UK consumers often store valuable data only on their computers without backing it up, inviting disaster if hardware failure or malware infection strikes. Around a third (31 per cent) of 3,000 people surveyed in a new poll have lost important or irreplaceable information that they trusted to their PC. The survey, commissioned by …
I have a huge pile of dead hard disks amassed over the past 25 years, including one from last month, and I've been in the position of having a machine with a shiny new blank hard disk and a pile of backup floppies (or tape), so I guess I'm not a typical user. I have photos stored on three separate hard drives (one of which was the failed one from last month) and occasionally write a DVD for good measure to store elsewhere. It's not paranoia if...
I'm one of those statistics that has never backed up anything. On the 1 hand I've never had any sort of hardware or software failure that warranted restoring backed up data in 20 years of PC computing. On the other hand, it really is only a matter of time...
On some magical third hand, I have nothing really worth keeping on my PCs, other than some docs in My Documents, which really ought to be backed up somewhere.
... is all that is needed, family and friends all usually get the 'security and backup' talk at least once whenever I'm doing tech support for them which has resulted in a number of them buying external drives.
I have 2 ReadyNAS running RAID and a 500GB usb drive to plug in once in a while to back up all the pictures (cause I'm doubly paranoid about losing them and getting a proper kicking from the missus if I did).
Photos are the only thing people ever seem to care about getting back when I'm handed a dead/dying machine. The usual line is "yeah, get the rest of it back if you can, but I'm only really bothered about the photos".
There's going to be a domestic soon
I am going to stop doing any dishes etc until my partner sorts out all the crap they have "backed up" to the hard drive so that I can *actually* backup! I must have about 4 copies fo all their albums and laptop contents. Grr.....
Now, where is that rsync manual.....?
So, "Four in five (78 per cent) of us have completely irreplaceable pictures stored with no copies backed up or printed elsewhere.".
That'll mean then that 22% of us are now much better off than we were in the Good Old (pre-digital) Days when we only had one print of our "completely irreplaceable photographs", stored in albums or in a box in the cupboard, usually together with the negatives.
"Music downloads from the likes of iTunes can be restored here so the problem the survey highlights, which is genuine enough, seems to focus on data such as personal documents, emails and perhaps photos"
Music from some download places may be able to be recovered, but not iTunes. Apple changed the policy that apparently (never used it myself) used to allow purchased material to be redownloaded once, but now their answer is that if it's not backed up you need to buy it again.
I admit, I don't back mine up, but other than some podcasts and the free single of the week, the rest of mine is already backed up in the form of the original CDs...
Mirror vs Backup
A lot of the hassle I had in the past with "being bothered" about backing up is that all backup software is designed around traditional strategies, whereas at home it is highly unlikely you'll ever need a copy of that file you deleted three years ago, or historical versions of files, and you don't want to be rotating backups or messing around with incremental/full backup schedules.
Ever since I started using mirroring software instead of backup software it's been so much easier to just go "right, everything's fine? Yep, everything's fine. Ok, mirror it all to this external HD." Much less hassle, and when something does go AWOL or gets deleted by accident you just switch on the mirror drive and grab it out of the directory tree.
Combine that with taking an occasional image of your system partition (I use DriveImage XML - freeware that does exactly what it's supposed to) and you're laughing.
Some data is almost impossible for the average user to back up, thanks to the delightful MS Registry and the idiosyncracies of applications. For example, my ftp client must store site credentials somewhere (probably in the registry), but I've never been able to find them. A user space backup won't include this critical data. Oh for a return to .ini files - they were easy to manage and maintain.
But what they going to do with the backups when you die?
Oh the dilema ;)