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My (Most Recent) Deep, Dark Secret

by Kimberly on July 27, 2011 · 7 comments

I have a deep, dark secret I haven’t shared with many people. It’s taken me two years to fess up to it in public. But by sharing my secret with you, I hope that you’ll do things differently–and more smartly–than me.

What’s my deep, dark secret? I didn’t back up my computer for over two years.

Yes, it’s true. I, too, am guilty of extreme procrastination. For someone who spends 75% of her worklife on the computer…I was playing with fire by not backing up my computer.

I had created a temporary solution. I use–and love–Dropbox. So I simply uploaded my most important folders and files to Dropbox and used that as my backup. That way, if anything were to happen to my computer, those files and documents were saved in the cloud for me to access.

But this didn’t take care of all my documents, nor did it backup my photos and movies, many of which were of my kids and family (translation = priceless).

At the recommendation of friends and fellow Mac users Michelle Erfurt and Rachel Rambach, I recently purchased Western Digital My Passport Essential. It’s an external hard drive that plugs into your computer via a USB cord, is a little larger than a deck of cards, and is super-easy to use. Plus, it integrates with Time Machine, Apple’s automatic back-up software. My Passport offers loads of storage space (I purchased the 500 GB version, but there’s also a 1 TB version) and for $70-$110 dollars (depending on color and storage capacity), it’s well worth the money for easy-of-use and piece-of-mine.

And what if you’re a PC user? No problem! There’s a PC version of My Passport, too. I can’t speak to it specifically, but if it’s anything like the Mac version, you’ll have no problems!

Click these links to check out My Passport for Mac (the 500 GB version and the 1 TB USB version and this link to check out My Passport for PC (the 500 GB version and the 1 TB version).

I’m not exactly sure why I waited so long to do something so easy and important. I guess we all have our procrastination weak spots, don’t we?


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Tamara G. Suttle July 27, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Hey, Kimberly! I really believe that, in spite of our professionals standards and common sense, many of us still aren’t backing up our files. Go figure!

Like you, I put it off for years. Then, I transitioned to an external hard drive – where I continued to confuse myself (with the various versions of backups) – and that was on the rare occasion that I did back up my files!

Finally, almost two years ago, a friend convinced me to back up in the cloud via I love it! It backs up on the schedule that I tell it to – every day 2 x day and I rarely even know it is happening! Earlier this year my computer crashed. I lost everything . . . until I remembered Mozy. Then, with a really simple few steps, EVERYTHING was restored! Now . . . I’m a convert!

So happy that your external hard drive is a good solution for you. BTW – I use DropBox for file sharing . . . . Do you know if it is HIPAA compliant? I know Mozy is but would love to recommend DropBox as an option to my supervisees if it is . . . . Had never thought of using it for this!

Thanks for another great idea!

Stephanie Bolton July 27, 2011 at 7:02 pm

@Tamara– My husband is an IT guy, and he says that DropBox *can* be encrypted which would make it HIPAA compliant (or not depending on whether you enable the encryption tools). Hope that helps!

@Kimberly– Thanks for another great post and reminder! I’m also horrible at backing up my files, but that task is getting added to my to-do list very soon!

Kimberly July 27, 2011 at 10:40 pm

@Stephanie So glad you had an idea about the encryption–thank you! And for an added layer of protection, you can also password protect individual files. @Tamara I looked into a cloud-type of backup system, but was attracted to the storage capacity of an external hard drive and the one-time purchase fee. But I think a cloud option is a very viable choice and I’m glad you mentioned it! ~Kimberly

Rachel July 28, 2011 at 7:48 am

Nice post Kimberly-
as a word of caution as well- I have always used external hd’s to back up all my stuff- music, photos, videos. And then I realized I needed a back up for my back up! With external hd’s being so relatively cheap, made sense. I ended up having 3 external harddrives with my life on them. And then all 3 of them crashed. really? So I have lost all of that stuff. Sure, I could pay $1000 to fix them…..and maybe when I win the lottery I will….but for now- anything that you find really precious picture/video wise, don;t forget to also put it on a hard copy (disk or printouts)!!

Kimberly July 28, 2011 at 8:31 am

@Rachel Oh Rachel…I’m so sorry 🙁 I’m glad you brought that up…it’s an important point! It reminds me of this podcast I listened to from the Get It Done Guy: We actually had a similar situation with a $250 external hard drive that crashed and we lots a lot of movies, music, and pictures. Luckily, we had many of them stored in other places (e.g. Mobile Me), so were able to recover some. Still! Good point about keeping external copies if possible. ~Kimberly

Shelly Peterson August 9, 2011 at 7:55 pm

I have been using an online backup (which backups automatically) through carbonite. With this, I don’t have to worry about backing things up, it does it for me! I have not had to use it, but if I need to, I can access from any other computer and it will restore what is backed up. They don’t have capabilities to backup an external hard drive yet, but for $50/yr, it is quite convenient. You might want to check it out 🙂

Kimberly August 12, 2011 at 11:22 am

@Shelly Thanks for the recommendation! I think my husband tried carbonite once and didn’t have great success, so I will won my bias and admit I was turned away from online backup systems because of that. Perhaps, when I’m ready for an upgrade, I will give it a shot! ~Kimberly

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