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Tips: How to Back-up your Mac

By on Feb 15, 2012

This is probably one of the most important things you can do with your computer.Imagine you have lost the contents of your drive due to a hardware failure. Now imagine how long it took you to put all that data on the drive, all the hours it took you to get the ideas, set up those art files on Quark, Photoshop, how many painstaking months it took for you to build up a database of clients. It has gone. You have to do all that work again and there is no guarantee that you can get it all back again. A backup will allow you to recover most of what you have on the drive.

In fact, you can recover what is on the drive even if it no longer spins. The platters which hold your information are well protected in the drive case. Professional companies that specialise in this can remove the platters and recover the data that is on those platters, but at a cost which can exceed $2000. If it is going to cost you more than that to manually redo all that work, then spending that amount may seem inexpensive to you, especially if you are about to lose a client because you cannot find his files. Enough said.

Backing up simply means you need to get into the habit of doing this regularly, anything from twice a day to twice a week.

 

Try this inexpensive backup software:

Backup programs can be inexpensive, SuperDuper($35), and Carbon Copy Cloner (as little as $10 donation) are two shareware programs that will do the job well. You can download both of them on trial. They will make a bootable copy of your drive so that you can use it immediately in case of emergency.

If you are running Leopard (Mac OS 10.5.x), you have the advantage of using Time Machine to do your backups without having to spend extra for a backup program.

The first item to procure is an external hard drive, either FireWire or USB2. A 3.5” drive/enclosure will suit desktop computers and a 2.5” for laptops, especially if you are going to move it around a lot. The smaller drive can also be set up with a second partition so you can carry around extra files.

Of course, if this all seems to be confusing to you, call me and I will come by and organize it for you.

 

Computer will not boot

Don’t laugh at this one, but is there power reaching the computer from the wall socket? I spent almost half an hour once troubleshooting a non-booting Mac and the problem was caused by a vacuum cleaner knocking the switch on the power bar to the off position.

Very often a sudden problem like this has a simple cause such as the above. I remember laughing when, as a youngster, I bought a book to help me do repairs on my car. In the troubleshooting section, a lot of the problems had this line as the first troubleshooting item. Is there gas in the tank? This made me believe that it must have happened often enough for it to have been included. So you should look at the simple before the complex when you are trying to solve a problem. Check for broken or disconnected cables first. If you don’t get anywhere, call me and I will come over to fix it.

Another quick fix for a misbehaving computer is to shut it down then restart it. This causes the computer to write clean system files to RAM and this may make the computer behave again.

 

The Disk Permissions may be corrupt

Use OnyX, -a freeware program that has a lot of utilities included,- to repair the permissions.

Your computer starts to misbehave. After trying a number of things, you tend to get a little confused and forget this one item. What did you change not long before the problem came to light? Maybe upgraded some software, attached a new printer and loaded the software drivers. You will often find that the problem lies in that change. Remove the changed or new software and see if it settles down.

 

Use a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply)

This has a rechargeable battery inside that will run your computer for some minutes, giving you time to save files during a power black out. It will also keep the power at an even 110 volts during a brown-out, saving your computer from possible damage.

You plug a UPS into the wall socket, then your equipment into the UPS, effectively keeping the power in your building from connecting directly to your computer.

 

 

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