Backup Backup Backup

Whilst out at a bar in Camden recently a friend started hunting around our area with an increasingly panic stricken look on his face. Turns out that his personal laptop had been taken from under our seats. Six years of his personal dev work lost.

The response from every technical person he told? Should’ve backed up. Also, you’ve got Prey on there, right?.. no?.. Ah..

Not exactly the most compassionate response, but for those of us with a half decent backup solution all you need worry about is getting the insurance paid out on the hardware itself.

My backup solution is pretty minimal; the only things I care about are photos and videos, documents (work and home), and coding fun.

First up – Cloud


My photos are usually taken on my Samsung Galaxy S3 so exist in several places almost by default. The SG3 is an android device, so my photos are automatically synced up to my google drive using Google Plus Instant Upload.

I have a dropbox account and the android dropbox app so they’re also being synced to dropbox; I have dropbox on my laptops at home and on my work PC, so the photos are downloaded onto those devices too.

I have the Jungledisk agent on all of my PCs which also backup those photos to my jungledisk account. It’s going to be pretty tricky to lose them all.


Documents are handled by both dropbox and Windows Live Mesh; as soon as I close a document on my office PC it’s synced via Live Mesh to SkyDrive and then downloaded again to my home PC.

Again, this is also backed up to Jungledisk as separate PC backups.

Coding fun

This also uses Windows Live Mesh, and Dropbox, and Jungledisk, but the ones I really like are also pushed up to github.

Pricey, right?

The cost of this security? Not much at all.

  • Live Mesh comes with Windows 7.

  • Dropbox is free and if you by a SG3 you get 50GB free for a year, plus 500MB free for every 500MB of photos you backup to dropbox.

  • Jungledisk costs me around £10 a month, which given that I also use it to automatically back up everything in my and my wife’s laptops’ “My Documents” folders to a secure cloud based solution, including all iTunes, iPhoto, etc folders, I think that’s money well spent; obviously some of that is also on iCloud too!

Physical? Sure!

I’m not relying on internet access to get my files back either. I have both local network and USB attached backup solutions.

External HDD

Western Digital My Passport

This tiny 500GB Western Digital Passport attaches to whichever machine I’m working on at the time and constantly backs up my entire D drive (non-OS) securely and with rollback capabilities.


LaCie LaCinema

I also have everything in key folders on each laptop within my home network being copied over to a 1TB LaCie LaCinema HD HDMI Media Centre/NAS, which is an amazing bit of kit in its own right. You can now get a 2TB version for about £160.

It Works For Me ©

I’m not saying this is what everyone should do, as requirements will obviously differ. But this works for me, and the last time one of my laptops crashed and burned I was quite happy at the chance to get a shiny new one, not having lost any important data at all.


No need to back up any applications since it’s so easy to rebuild an entire Windows system using things like Chocolatey, WebPi, and Ninite.

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