Backups Part One

Backups Part One
Mac Tip#47/20-Mar-2002

In the almost 20 years I’ve been using computers there have been times when the computer has broken down or when something I was working on has got itself tangled up or corrupted.

Sometimes the problem has been me — I’ve trashed a file I didn’t mean to or saved changes into the wrong document.

The last thing I want to do when that happens is to start the document again from the very beginning.

So it’s a good thing I keep regular backups of my important work.

There’s a saying: it’s not if you lose your work, it’s when you lose your work.

Now many of my clients have upgraded to an iMac or iBook which doesn’t have a floppy drive so they can’t back up their work onto floppies as they used to do in the past.

But did you know that if you’ve bought a Mac within the last 3 or 4 years Apple give you space free of charge on one of their computers for your backups? They do that with an iTools account.

You need to have an Internet connection, but since these Tips come to you by email I’m guessing you have that part organised.

Many models of recent Macs also come with a CD-RW drive. The cheaper models of Macs just have a CD drive. You can use that to get information from a CD. With the newer CD-RW drive you can buy a blank CD and put your own information on it.

The next fews Tips will look at how to use iTools and CD-RW drives for backups, along with looking at what you should backup, why you should backup, how to backup and more.

In the meantime though: start looking at what you have filed on your computer and maybe do a bit of tidying up by deleting documents you have created which you’re certain you no longer require. File your other documents into useful folders.

I have one folder called “crucial”, for example, in which I keep my accounts, my email addresses and other items I really couldn’t bear to lose.

Then I have other folders for other documents, often organised by client name or project or similar.

One folder, named “fun” is just for fun items such as movie trailers which I’d be a little annoyed to lose but which wouldn’t be disastrous.

This gives me a hierarchy so I can better decide my backup strategy.

Bonus Tip: if you see something that was already on your computer (ie you didn’t put it there) and you don’t know what it’s for then don’t delete it! And for the moment, if something’s inside the System Folder, just leave it alone.

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