Everyone using a PC knows that hardware can fail sometimes. A crashing mainboard or DVD-ROM isn’t that bad (ok it costs money to replace and you loose a bit of time before you can continue your work). But that’s nothing compared to a crashing hard disk. You don’t only loose money, you loose data as well. Some took a lot of time to create other data is just irreplacable.

Conclusion: backups are important!

I just got myself another hard disk, a 120 GB Western Digital 8MB to be precise and also an external USB 2 casing (it my bankaccount about 110 Euro lighter). About a year ago I wrote a backup script in kix, which does nothing more than make a mirror of a specified directory. So after about 2 minutes hardware installation and 1 minute reconfiguring that script, I got a new backup system.

The total crytical data to backup is 45 GB. After running about 100 minutes, the total amount was copied onto the new HD. (Which is about 7.68 Meg/sec write speed on average, which is not bad considering it’s an external HD).

Now is this a good way to backup?
Yes and no. It depends on what you want to secure. Do you want to still have your data, when your hard disk crashes? Then this is a good way. You have your important data in double, so no problem.
However, if you want to be able to do a point in past recovery, this isn’t the best way. For that you need incremental backups, instead of the synchronization method I use.
However this works for me. I can even store the hard disk easily in an other room or at an other location to prevent data loss when something happens to the PC (like fire, falling planes, collapsing roof,…).

One last tip, when you buy hard disks, don’t buy those huge 160-250 GB drives. Instead buy two 80 GB disks. This way, when one crashes, you still have half of your data (in case you didn’t back-up). Also your system will work faster, especially when copying files from one disk to another. When you do buy two disks at the same time, buy from two different brands. The chances that both hard disks crash at the same time is even slimmer then.

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