Backup at the Touch of a Button?

We’ll see.

The first thing I did when my hard disk failed on Friday (for the fourth time in less than 10 years) was to go online and find an external hard disk that had enough capacity to back up my computer’s entire hard disk. And while I was at it, I’d get one that was bigger than my current hard disk so I could use it for my next computer (which will probably be purchased sometime before the end of this year).

Seagate ST3300601CB-RK 300 GB External Hard Drive with FireWire and USB 2.0 InterfaceI started at the Apple store, figuring that the products sold there would work effortlessly with my Mac. I found a Seagate 300 GB model (the Seagate ST3300601CB-RK) that boasted “pushbutton backup.” Now that sounded like the right thing for me. I did a little Web searching and found the same hard disk on for $40 less. I ordered it. It should arrive sometime next week — hopefully right around the same time TechTool Pro finishes doing whatever it can to recover my data.

SmartDisk FWFL80 80GB Firelite 2.5In the meantime, I still have two 80GB Smart Disk FireLite portable Firewire hard disks to capture whatever can be scavenged from the disk.

I’d like to hear from readers about backup strategies and solutions, as well as any experiences with Seagate’s “award-winning Bounceback Express software.” (I’m extemely skeptical about this solution.) Use the Comments link. And if you want to share a hard disk crash story with us, please do. I can’t be the only one out there losing hard disks.

5 thoughts on “Backup at the Touch of a Button?

  1. I think the best solution is multiple external hard disk backups. I have two external drives that I use to backup three laptops. Unfortunately, you still have to actually do the backups. I’m very weak there.

    For that reason, I tried online backups with FirstBackup ( It worked occasionally but due a continual upgrade of their system, kept failing and requiring my attention. I finally removed it.

    I now use Memeo ( for backups. You can setup backups to any destination , hard drives (network or removable), Jump drives, and online (ftp). I am now setup using all three. I do full drive backups to the external hard drives, document and setup file backups to Memeo’s online storage, and document backups to the 4 gig jump drive. Memeo seems to handle the intermittent attachment of storage for the removable media and Internet connected storage.

    Since I only use laptops, the external storage isn’t always attached. I always have an Internet connection so the online backup seems the best for continuous backup. But due to flaky online companies sometimes failing, other backups are also needed to assure a recent backup is available.

    I may have gone overboard, but I’m on my third hard drive on my main laptop.

    I just wish I could maintain the enthusiasm for doing backups just before a hard drive failure as I have just after a failure.

  2. Two things you might want to consider as a part of your backup strategy:

    1. Get your data off-site. If you’re not off-site, you’re not really protected. Thieves, fires, and other unfortunate events take out all the drives.

    2. Find something that automates the entire process for you! Then you don’t have to remember to push a button. Real-time all the time is best.

  3. Don, I don’t think you could ever go overboard with backups. I have most of my stuff backed up and ALL of my important stuff, so this isn’t much more than an inconvenience for me, but I’d much rather be able to simply plug in the backup disk and get back to work than to wait hours to see what recovery software can get back for me before formatting or replacing the bad disk. And, like you, I’m always more enthusiastic after a failure than right before one.

    Matthew, I agree that offsite backups are important. When I’m working on a book, I back up my WIP files to the FTP server my publisher sets up for the book. (That’s partially to help them out if anything happens to me.) But I admit that I’m not quite as good about backing up other stuff to offsite locations.

    Oddly enough, I recently wrote an article for (not online yet; keep checking in for a link if interested) about using Fetch, a Mac OS FTP client to automate the backup process. I was trying to decide if my Web hosting account had enough disk space for me to fit my backups when this happened. Ugh. When I’m back on my feet, I’ll make the room.

    Thanks for your input!

What do you think?