Use Backup Software!

It is almost always better to use software designed for backing up rather than using your operating system to copy items from one location to another. There are several reasons for this. Among other things, backup software verifies that the source and destination copies are identical and performs checks to see that data hasn’t been corrupted during backup. Backup software also gives you options that give you more control over the backup process.

There are several good software options for backing up. On the Macintosh, Chronosync (http://www.econtechnologies.com) and SuperDuper! (http://www.shirt-pocket.com) are two highly regarded programs.

SuperDuper!

SuperDuper!

SuperDuper! has a user interface that is elegant in its simplicity. When you start, you see a dialog box that allows you to specify the source and destination as well as the kind of backup you want to do. Each option is clearly explained.
If you are doing an incremental backup (i.e., you have previously backed up from/to the same source and destination), SuperDuper!’s Smart Update option is great because it very quickly identifies which files are already backed up (and unchanged) and only backs up files that have changed or were not included in the previous backup. This feature alone is worth the purchase price of the software (which is less than $30).

Once you choose backup options, SuperDuper! displays a “what’s going to happen” message, giving you a chance to back out.

SuperDuper! second screen

SuperDuper! second screen

After you click “Copy Now,” the backup starts, and the program displays another box that keeps you informed of the status of your backup as it takes place.

SuperDuper! in process

SuperDuper! in process

When SuperDuper! is finished processing, it lets you know:

Superduper! completed process

Superduper! completed process

SuperDuper! is just one example and, based on my experience with it so far, it is excellent. But there are other very good backup software options available for both Macintosh and Windows.

In a post coming soon we will consider backup strategies and backup media.  As always, if you have stories, insights, or thoughts to share, please let me know – contact me directly (see About page) or comment on this post. Thanks.

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