Backup your stuff… NOW! (here’s how)

A couple of weeks ago, some jerk stole the laptop one of my clients was loaning me. This royally sucked for several reasons:
– This laptop allows me to be productive during my commute and when otherwise off-site.
– I am in the midst of several projects, with data critical to each of them all on — you guessed it — the laptop.
– And yeah, I had to shamefacedly explain to my boss and my colleagues how I managed to lose a company laptop in the restroom on our floor, and what I was doing with a laptop there in the first place (let me clarify this now: I was on my way out to a friend’s going away party, and was brushing my teeth).

Anyway, I spent (unpaid) overtime redoing the research and planning I had notated on that computer… only to discover (both with a huge sigh of relief and head-smacking frustration) that *ALL* of my work had been backed up. I was smarter than I had remembered, since I had not only saved many files directly to the client’s server, but had set up OneNote to do regular backups to my desktop.

I was both smart and lucky. And now, with the tips below, you can be smart and lucky, too.

* * *

My home computer is now once again delightfully protected due to two purchases I’ve made recently:

– An external hard drive (a Maxtor OneTouch, but any external hard drive’ll do)

– Some fabulous (and fabulously inexpensive software) I just discovered called SyncBackSE. $15 gets you a not-so-glossy/slick-looking but amazingly powerful and configurable program that — get this — will even back up open files like Outlook PST files! No more having to shut down Outlook before nightly backups.

And despite all the neato geek options, I was able to set up two backup profiles in under two minutes, literally. Later on, I’ll play with some of the in-depth stuff, such as configurable compression options and file-compare details, but so far I’m just tickled at how easy and fast and, yeah, cheap this solution is!

Yes, it’s only for Windows folks. Sorry Macsters. 😐 And hey, if any Mac people are reading this, please feel free to suggest great backup programs for the Mac. EVERYONE should be doing backups!


  1. sorry about the pc, that totally sounds like something I would have done, only I wouldn’t have backed it up!

  2. I use rsync across the board for backups.  No cost and it comes with cygwin unix tools on XP or 2000 or whatever.  You can do some really fancy stuff with rsync but if you want something else, consider unison as well.  Its kind of a hybrid rsync tool and does a whole bunch of stuff.  For day to day operation, rsync just plain works.

  3. I only backup my email data, as this is the only critical thing on my computer.

    Most of the time I simply copied the .pst files, but then I found Email Backup Genie that does it automated.


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