Last week and this week, I have dealt with a few situations where I have had to setup backup systems or restore files or entire Macs from backups. I don’t have a story to tell, so I want to use this space to encourage you to make sure you have a proper backup system for your Mac!
If you have a Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard or 10.6 Snow Leopard, you can take advantage of Apple’s Time Machine software with any external drive connected to your Mac, a drive connected to an Airport Extreme, or an Apple Time Capsule (Wi-Fi router with built-in hard drive). I encourage you to get a backup drive larger than your internal drive, since Time Machine is an incremental backup technology, and will store multiple versions of files, not just one.
Check your Time Machine menu item (a clock icon with a counter-clockwise arrow) regularly to make sure you are getting backed up each day. If you are not, make sure you drive is plugged in, turned on, and that you have it selected in Time Machine in your System Preferences.
If you are running Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, or want an additional cloned backup for a newer system, I encourage you to use SuperDuper, a terrific shareware tool for creating an identical clone backup of your system. If you pay the $27.95 shareware fee, you can use the Smart Update feature, where you can have a clone update itself on a regular basis, which is much faster than re-cloning the entire system every time. There are also other tools you can use, including Carbon Copy Cloner, but SuperDuper has the easiest interface.
Don’t lose valuable photos, music, or email. Get backed up, and stay backed up!