How do you backup your computer/s?
This past month I’ve changed my approach and I wish I’d done it earlier. In this article I’ll tell you why I’ve switched.
For many years I’ve used hard drives onsite at my house and have then backed up those drives to others offsite at a family member’s house. The problems with this are numerous.
Maybe you can relate.
So Much Data
Firstly – the size of our backups keeps growing as we take more photos, videos and create more docs. While some of these can backup to the cloud you can end up with bits of backups everywhere (iCloud, google drive, dropbox…. you get the picture).
I decided a few years ago to let iCloud backup all our phones photos, videos and other data – but prefer to have all computer’s data somewhere else (because iCloud gets expensive) and they have a 2TB limit per account!). To have it all in the one place means I have to keep getting bigger hard drives every few years. And it’s not just one drive – I like to have a backup of the backup!
Back in the day I was able to back everything up onto a drive of 500GB… those days are long gone. This is partly because digital camera sensors keep getting bigger (and so their files take more space) and we’re also creating bigger files because our kids are using more and more multi-media at school and for fun.
Of course we now also have five of us (2 parents, 3 children in our household) creating stuff to take up space! Our house has six active computers (soon to be seven when our youngest starts high school) and our eldest is now making short films as part of his study. All up we’ve got something like 16TB of files on our computers!
Hard Drives Fail
Another issue with hard drives is that every few years I find one of them will fail. As a result I’m not just buying new ones because they’re not big enough – but to replace the corrupted ones. So it’s all become something of a mess. I’m not overly technical so setting up a backup system was taking time and I was juggling hard drives to make sure they were big enough and then trying to manage backing up the backups and taking them over to my family’s house…. arrrrgggh!
For a few years now I’ve been waking up in the night – wondering if all our photos would be ok if we had a fire and stressed that a crucial drive would break.
The anxiety was real!
I’ve wondered for a while whether a backup to the cloud might be a solution and started looking at the options. This week I bit the bullet and decided to back up one of the computers to the cloud – to see how long it would take and how hard it was.
I chose Backblaze as the service to test. Every review I read said they were simple to use, had a free trial and best of all were cheap (just $7 a month with unlimited data)! Sounds good to me!
You can check out what they offer here: https://problo.gr/Backblaze
Disclaimer: that is an affiliate link meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my link, at no cost to you – but I’m a paying customer already. The commission is just 70cents if you sign up so I’m not expecting to get rich from this.
Let me tell you how I found the process.
It was SOOOO easy!
You literally install an app to your computer, give the app permission to access your files and before you know it it is already at work backing up your files. You can tell it not to back up certain parts of your computer if you like but as I mentioned above there is no limit to how much you can back up – $7 per computer even if that device has a TONNE of stuff on it.
The backup upload was actually pretty quick. This will vary depending on internet speed but ours isn’t super fast and my 1st computer (1.5TB) uploaded in 24 hours. It self throttles if you’re using your computer for other things and I didn’t really notice anything slowing down. Since then I’ve noticed it updates continuously as needed.
In terms of getting files if you need them – there are a few ways you can do it. Login to Backblaze and you’ll see all your files and folders – just as they appear on your hard drive. If there’s just a single file you need you can download it or if you want more than that you can download small to medium sized folders as a zip file. If you need it all there’s options to get them to send you everything as a hard drive (worst case scenario).
I’m not going to back up all of our computers to Backblaze ($7 per computer is reasonable but it will add up). My thinking is that I’ll back up my two computers to it – they’ve got a lot of data and contain important stuff (all our family photos and my work stuff). I will most likely keep backing up my wife and younger kids’ computers to local hard drives but will most likely backup my eldest’s to Backblaze as he has a lot of data on his computer too.
In time I may bring everything into the cloud as hard drives fail – we’ll see!
Try it Yourself
If you’re losing sleep worrying about your files (or you know you should be backing up but aren’t) check out Backblaze.
They have a 15 day free trial to give it a go.
PS: for the last few weeks I’ve not had one night where I’ve woken up worried about my files!