I have a backup system that includes:
* An external hard drive
* A Dropbox account (but limited to the free portion)
* A Google Drive account (but only the free 15 gB)
* A Copy.com account (but only the free 20 gB)
I use the Dropbox and Google Drive accounts to transfer computer files in the short term, and the Copy account for the long term. I try to backup my files to the external hard drive on a monthly basis, but I don't keep records of when or what I copy to the external hard drive. Looking back, the backups have been haphazard - not every file folder, not every month.
So on Saturday afternoon, a society colleague called and wanted me to send him a file for the latest newsletter. "Sure," I said, "let me attach it to an email and I'll get it to you ASAP."
When I looked in my computer files, the file folder with that file was not in the My Documents file folder where it should have been. My "genealogy-2" file folder has all of my files for Clients, Correspondence, Education, Forms, Funnies, Societies and Websites - almost half of my genealogy-related files. Where did it go?
This occasionally has happened before when I work in my files - my hand slips, the mouse moves, and a file folder gets dragged into another file folder, but I'm almost always aware of it when it happens, and can find the file folder moved by mistake, and move it back to where it belongs. In this case, apparently, I did not notice that it had happened when it happened.
I looked in every file folder in My Documents down at least two levels (I thought). I didn't find the missing file folder. I looked in the Recylce Bin. I tried searching for a specific file folder in the Windows Start button and didn't find it (I think that doesn't work on my computer for some reason).
When I looked on my external hard drive, I had this file folder, but the last time I had updated it was in 2012. So I copied it into my file folder system and was happy to have that much. I went looking for files since 2012 on Dropbox and Google Drive, and as email attachments, and found some of them and added it to my recovered file folder. But the retrieved files were not everything I had before, especially in the Education and Societies file folders, which held important files.
I decided that I had suffered a significant data loss and that I should have had a more robust backup strategy and execution. I decided it was time to subscribe to a better backup and retrieval system - one that would save my stuff and update it on at least a daily basis.
I recalled that Thomas MacEntee had recently posted with an offer for an online backup system at iDrive.com for only $5.95 for the first year (and $60 a year thereafter). I checked it out on Sunday:
That looked like a pretty good deal. I signed up using Thomas's link to get the first year discount. I downloaded the program, installed it, and opened it and tried to figure out how to select files to backup. After several futile tries, I managed to figure out the files I wanted to save, then I decided to have the system save new or changed files every morning at midnight.
I clicked on the "Start backup immediately" button this morning and the system started up. If I looked carefully, I could see which file was being backed up at the time. After almost 6 hours, it had backed up about 10 gB of 48 gB that I wanted backed up. It may take another day or two to finish!
This is taking a long time, partly because I wanted to do some real work at the same time - blogging, transcribing, researching, etc. It seems like the iDrive system gets bogged down when other tasks are done on the computer.
The really good news is that, when the Family Tree Maker file folder was being backed up, I happened to notice that the file location of a particular file was in the Genealogy-2 file folder - now in the Family Tree Maker\Templates file folder where I moved it without knowing it. I missed that one when I was looking for it. So I moved the Genealogy-2 file folder back into the My Documents file folder and had all of my missing files back where they should be. Whew! That was close.
Now I hope that the iDrive backup system works as advertised and saves me from my relatively poor backup practices. We shall see! I am chastened... I will also copy the Genealogy-2 file folder to my external hard drive and try to do better in the future with all of my important computer files. As Dick Eastman says, "LOCKSS - Lots of copies Keep Stuff Safe."
Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver
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