Tip for Easy, Secure Backups

This may not be a sexy subject, but if you have worked on the computer for a while, you have probably experienced a backup failure. But beyond installing a backup system and integrating it into your routine, there are still loopholes that can ruin all your hard work.

I back up onto a hard drive with Time Machine

Since I work outside my home, this backup gets done maybe once a week. This is good if your computer ever crashes and you have to reinstall everything. It has saved my files on more than one occasion, but this backup is not an incremental backup.

For that, I have a cloud-based system. I keep the files I am working on in the folder that is linked to the cloud. Whenever I save a file, it writes over the one on my backup. But what happens if you need to go back to a former version or if that file gets corrupted.

Once, years ago, my project became corrupted, and I lost months of work. I had not saved a duplicate version.

My simple backup technique

Now I have a simple backup technique. It involves two folders, both on the cloud. One folder is called “Older Versions” and the other is named by the project. The Older Versions folder is inside the Project folder.

In the Project folder, I have two files: my main project file and one that is a dupe of that file from the day before.

Whenever I start my workday, I take the dupe and dump it into the Older Versions folder, and let it replace the older copy of the same name in the folder. Then I make a new dupe of my working file (on the Mac, this is as simple as hitting “Command – D” on your keyboard).

Then I start to work on the project file. If for any reason, I lose my original file I have a dupe in the same folder from the start of the day. If that is corrupted too, I can go back to the old version in the other folder. I can never lose more than one day of work.

Try this method and you will be securely protected against the loss of your work.