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computers macintosh

Backup Your Computer Hard Drive, right now

via: Virginia Hernan@NYTimes.com

A few weeks ago, my laptop suffered a fall onto linoleum that made its congenitally nervous hard drive more nervous even than usual. Fortunately, days later, the drive turned miraculously tranquil, efficient. Its anxieties disappeared, as if by magic. There was no freezing or whirring. I wrote some e-mail messages, surfed the Web and organized some photos before shutting things down.

There is no sadder admission by someone who considers themselves a competent IT Professional, than to say, “I resemble that.” I too suffered a Hard Drive mishap, caused by my own ignorance while upgrading my Mac from OS X 10.3 to OS X 10.4. The problem lay in an article I read on a Mac Enthusiast website that indicated there was a new user account migration utility built-in to the new installer on 10.4. So rather than run the Archive and Install option, which would leave the old operating system and all its files, I chose Erase and Install. Why? My mis-reading of the article on the enthusiast website led me to believe I could Erase and Install and then watch the User Migration Utility magically lauch itself. It would pull over my user folder and all the Applications installed on the machine originally. Leaving me with much less work to do once the OS was installed. Past experience proved that reinstalling all your old software takes forever, and I was trying to avoid that.

Joe Kissell
Taking Control of Mac OS X 10.4

via: TidBITS : Evaluating the Tiger Installation Process.

The key to this new way of thinking is Migration Assistant (the same tool that Apple provides to facilitate moving files from an old Mac to a new one). You don’t have to run this program separately; all its capabilities are integrated into Setup Assistant under the auspices of “File Transfer.”

So you can imagine to my horror as the erase and install was progressing, the Migration Assistant was not popping up asking me what I wanted to do. And by then it was too late. The Erasure was already wiping the drive or at least setting all the flags on all the files so that they appeared to be open, write-enabled sectors on the Hard Drive. And I didn’t have a full backup of the drive contents before the install. That was my biggest mistake, considering now I’m very familiar with disk cloning. I too have learned the hard lessons of self-inflicted hard drive mishaps. You should take heed of all these warnings too. Put down that iPhone, turn off that TV get on Amazon and buy yourself an external Hard drive and backup, backup, backup.

Data Robotics-DROBO
Data Robotics-DROBO
Categories
computers macintosh technology

Suspenders and a Belt: Tips for backin’ up your Mac

The Mac has Time Machine built right in
The Mac has Time Machine built right in

A co-worker has been working on a reporting tool to allow a Mac user to get reports from Time Machine whenever there’s a failure in the backup. Failure messages occasionally come up when Time Machine runs, but it never says what folder, what file or really what kind of failure occured. Which is not what you want if you are absolutely depending on the data being recoverable via Time Machine. It’s not bulletproof and it will lull you into complacency once you have it up and running. I tend to agree that a belt and suspenders approach is best. I’ve read countless articles saying Disk Clones are the best, and on the other side, Incremental Backups are most accurate (in terms of having the latest version of a file) and more efficient with disk space (no need to duplicate the system folder again right?) With the cost of Western Digital My Books dropping all the time, you could purchase two separate USB2 Lifebooks, use a disk cloning utility for one drive, Time Machine for the other. Then you would have a bullet proof backup scheme. One reader commented in this article that off-site backup is necessary as well, so include that as the third leg of your backup triad.

Since errors and failure can happen in any backup system, we recommend that if you have the available resources (namely, spare external hard drives) that you set up dual, independent backups, and, in doing so, take advantage of more than one way of backing up your system. This will prevent any errors in a backup system from propagating to subsequent backups.

One strongly recommended solution that we advocate is to have both a snapshot-based system such as Time Machine in addition to a bootable clone system as well using a software package such as SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner. Doing this will ensure you can both boot and access your most recently changed files in the event of either data loss or hardware failure.

via MacFixIt