Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy World Backup Day!

Today I am grateful that my electronic devices remembers all those pesky little wonderful things for me – such as my wedding pictures and what not.

Would like to invite everyone to check and make sure that all the files are secured and properly backed up at least once a year. And what better day for this than March 31, the day before the Internet goes silly.

In that spirit, I would like to share my very own backuping recipe.

Our two Windows laptops both run Dropbox in order to protect the most important files. One laptop runs on the free plan, the other we pay $8 per month for some extra space. Some of the larger files are are impractical to backup at Dropbox, specifically our videos and raw-format pictures. For these, we have a USB hard drive plugged into a Asus RT-n16 router which acts as a small file server. This drive is the destination for two processes. First, the laptops run the free software which copies recently changed files to that hard drive over our home Wi-Fi every night. And second, we use the free version of the program Macrium Reflect to make for images of our hard drives every so often. This way if a laptop gets stolen or damaged, we don't have to reinstall everything from scratch.

The story of how Pixar almost lost Toy Story 2

That little hard drive could the stolen at once, so I wouldn't rely on it without some form of off-site backup. For this, I installed a copy of the open source software Tomato on the Asus router which lets me run small Linux programs on it. I have a script that copies the file from the hard drive to Amazon S3 file storage service which offers some of the most inexpensive hard drive space rentals available.

The logic here is, our laptops are not ON at home for as long as you might imagine. In true New York style, we move about town a lot and spend copious amount of time slipping overpriced coffee, using various coffee shop's free Wi-Fi. It would seems impolite to backup large files over their connection. Better to backup to the small drive at home, over the super-fast 802.11n connection, and let the daemon process running on the Asus router upload at leisure throughout the day.

All our hard drives are encrypted using the open source program TrueCrypt, to protect our privacy and identity in case of theft of the devices. All our passwords are unique, randomly generated, and stored encrypted in the open source program Keepass Professional. Keepass's encrypted file itself is in our Dropbox folder, this way it gets backuped in turn.

Finally we upload our music to Google's music locker, at, which is free up to 20,000 songs

I must say, this setup is the best I've felt about our backup setup in years (knock on wood). All our data eventually makes it to off-site storage, and all the most important steps are automatic.

What is your backuping recipe?

No comments: