MacMost Now 14: Backing Up and Archiving

Gary Rosenzweig takes a look at backup procedures, including Apple's Backup program that comes with .Mac, and Leopard Time Machine. He also talks about archiving and backing up off-site. Some 3rd party backup applications we found were Data Backup 3.0, Retrospect Desktop, Synk Backup and BackityMac.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 14: Backing Up and Archiving.

Hi, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now. How many of you back up your work on a regular basis? Let's see by a show of hands. Mm, not too many of you. I could tell some of you are lying. Backing up and archiving your work is very important. Let's take a look at some procedures.
How many of you do work on your Mac? Either maybe some word processing, maybe some artwork, could be anything. It's a good idea to back this up and archive it from time to time. a lot of things can happen, I mean, there's the catastrophic failure, like your hard drive failing, or your laptop getting stolen. And there's simply also, maybe accidentally deleting a file, or maybe modifying a file and not realizing you're modifying the original and not a cop, and you lose your work. Having a backup and an archive will help you prevent these sort of things.
Backing up should be done on a regular basis, usually using a piece of software on your computer. For instance, you may use the program backup, which is an Apple program that some with your .Mac subscription. What backup allows you to do is schedule regular backups, or do it manually. You can save it to a hard drive or even to a remote server, or to your .Mac account, if you don't have too much data to back up. the great thing about Backup is that it just works and it does it incrementally, so after your first backup of a lot of data, it's only backing up anything that's changed. Now, if you've moved to Leopard, there's already better ways to do this. There's of course, Time Machine. No that's not it, hold on. No, that's not it either. That's definitely not it. There we go. Okay, so, Time Machine is basically built into Leopard and it works automatically, you just have to give it a dedicated external hard drive and it will automatically back up your stuff. now it's pretty brutal the first time you run it, because what you should do is tell it to back up your entire computer, and this means backing up gigabytes of data. The first time you run it, do it overnight, but then after that, it's only backing up what's absolutely necessary and it will do it on an hourly basis and the great thing about this is not only is it protecting your data but let's say if you make a mistake and want to revert to an older version you can usually have one that's not more than an hour old, so it's very useful.
Now archiving is kind of the same type of thing, except usually you don't' do it as often and you usually do it to permanent media, like a CD or DVD. So all Macs for a while now have come with CD burners or DVD burners in them. So all you need to do is buy yourself a stack of DVDs and I usually just get them, pick them up as a spool and you can get them at pennies a CD or pennies a DVD. So really they don't' cost very much. And then what I do is I take my documents folder, and every once in a while I burn that to a DVD. Or if there's a specific project I'm working on, and say, I've just completed it, I'll burn just that project to a CD or DVD. Sometimes I'll actually burn two copies and put them in different locations. it's always a good idea to maybe prevent against something catastrophic like a fire to have a backup somewhere else. So maybe at a friend or a relative's house, or at the office, as opposed to home, or vice versa. Archiving is a great thing to because it allows you to clear off space from your hard drive once you're really done with the project and know that you've got probably two copies of it elsewhere, just in case you ever need to go back to it.
Now if you want to back up even better, then you probably want to do it offsite. That means using some sort of internet service where you can back up to a hard drive somewhere else through FTP. A lot of software such as Backup and some third party utilities allow you to do this. So you should look into that. Same thing for archiving. And if you're even just backing up to a local external drive, one of the things you can do is have two of these and have them at different locations. For instance, I have an external drive at work and I have one at home. I back up to both. So I know that at one location's my laptop one backup and at the other location's the other backup. So they're never in the same place. I don't do this every day, but it's nice to know I have a fairly recent backup at another location. I'll put a list of some third party software with this post at for you to check out if you not interested in using just Time Machine and Backup. So, backup, archive. it'll be good for your work and it'll help you sleep better. 'Til next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost.

Comments: 5 Responses to “MacMost Now 14: Backing Up and Archiving”

    11 years ago

    re: alternative occupancy for multiple cds of backed up work.

    there is also the possibilty of having your work on a virtual place such as google docs, which grants easy access. I was also thinking why is the time machine a good idea? it means buying an external hard drive when dell laptops offer double to 120 as standard?

    9 years ago

    is it not enough to just drag and drop the HDD icon to copy it all on an external drive?
    Would one be able to put it back into applications , lets say if one is upgrading to snow leopard?
    Or does one lose oneĀ“s data if one just upgrades to snow leoprad ( from tiger) ?

      9 years ago

      Not sure what you mean. You can backup by just copying the drive, yes. But it isn’t as efficient in many ways as Time Machine or another backup solution. And I don’t understand how it relates to upgrading. If you upgrade you don’t need to move applications back — unless you choose to erase the hard drive or something. A normal upgrade just replaces the OS, not the applications or documents.

    mike green
    8 years ago

    (new apple user) How do I view backed up files thru time machine and external hard drive?

      8 years ago

      Run Time Machine. Go to the Time Machine menu icon in your menu bar and select “Enter Time Machine.” But before you do that, go to a Finder window that shows the files you want to see. For instance, if you want to see files from yesterday that are in a folder named “My Projects,” then go to that folder first, then Enter Time Machine and you will be able to look at the history of files kept in that folder. You can also do it with photos, email, etc (see episode 237:

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