Hard Drive CrashRecently I have seen, to each of their owner’s dismay, several computer hard disks that with no prior warning, and obviously in the worst possible moment, have crashed with little hope for recovery, losing all data in the process. A tragic event that too many people can relate to, but sadly enough it seems that few actually learn from. We increasingly confide our most important information and often our most precious moments captured through digital pictures and video on the ever increasing capacity of our local hard disks, confident that the digital nature of the saved material will safely reside there through out all time.

So why do people typically not have a reliable backup of their content? It could be that they mistakenly believe that the dreaded risk of a hard drive crash will never catch-up with them or they may just be procrastinating the day that they will do the backup. While this may be the case for many I think the majority of people are just lacking an adequate technical solution.

Take me for example, if my laptop hard disk crashed today or if my laptop was stolen I would be devastated by the loss of so many projects, many of which currently in progress, my wife would have me beheaded for losing our digital pictures and videos and in addition I would be bewildered by the uncertainty what other critical information will be unrecoverable from this event. Sure I have done several attempts over the years at backing up some portions of my hard disk contents, but I can’t be sure of which versions were saved, where exactly they were saved and, if saved to CD or DVD, if they are still legible.

If you are like most people you may be unaware that good back-up solutions are now available. Lets take a look at just a few options that I would recommend:

  • Mozy Remote Backup *
    Simple client application lets you set what you want to back-up and works in the back-ground to back-up your files to their remote servers without noticeably slowing down your PC. A virtual disk is listed under your System Resources from which you can navigate your backed-up files and through simple selection you can easily restore individual files or entire directories. Available for both Windows and Mac
    Mozy offers 2GB of free storage or unlimited space for only $4.95/month. Simple monthly payment allows you to even try it out first to see if works for you.
  • Elephant Drive *
    Elephant Drive also offers 2GB of free storage or unlimited space for only $4.95/month(with 2 months free). Easily store, share and automatically keep your data backed up on remote servers.
    I still have not tried it out yet, but I am anxious to do so to compare how easy it is to automatically keep your data backed-up and to see how easy it is to restore your files.
  • Dropbox
    Beyond having just a remote back-up you would also like to synchronize your files between 2 or more PCs then try out Dropbox. Local client application creates a Dropbox folder the contents of which will then be stored on a remote server and will also be synchronized with other associated computers. Modification of this file from any source will then have the newer version distributed and updated on all other computers. Available for Windows, Mac and Linux
    Get 2 GB for free otherwise upgrade to 50 GB for $9.99/month or $99/year
  • Jungle Disk
    Powered by Amazon S3, through the local client you add Jungle Disk just like another hard drive in your computer. Drag and drop, copy and delete, use it just like your existing hard drive. Supports Windows, Mac and Linux. Add as many computers as you like without additional charges.
    Unlimited storage for 15 cents per GB. Best part is that you only pay for what you use!

Fortunately I have not yet had to live through the experience of losing my hard disk contents and now, I am happy to say, that I don’t expect I will ever have to. Thanks to online backup services backing up your system could not be easier, all you have to do is simply set it and forget it. Decide what you want to keep backed up and it will do the rest, keeping your back-up up to date with the latest versions of your files. If you are still procrastinating using a backup solution follow one of the links above and try it out before its too late.