Data and System Backups

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Best practice
  • Full system backups to external drives. Best to have two copies on separate drives stored in separate locations. Something that can be used to recover a corrupted hard drive.
  • History-type backup to the network cloud of your personal folders. Older versions of your files available.

Windows 7/8/10 Backups

Full system Image backups

What you need if your disk crashes. Full system image backups (windows 7/8/10 utility) to two external drives. Update them any time you do program/system updates that you want to have if a full restore is done. Best to have two copies on two external drives. Windows 7/8/10 has full backups built in, will make new full copies on a regular basis, deletes older images when disk fills.

Windows provides a good full system backup starting with version 7. PCWorld has a good howto article.

There is a $70 commercial package from macrium.com (version 7) that offers image full backups and easier restores. Faster, easier. Incremental images save much processing time and disk space, but I use differential images available in the free package, https://www.macrium.com/reflectfree, a free older version that does differential, scheduled backups. I use this for full system backups cause it's easy and modest disk usage. Monthly full with weekly differential is a good schedule. These back up to an external hard drive connected to your computer.

NOTE: In addition to the backup to the drive you create below, you must create a recovery drive on a CD or thumb drive so you can run the recovery when your main disk is down. The articles below will tell you how to do this.

Incremental "history" backups to the cloud.

Incremental backups keep current and old versions of your files. Carbonite.com offers a $120/year package that will handle both history backups to to cloud and incremental full backups to external hard drive. I haven't used it, but supposedly provides easy-to-use backups with good support.

There is a good article on using the Windows 8+ file history service to backup up you personal Documents, Photos, Music, and data to an external drive at lifehacker. If you download the Google Drive File Stream you can target that drive and have free incremental backup of your personal files to the cloud.

Mac Backups

Time Machine is a very good backup package provided with your Mac OS. Best to have two disks, periodically swapping so you have two copies and storing the idle disk in a separate location. It is well documented on your Mac. Contact UMIT/RSMAS if you have trouble. http://rcf.rsmas.miami.edu/faq/TimeMachine.html

Linux Backups

NOTE: this software is being updated. Contact RSMAS/UMIT before use.

UMIT/RSMAS has a home-brewed backup package available at ftp://anonymous@ftp.rsmas.miami.edu/linux/backup/. It utilizes the linux "tar" facility and requires some knowledge of linux command line usage and scripting. We can help.

Futures

UM is investigating providing a commercial package for backing up personal and desktop computers. Maybe soon? When we see it, it will be announced here.

Contacts

rcf-suppor@rsmas.miami.edu [305-421-4028]. 8-5 M-F. Chris, Frances, Grant, or Darren.