" nature of the reminder system. (So for those about to add a comment about your product or favorite service, please mention the price--you are competing with Free.)

Other than that, my backup requirements are pretty low. Most of my handouts and projects are online, so it's just a matter of saving archive copies every so often. When I finish a project, I move the files from the USB to hard drive or network space folders. Network space is backed up by our IT department, and it's easy enough to make a backup copy of the archive folders when I move something else in.

A lot of what I've done is more a matter of organizing things rather than actual backups. And that's more related to resolution #2: Clean up your computer. More on that later.

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