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We all know that we should back up. We have all heard stories of people losing their thesis, homework, whatever without having a backup. But, still, do you have an adequate backup strategy?

One of the reasons that I like OS X is that backup is easy using Time Machine. All three of the Macs at home (that many!) backup to a networked Time Capsule with two external disks (that is 5TB of storage, roughly twice the capacity of the machines themselves) whilst Juliet has an external drive for her MBP. The fire & forget nature of Time Machine makes backing up a thoughtless task, which IMHO is the only way that you can be sure that they are done. Problem solved?

Sadly, the answer is “no”. These are on-site backups, great if the computer dies but useless if the house burns down. With more of my life going digital this is an increasing concern. Photos, copies of documents, passwords, email, etc. They would be a big loss and so enter the need for off-site backup.

I am a big fan of Dropbox and have beaten the kids into using it too. My free Dropbox allowance is now over 6GB which is enough for my important documents, password archive and so on. I use Gmail so my emails are protected too. A lot of software can be replaced by downloading it again, although at some cost, which is not great but probably good enough. The problem starts with media. I have a lot of music, mostly ripped from CDs that I own, which are of course at risk from the same fire so are unprotected. Also, I have a collection of digital photos going back nearly 15 years, which are unprotected too.

Last summer I reviewed a number of suppliers of off-site backup, settling eventually on Mozy. Initial backup was slow and the computer kept crashing overnight which I suspected Mozy was responsible for (I am not so sure about that now). So, I switched to Crashplan. Initial backup was also slow but I prefered the software, there were no crashes and they offered a service to seed initial backup using a 1TB drive. Great! Except that service is only available in the US. They do plan to offer backups from a European location later this year but I decided to look at alternatives again.

To cut a long story short I ended back with Mozy, specifically Mozy Europe, and so I have begun the slow process of initial backup again. Just when I thought I had this sorted Mozy have implemented a new pricing scheme, removing the unlimited option:

My current Mozy package runs until next January (phew) so I have some time to find an alternative. Step 1 is to sort out why my internet connection is running so slowly, and that is another story.