For once, I'm not being cynical about software. Since a laptop crash, I've tried to prevent that from happening again. When you're in consulting work, the files on your computer are worth much more than the hardware itself.
I hope talking about my “standard work” process doesn't jinx my laptop into conking out.
This picture (click on it for larger) shows a screen that comes up on my sync/backup software, a package called Allway Sync. I can recommend it highly after much use. I thought it was interesting that it calculates a “time saved” metric. It claims to have saved me 15 hours over the past six months or so that I have been using it. Who knows how it's calculated, but I do know using this software is much easier the burning CD backups.
Here is my standard work process for (hopefully) error-proof backups:
- Set Thursday 6 PM backup event in Outlook Calendar (typically after a week of consulting)
- Plug in external USB hard drive (Western Digital Passport, it works great too)
- Start Allway software and click “Synchronize”
The software automatically synchronizes files from the laptop to the hard drive — only moving/updating new files found on one or the other. It's the most painless backup method I've found yet.
If you have a desktop PC, it's easy to keep a backup of photos on a second hard drive installed on the same machine. You can use Allway Sync or Microsoft's FolderShare. I use FolderShare at home to automatically sync photos between our desktop and laptop PC's (we lost a lot of pictures with a PC crash). The FolderShare method is even more error proofed — it requires no action on my part, it's continuous and automatic.
Tools like this make it much easier to do the right thing — protecting against a laptop failure. That reminds me of a great lean lesson — make it easy for people to do the right thing…. and they usually will.
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