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Backing up your PC

Although not a Microsoft Excel tip, we thought this one important enough to post.  The following tip discusses how we backup our PCs.

We use two programs:

  • Our primary backup program is Macrium Reflect Standard from www.macrium.com.  We use it to do scheduled backups and disk image backups
  • Our other program is Nero Express.  It is a simple copy to DVD program that verifies the disk after doing the copy. Nero no longer offers this program but has two others, Nero Burning ROM for $49.95 and Nero BackItUp for free (but they hope you purchase online storage).  We are testing both currently and will post an update.

We have tried using an online backup service that backs up our Documents folder.  We stopped because we found that

  • It greatly slowed down our machines. To the point they were almost impossible to use.
  • It didn't backup videos and pictures without special settings turned on, which no one told us about.

This is what we do:

  • Automatically weekly run a disk image of our C drive to an internal 4TB drive using Macrium Reflect
    • The free version of Macrium Reflect can not do scheduled backups, so we purchased the full version. 
    • Each image takes about 30 minutes. The drive can hold about 4 months worth.
  • Weekly we manually do a disk image to an external hard drive using Macrium Reflect
    • We unplug the drive immediately after done.  This drive is never connected except for the backup. 
    • This drive is always keep offsite.  Most often this is just hidden in the trunk of one of our cars! 
    • Once this drive is full, we store it off site and rotate back another external drive. 
    • If you do not have USB 3, adding a USB card costs about $25 and greatly speeds up the process.
    • As it is a USB drive, the backup takes 1 1/2 hours. So we do when we know we don't need the machine for awhile.
  • We have Macrium Reflect setup to do a daily incremental backup (not a disk image) to our our third internal hard drive.
    • This gives up protection between image backups
  • Weekly we copy our Documents folder to DVDs using Nero Express.
    • We do exclude pictures and videos. There are just too many and above backups are adequate.

How useful is the above? Is it worth doing?

  • We have had to do image restores to get our operating system back up and working
  • We have had to restore files to get earlier copies after doing bad things :).
  • We have not had a PC failure but we do hear from out customers that their PCs just stopped with no warning
  • We have also heard from customers that their PCs have been wiped out by viruses.

So, yes it is useful and worth it. 

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