What do you use for backing up your computer files? I’ve had a number of close calls in my academic career, and so I compulsively back everything up. Here’s how I do it:
First, I keep multiple revisions of my thesis in folders on my own personal computer. So I have the first revision of my thesis in a folder marked with the date I started it, and then when I make changes to it, I just copy the whole thesis folder and change the date. That way, if I really mess it up somehow and then push “save” by accident, the previous version is there, at least.
The next level of backing up is my periodic Time Machine backups. At the risk of sounding like an Apple commercial, I do actually like the way that my computer backs up my files. I just plug in the hard disc, and click on the little clock in my menu, and then it backs up all the files on my computer. This particular piece of software has saved me a number of times that I can think of. It is, in fact, one of the top five reasons why I would be reluctant to switch to Linux as my main computer of choice—there just isn’t any really comparable backup software that I could find.
That said, if someone wants to enlighten me as to some software for Ubuntu that does what Time Machine does—backs up the computer’s entire hard disc onto an external hard disc, and gives a nice interface for restoring old files, only backs up files that have been modified and doesn’t do anything weird—then please leave a comment!
What’s nice about using the Time Machine backup is knowing that even if someone were to steal my computer while I’m at the library or something like that, I would still have a copy of it in my backup at home.
The highest level of paranoia that I reach is that every once in a while, when I remember, I compress the most recent revision of my thesis into a .zip file, and then upload that to my Google Documents account.
This way, even if my apartment were to burn down and both my computer and external hard disc were destroyed in the blaze, my thesis would be alive and well, in the cloud.
Do you back up your files? How? Four points for anyone who has a more elaborate backup scheme than me!