Computers aren’t perfect. Files get corrupt, hard drives crash, motherboards malfunction, CPUs call it a day without notice, taking our precious localization data with them. Can you image losing your Translation and Terminology databases which took you years to perfect? Yet, you would find it quite surprising that most people don’t have a comprehensive backup solution in place.
Windows’ Backup and Restore feature (in W7: Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Backup and Restore) works to a certain extent, allowing you to create safety copies of your most important personal files or a system image, an exact copy of your system which you can use to recover your machine from a serious malfunction.
However, this process is lacking somehow since you are essentially storing your data on another hard drive which is equally subject to malfunctions. Not to mention that, in case of a fire, flood or hurricane, or if your house gets mugged, your entire computer would be gone in an instant, backup copies included.
About three years ago, I was persuaded into having my files stored off-site. I then spent a few weeks reading reviews of different suppliers and ended up settling on Crashplan. In addition to being able to back up your files to an external drive, the paid version of the software will allow you to upload them to the company’s servers in the US. This tool has a central interface with the status of your backups and how many files are queued up. By default, the software gathers up key personal files but you can manually add any file type to the backup, including system files.
After its initial backup, CrashPlan continually looks for changes in your system’s files in the background without any disruption whatsoever to your work. By default, the system will back up every 15 minutes, but that interval can be changed.
The initial backup can be pain point. It took me around 3 months to upload around 300 GB of data but in the hindsight it was worthwhile. The beauty of it is that I can not only access different versions of my backed up files but also retrieve them anywhere in the world via the on-line interface.
Aside from a few minor technical glitches here and there (promptly addressed by their customer support), I have nothing to complain about. Pricewise, Crashplan will set you back $60.00 per year ($190 for 4 years).
There are plenty of other solutions in the market, so have a look around and see which one suits you best. The bottom-line is back up, back up, back up. Better safe than sorry.