Saturday, 9 February 2013

What's your crash plan?

Just over a week ago my trusty hand built Windows machine horrified me by presenting me with this message:

"Back up your files immediately to prevent information loss"

Oh dear - I hadn't backed up my files on my PC for a few months and even then it was just to an external hard drive and the Mac was even worse - my apple time machine had been gathering dust in a box somewhere since I moved house. This has bugged me for a while so now it's time for action!

I started exploring options for backing up the data from all the machines used by the household. After totalling the size of the data I currently wanted to back up (around 140 GB) it became apparent that free cloud storage offered by the usual software suspects just wouldn't do. For starters these services are not really aimed at backing up the contents of your household computers, their focus is on sharing documents.

I then remembered a Hanselman blog post from last year where he documented his back up strategy. He uses a service called Crash Plan so I thought I'd give it a try. 

The software supplied by Crash Plan installed perfectly and was super simple to setup and use on all the household machines running either OS X or Windows and has just worked.

Crash plan also provide a free application for the iPhone and Android phones used in the house - this application provides me with the status of all backups and also allows me to access individual files that have been backed up when I want.

Now I don't have particularly fast upload speed on my line but one week later and I am fully backed up. 

The hard drive still hasn't crashed but I now know if it does all is not lost.