Understanding the Difference Between Backing Up and Archiving

Many people confuse backing up with archiving. These are two very different things that both involve external drives and your files. But it is important to understand the difference and have both a backup and an archive for your Mac.

Comments: 6 Responses to “Understanding the Difference Between Backing Up and Archiving”

    Sue Dickie
    3 weeks ago

    How do you keep track of what’s on a given hard drive? Over the years, I’ve tended to accumulate hard drives, which now often look the same, and I have to plug each one in to see what’s on it. I’ve attached PostIt notes to some drives. Also, hard drives, DVDs and CDs have been known to fail. What do you see as the longevity of recent hard drives?

    3 weeks ago

    Sue: Posits or just regular labels. Or number/letter them and keep a document with a list of things on each if you want more detail. Life of digital media is a deep topic. Like I mention in the video, if you judge the data to be important enough, have two copies. Then “maintain” those copies by transferring to new media every once in a while (years). I usually do this when media tech advances, like transferring all of my floppies to CDs, then all of my CDs to DVDs, then all of my DVDs to 500GB drives, then all of those to 4TB drives. Even if media tech stopped advancing, every 5-10 years I would transfer digital data from an old drive to a new one.

    Lawrence Moore
    3 weeks ago

    I have moved thousands of archived files forward to new media from as far back as 1981 (Apple II+ Dos 3.3 days). But Apple has not provide tools to batch process the files to new formats–eg. VisiCalc & AppleWriter to AppleWorks to ClarisWorks to Numbers & Pages. Some transitions can be done one file at a time which is much too tedious. What do you recommend for historic data? Libre Office is the best option I’ve found for opening legacy files. Your suggestions as we transition to another chip?

    3 weeks ago

    Lawrence: It depends on the document. There is no one solution for all types of documents, of course. I usually don’t worry about it unless I actually need something in the future, then search for a tool that will work.

    Bruce M
    3 weeks ago

    I’m in the position you mentioned: not enough primary space, not ready to upgrade Mac. I archive the “maybe will need” to a RAID drive (i.e. One box with 2 drives that mirror). I separately archive the “I know I’ll never need but just in case” to a single drive. That’s my compromise.

    Jammi
    1 week ago

    My data is on 5 levels – iCloud (primary), Time Machine, Archive on external SSD, Archive on OneDrive, some important files on iPhone/iPad local storage. Because OneDrive has files on demand, I don’t need to plug in the SSD to get to my archive. No internet? Use the SSD. No SSD, no internet? iPhone/iPad local storage.

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