Did you know that there was such a thing as World Backup Day? No? Well there is and its coming up on March 3st, right before April Fool’s Day…see the irony there? The founders of World Backup Day are pretty much calling you a fool, so don’t let them be right. I thought it would be a good PSA to use today’s review to show the simple way that I’ve basically got copies of all my data at all times. All it requires is an external hard drive like this Seagate 1 TB USB 3.0 portable hard drive and an online account with someone like Carbonite (that Carbonite link goes to a free 15 day trial) or CrashPlan.
In order to simplify my life in the event of an eventual hard drive or computer failure, I’ve taken to storing all of my files in one of two folders. I’ve got one file for personal stuff (labeled BMG in the above screenshot) and one folder for all website related stuff (labeled OSG in the above screenshot) on my desktop. Of course these folders are full of additional folders and you may have a folder structure that makes more sense for you. Once I had everything organized into these two folders, the first thing I did was to make my first backup on my new Seagate USB 3.0 1TB hard drive. If you have a lot of files and a computer that supports it, definitely seek out an external hard drive with a USB 3.0 connection which will transfer data faster than a standard USB connector. Now you will want to make it part of a monthly or bi-weekly routine to repeat that process of backing up your files to the physical hard drive. So that was the really easy part, but not to fear, it really doesn’t get much harder to create the automated backup of your files.
Next I went and signed up for a 30 day free trial of Carbonite online backup, which appears to only be a 15 day free trial now, but still totally worth giving it a try. Once you sign up, there is a simple file to download and install on your computer so you can get started backing up your important files. Notice that mobile component too, we will talk about that in a minute because that gives you one additional benefit on top of just backing up your files.
Once you install the Carbonite backup software, it will prompt you through the setup screens, but above is the most important screen out of the whole setup process. This is the screen where you can select how you want your backups done, and in my case I opted for the continuous automated backup of just the two folders (BMG and OSG) that I mentioned on my desktop before. After selecting your setup options, you will want to grab a cup of coffee or a beer because this next part can take some time depending on how many files you have to backup and how large they are. Obviously you don’t want to backup your system and / or program files, but just the important stuff like documents, videos, spreadsheets, and PDFs. In my case, the initial upload / backup of all the files on my laptop took a few hours, but once its done you won’t have to go through that again. The incremental updates take place in the background one file at a time as you change them. The only other time you would need to go through the long process is if and when your computer or hard drive fails, which it will…they all do eventually.
Once I store new files in one of the two folders on my desktop, Carbonite automatically recognizes the files and backs them up online for safe keeping. In the screenshot above you can see that all but two files have green dots on the lower left corner, while two have yellow dots on them. This is a simple indicator to let you know that Carbonite has backed up (green dot) or not yet backed up (yellow dot) this file. This also happens at the folder level which you might have noticed in that first screenshot of my desktop where the two folders have a green and yellow dot on them. Now although I selected the option for updating files automatically, it doesn’t mean they are “real time” updates, but they usually update within a few minutes time and the yellow dots change to green.
Now you are all set, you have an online backup of your files via Carbonite that backs up automatically, and you have a physical copy of your files on the external hard drive. The best way to safeguard your data is to make sure you store that external hard drive in a different physical location than where the original files are stored.
Now the nice thing about backing up your files via Carbonite besides the obvious, is that you also have online access to your folders from any mobile device. I’ve got the Carbonite mobile app installed on both my phone and tablet so I can always access important files that reside on my laptop at home. In the worst case scenario of a computer or hard drive failure, now all you need to do is install the Carbonite software on your new computer and go to the “Restore” to select where to automatically start uploading all of your files on your new device. It really is quite simple, for the cost of a $60 Seagate 1 TB USB 3.0 hard drive and an online account with Carbonite (don’t forget about the free 15 day trial) or CrashPlan you can now rest easy knowing that your important files like pictures, resumes, videos, and financial documents are all going to be there for you even in the case of a catastrophic failure of your hard drive. You still have a few days before World Backup Day, so get yourself a new hard drive and an online backup account and backup all of your important documents before its too late. You will definitely thank yourself one day