Automatic Backup

Dear Computer Lady,

I have a PC with Windows XP. Presently I’m using an external back up ION drive to backup my data. I’m looking for a device that will back up my data automatically so I don’t have to remember to do it. What would be good options that won’t break the bank.

Thanks so much for your help. You are providing a great service for us fledgling computer newbies.



Dear Judy,

What an excellent question! I think you have given voice to a problem that most of us face. The need to backup our data without forgetting or getting too busy.

I believe that we should never put all our trust in one kind of backup. (kind of like putting all your eggs in one basket *grin*)

Personally, I rely on a couple of backup methods. The one that works the best is Carbonite’s online backup service. It works the best because it always backs up files without me having to remember to do it. I also try to do a full data backup once a month, but this does not always happen. Like you, I don’t remember, or I get too busy. The Carbonite backup doesn’t depend on my memory or time.

In an ideal world, where money was no object, I would also have a small home server that automatically backs up files. I have been drooling over HPs MediaSmart Server for months now, and have actually set one up for a customer. It automatically backs up files from each computer on the network at a time that you specify. Can’t get any better than that.

Even with an automatic backup like the MediaSmart server, you also want some kind of off-site backup like Carbonite, or DVD or a drive that is removed from the physical location. In the event of theft, flood, or fire, the offsite backup would still be available.

I might have rambled on here a bit, so I will summarize.

1. An online backup service like Carbonite is fairly inexpensive, and does not depend on your memory.

2. A home server is rather expensive, but also does not rely on your remembering.

3. Backing up to an external drive, or CDs and DVDs is not expensive, but does rely on your memory.



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    • Dynamic
    • September 4, 2009

    Acronis True Image is a fantastic program. It does a full backup of my system every evening at 6pm while I am watching TV.

    Depending on the space on the 2nd hard drive, you can store heaps of full system backups – I have daily backups for the past 2 weeks!

    A plug from a very satisfied user.

    • Dynamic
    • September 4, 2009

    I forgot to say it is fully automatic and doesn’t rely on me for anything. If I am short of disk space, it automatically kills the oldest backup.

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