I had a full-on hard drive crash a couple of weeks back. One day my Mac Mini worked. The next day it didn’t. I banged on the computer every way I knew how, but to no avail. I finally took it down to my local computer store, where I was told that there was a hard drive crash. It was OK, I told myself. I have full backups.
About two years ago, B and I decided to work on a backup plan. We have too much important data on our computers (photos, documents, etc.) to see it go away one day. I bought a copy of Take Control of Mac OS X Backups, and waded through the options. I bought an external hard drive, hooked it up to my Mac, and tried to turn it into something like Apple’s Time Capsule (which didn’t exist at the time). That didn’t work out so well, but Mozy did.
Mozy is an online backup service. The software backs up your data in the background, over the net. Because it’s online, it’s as slow as your net connection. In my case, it took about three days of continuous online data transfer to get everything transferred; afterwards, the software runs in the background, updating modified files. It works great, and costs just $5/month for unlimited backup (in my case, almost a hundred gigs of data).
B’s laptop suffered a hard drive crash almost as soon as she started using Mozy two years back; she had most of her her data backed up, and we got most of it all back. I had everything saved, and got everything back. Mozy’s restore process is a pain; while you can restore individual files immediately, it takes days to prepare dozens of gigs of data for download. Then you download the data, which, for large quantities of data, can also take days. And the restore process is a bit clunky, to the extent that I had to write a Perl script to make it work the way I wanted it to. The process also took longer than I’d liked, so I’m probably going to add SuperDuper to my backup mix for the future.
But it worked—I had a huge crash, and within a week, I had all my data back the way it was before. That’s pretty amazing.