No matter what I do, I never feel fully covered against a disastrous data loss. Despite paranoid backup strategies across many different kinds of media, there is always something missing. I haven’t h ad a hard drive failure yet, but I know it’s a matter of when, not if, it will happen.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Apple’s Time Machine, you need to do yourself a favour and look it up right now. Time Machine is an incredibly well-put together backup package that automatically saves snapshots of your entire hard drive. Because of the HFS filesystem’s ability to link directories as well as files, Time Machine is able to track incremental changes against your file tree so you can move forward and backwards through time in the history of your computer. A single saved file that you might have lost is now accessible to you regardless of your regular backup regime.

I run my Time Machine from a USB hard drive. A solid state drive would probably be a better choice because if it were to fail the data would still be readable, but my USB drives gives me a conveniently small backup media and extremely fast access speeds - I’m happy with this setup and haven’t lost any data yet. Because time machine copies my entire system and keeps a version of my computer through time, I feel confident that if either my computer’s hard drive or my USB drive were to fail, I would not suffer any long term data loss.

What are your backup rituals?