I like backing stuff up. I have not yet actually had a computer crash on me and lose everything, but I do quite regularly reinstall Windows XP when it gets too slow. To make this an effortless process I used to have the C:\Documents and Settings folder live on a different partition, so when I reinstalled Windows on the other partition, all my stuff was still there – just needed a few registry values changed. I can’t really be bothered with that any more, some programs got quite confused to where my home directory was and resizing the partitions when I ran out of space on one was a bit of a hassle. If you’re interested, this is how to do it.
Instead, I bought a second hard drive and put on it all the installers for programs I use, drivers, downloaded fonts and My Documents folder. All my programming code is stored on my server in a Subversion repository. Wiping my hard drive and reinstalling Windows to where it was before took about an hour and half maximum, which I don’t think is too bad!
My problem is now my back up drive is too small: I only bought a 40GB one. I also worry that if my computer is destroyed altogether, then both main hard drive and back up are gone. So I started to look for free online backup services. Everything I found seemed to have really pathetic ‘free’ storage (1 or 2GB), which then became very expensive when you went over the limit. I did find one however that looked pretty good: Humyo. They offer 10GB free (5 GB of media (images + music) and 5GB other) and it’s not awfully expensive if you need more (£46.99 a year for 100GB). I’m in the process of uploading everything from My Documents excluding music which is taking a wee while at 0.65MBits/s. Their FAQ says they use “256-bit encryption” and “The servers are hosted in a former gold bullion vault. You can imagine how seriously the Bank of England guards its gold” so I’m fairly comfortable giving them my data! They did irritatingly upgrade my account when I downloaded their ‘Humyo SmartDrive’ which syncs your computer and backup automatically. Unfortunately the software is for paid accounts only, and so the website started demanding me to set up payment. They did make it very easy downgrade again, so I’m not too annoyed at them.
Considering that music record labels try and use online storage companies for storing MP3’s, I think its best that I just back these up on my own server. I’ll just keep drivers and installers on my backup hard drive, since they aren’t that important anyway. My only problem is now to remember to visit Humyo and my server monthly and update everything!