To Clone or not to Clone

This week’s work-related time-sink: learning more about backing up my computer.

The external hard drive (EHD) I have been using is in its fifth year, meaning it’s a couple of years older than the computer’s internal drive (which is a replacement for the OEM drive that crashed in 2008). I don’t necessarily trust it any more.

My redundant backup, Apple’s, seems to be offline as much as it’s on, plus the syncing slows down everything else I’m doing, and so I’ve decided not to renew my subscription.

I spent a few hours this past summer researching portable hard drives, and finally purchased two 160GB EHD’s based on tech site and consumer reviews. The plan is that one will stay at home to supplement the old hard drive; the other will go in the safe deposit box at the bank. Every so often, I’ll swap them out. They look identical but it’s easy to tell them apart; one was manufactured on July 25, the other on July 26. I have named them James and Anne, which is a blague d’interieur that only cradle Catholics who know our family will truly appreciate {waves to Mme. Pfarr}.

However, after reading the manuals on the software that came with the drives, I’m now wondering if the hard drive I keep in the safe deposit box should be a bootable clone instead of just a backup, so when the current hard drive dies (and it will) I can work from it until I can arrange to sell an organ and buy a whole new laptop.

Decisions, decisions. I’d much, much rather be writing.

© 2010 Anne Bingham and Making It Up as I Go

This entry was posted in Productivity Tools, Tech Tips, The Writing Life and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to To Clone or not to Clone

  1. Mike Starr says:

    If we’re talking desktop here, you might also consider a second internal hard drive. My (Windows) desktop has three drives:

    The first drive is a 1TB drive that’s divided into two partitions; one is a 32GB operating system partition that the computer boots from. The rest of the drive is a dedicated backup partition.

    The second drive is a 250GB drive that I use for all my personal and client data. I back this stuff up on a regular basis to the first drive.

    The third drive is another 250GB drive that is where I install all of my software rather than installing it on the operating system drive. That way, if my operating system drive fails, the installed software doesn’t go away.

    I also have a 300GB external drive that is used sporadically for additional backups.

    I do also have a tendency to occasionally burn CDs of client files so that there are multiple ways to recover lost data.


  2. Anne M Leone says:

    Ugh. Yes. My mind fries when I think about this stuff. I’d much rather be writing. But on the flip side, losing my HD would be much much worse.

    I clone, and keep the back up in the house (I love your idea of a safety deposit box!). But I also email myself my draft every day. I figure that way at least the work is safe.


    • Anne Bingham says:

      My kids use the email back-up, too. I ought to look into that.


      • Anne M Leone says:

        Gmail has seemingly infinite amounts of space, so I just email my draft to myself every day, replying to the same email so it’s only one email conversation, not hundreds of separate emails.

        I like to think my draft is saved in Mountain View, CA, or wherever Google is, and I don’t have to worry about ever losing it completely.


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