Data backup habits

Your data backup habits

We talk a lot about power backup here. It’s an Anker community, after all, right? But what about data backup?

Even if we don’t realize, we use, generate and store a lot of data, much more then we would like to think about. Today, it’s easy and cheap enough to buy storage, and our friend @elmo41683 started an interesting thread about storage space here, and one of the best uses of all the storage space we can have today is to have a robust backup system.

If you ever read a little about backup, you probably stumbled upon the 3-2-1 rule:

Quite simple, isn’t it? Yet, most people ignore the need for backups.

I remember when I was finishing my bachelor’s degree, writing my final paper. I became somewhat obsessed with not losing anything. It was way before the cheap external large storage and before the cloud became a thing. Dropbox was only just starting. Without knowing it, I was already abiding by the 3-2-1 rule: I had my paper saved in my computer, in two separate thumb drives, in a 3.5 floppy disk - yes, they were still around those days - and on Dropbox. So, more a 5-3-1 rule in my case, I guess.

I was into the 3-2-1 rule until a few months ago. I use a NAS connected to my network backing up my MacBook Air through Time Machine and a separated external drive for most of my data - which is mostly photos. And I used CrashPlan until they decided to go business-only. I haven’t decided on a new cloud backup system yet, and I must confess I’m a little anxious about it.

Having had my share of lost data, I was always wary of the way I store it. I used everything from hundreds of CDs to dozens of DVDs, to external drives, to the cloud, and back again. Up until 2012 I was an Windows exclusive user - mostly because I didn’t had the money to go Apple. I can’t really say anything about the state of the Windows system these days, but until 2012 it was anything but reliable. And it didn’t had any comprehensive backup system worthy of trust. So I had my data carefully copied into several discs, and a list of every software installed, in case of a system error - which happened about twice a year. By the end, I began reinstalling everything from time to time before a crash would happen.

Then in 2012 I could finally afford a Mac. I used Time Machine in an external drive I had to manually connect to backup, which meant I could forget to plug it in sometimes. I had one crash on my Mac, and my most recent backup was a couple of weeks old. Two realizations came from the experience:

  1. Backups are important. I lost two weeks of data, which at the time was not a lot, thankfully. But I could have lost a lot. Today, if I used the same system, I would have.

  2. Time Machine is an awesome backup system. Apart from the two weeks I lost, once I recovered the system from the backup, everything was there, all the softwares, all the files, down to the tabs open in my browser at the time of the latest backup. It was incredible. I don’t know if Windows systems have a similar solution packed in, though I’m sure there are third-party softwares that would do the same.

The next week I bought the NAS, a 2TB WD MyCloud, the simplest NAS you can buy. Today, I’m already studying a replacement system because my NAS has only one drive, which means no redundancy, and I need a new cloud backup service. Maybe I’m a little paranoid, but better safe than sorry.

For most people, the tech we use have a lot of backup already set up for us. Both Android and iOS have their backup systems that only need the user to set it up once, for instance. But if you stray from the common user just a little, of if you have something deeply important, like a thesis you are working on, on your computer, you better think about a more robust backup system.

What do you use? How do you keep your data safe and organized? Which services do you use to store your data? How much do you rely on the cloud, and the standard backup systems?


Like I mentioned in my thread, I ha e numerous hard drives. Some are mirrored copies of the other drives.

I never had a hard drive failure until I moved to Vermont, I have had 4 hard drive failures since then. 2 of the drives I managed to recover by switching out the circuit boards, thankfully I had 4 of the exact same drives that allowed me to do it. But, had I had an actual backup system i wouldn’t ua e had to dissect and worry about lost data. I had 1 drive failure that caused me to lose all my writings and poems, ever since then I guess I been paranoid about it happening again. …which my wife attributes to me having so many drives. But I do need to cycle through them and cut back in how many copies of files I have


I do a backup weekly.
As my “poor little data” consumes only about 2GB its easy.
Funny indeed, that all my neighbors around know that “old Franz” will help when their systems having been crashed (WINDOOFS :slight_smile: ).

Of course I can read their disk and recover the data.
What an easy job!
And the minimum of gratification is a box with 20 AUGUSTINER DUNKLES. PROSIT!:joy:

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Now I understand you!
Yes this might be some kind of madness, but I remember years ago a fellow whose computer was stolen with his dissertation.
This happend at our chair.
And the poor man had NO copy.
I think he got grey hair from one day to the other… :fearful:


Great read, I really need to pickup another 8TB external hard drive. Thanks for motivating me.


Whooww! :smile:

I agree, backups are very important. It’s one of those things… have backups and don’t need them or don’t have them and really need them. About 3 years ago, I purchased a Drobo S for my hubby. He loves the redundancy that it creates. Just recently, we had to replace that Drobo for a 5C. As for me, I have portable external drives (5) for things like GoPro, Photos, Important Stuff, etc. Until recently, I never thought of doing redundant copies of those drives. So now, I use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone those drives onto 5 other drives… backup of a backup ;). You may be asking why I don’t just get a Drobo myself… well, my computer is on the kitchen table and I just don’t like the bulk. With the portable drives, I can plug it in when I am using it or cloning it, then put it away. I don’t like to have my drives plugged in all the time. I do use Dropbox and iCloud but I am still a bit uneasy about those services. I found out the hard way that, when I deleted something off Dropbox and couldn’t retrieve it.

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Ok, I have to ask… what is that? :stuck_out_tongue:

Backup at least once a month here to a NAS drive, other data on cloud storage!

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Great write up. As I mentioned in that thread, I have a NAS that I made for myself with 15TB in raid 0. I feel safe having redundancy if any of the data were to be corrupted or lost. Most of my VERY important files such as work and finance related things are backed up in the cloud, which makes things very simple and secure.

We certainly have things a lot easier now than we did in the past!

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So I categorize data by importance.

  • is if my original content and I would be miffed by loss
  • my original I can lose
  • other’s content I can lose
  • other’s content I cannot lose.

Based on this then:

  • I keep a “master” copy which is my current regularly working system, usually a laptop. I have a background script I wrote which copies it to two Raspberry Pi type devices, one in my house, one in a family member’s house, I use rsync over ssh to a Veracrypt volume, to encrypt in transit and at rest. The total data is small currently about 2GB.

  • I have scripts which when one of my 4 portable devices connect will sync the delta. So I have 2 to 6 places my current data is kept. I have these scripts as icons on my portable devices.

  • less important data I use just copy using the internal storage in devices, this usually exists in 4 places. These are usually media and usually in the 100GB-200GB region.

  • infrequent backups of less important data I copy ad-hoc to different harddrives.

  • work related files so not my data, I use their official backup tool so if they lose it is their fault.

I added it up and my data exists into up 9 places, but never less than 3 places.


Whenever you may visit Munich in Bavaria you are welcome and we will take a beer together.:grin:


It is easy to have a backup when you don’t have lots of data and version/copy of data. I sometimes had to keep several version of the backup (by dates and by people). There are many tools though, some is available as open source softwares.

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Just looking into cloud backup options at present for my Synology NAS system at home (9TB worth of disks, 6TB usable (3TB redundancy))…probably going to be costly per year but with the amount of data I now have it’s wise I think to have an offsite failsafe :slight_smile:

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I may have not done data backup for a year…
I’m really lazy sometimes…:joy:

Yes, I will upload all my photos into i Cloud.
I haven’t used hard drives to store information for a long time.

So you pay money?

I just use Google Photos. It’s free!

I remember one of my students, when his disc was really physically damaged.
But fortunately the crash happend in those parts where the directory of the disc was stored.
So we could save his data. You may imagine how happy this fellow was.

Of course he had NOT made any backups. Very unusual for a student of computer science! :confused:

“Free” ? Are you sure? Did you check the T&C’s?

Yep, you’re just limited to up to 16MP photos and 1080p videos. More than good enough for me.