This weekend I had a rude awakening about backups. You see, I’m one of the rare folks who backs up every single night. My favorite laptop, an HP DM1Z, had a nice, pricey 240 GB SSD in it. The SSD took a dive. No worries, thought I – I have a backup! I use a Microsoft Windows Home Server from HP, and dutifully boot up my restore CD, only to find… I had only backed up the recovery partition. “***t,” thought I! Talk about a bonehead mistake – I never actually verified the stuff I wanted backed up was actually being backed up… I just assumed as much. So all was lost, and you feel really bad for me now, right?
Well, you shouldn’t. Yes, I lost all my original Israel photos and those I took in Japan this year. Yes, I lost my Kindle Fire review notes, and a few serial numbers. But you know what? That cloud thing is awesome. Here’s what I have:
· Microsoft Windows Live Mesh – All my music, important files, and so forth – even my Outlook signatures! – are automatically synced between all my PCs. All I did was sign on and all my files started rushing back to my laptop, ready to use. Note there are no storage limits as long as you’re syncing between PCs. Note that Live Mesh is only one of many great components of Windows Live Essentials.
· Firefox Sync – All my bookmarks, passwords, browsing history, were back on my machine in under an hour. Sync was included in FireFox starting at version 6.
· Windows Live SkyDrive – All the photos I had uploaded were all stored safely online. Yes, I lost the ones I didn’t send, and the online versions aren’t as high resolution, but hey, at least they’re not gone forever. Anyway, I can add my Photos to Live Mesh and not worry again!
· Facebook – Same thing for my photos again, cool. Still crappy Facebook quality, but then again, at least they’re there.
· Google Plus Instant Upload for Android – I may not use the service, but I sure do like the Android app’s feature where all phone images are automatically uploaded to a private album online. Sure, it doesn’t directly relate to this story, but should I lose my phone, I’ll be glad.
So, other than keeping my password as secure as possible, and hoping there’s no big breach of all those services (ahem, DropBox?), all my data is safely backed up in the cloud and on my other computers, automatically, for free. Talk about peace of mind. Can you imagine how this would have turned out ten years ago? You now have no excuse not to be backing up.
Thank you, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook, for giving us all free software and services that make our lives easier. I may even click an ad today.
P.S. I still love my Windows Home Server, and you should, too. It’s awesome how it backs up every one of my computers automatically every night. Just make sure you select the right drives to back up