Tagged With backup utilities

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Mac: You already make sure to back up your computer (right?) but what about your Google accounts? If something happened to it, you might not have time to get to Takeout to download your data before it's too late. That's where CloudPull comes in -- it's an automatic backup tool for your Google account.

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Linux only: Flyback, the previously mentioned Linux backup utility that aims to mimic Mac OS X Leopard's Time Machine for set-and-forget usability, has a cutting-edge 0.5 version available in its Subversion repository that adds a good number of great things. Choosing what to back up, which external drive or server to place it on, and when exactly to do it, is a lot easier to grasp for those not schooled in rsync. The Ubuntu Unleashed blog has detailed instructions on getting the cutting-edge SVN version installed on your Debian, Ubuntu, or Red Hat-based system.

Flyback

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

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Mac only: Online backup service Mozy has released the final, 1.0 version of their Mac client, which doesn't have all the options that the PC side does, but still gets the job done. Choose which folders you want to back up on Mozy's servers over an encrypted connection, or simply back up your entire home directory, or pre-suggested sets of files (like your Address Book, iCal, Application Preferences, etc). I've actually plunked down the $5 a month unlimited storage at Mozy costs, and I use it on both my Mac and PC. Overall the service helps me sleep better at night knowing I've got off-site backup and and doesn't slow down my computer or work too much. I've only got one complaint.

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Windows only: Back up your messages and nearly everything else associated with an email account with Amic Email Backup, a free download for Windows. Amic only works with desktop-based mail clients but covers a wide range of them, from Outlook and its Express sibling to IncrediMail to Opera, and beyond. Amic grabs email account info, address book, sender lists, stationary, message rules, and more and tucks the data away anywhere you want it to—and can even do it automatically on a schedule. While previously-posted MailStore Home is a more open-ended, Amic's dead-simple interface, scheduling abilities and comprehensive settings capture make it a worthy installation for relatives who don't do the backup thing or refuse to move out of their familiar email client. Amic Email Backup is a free download for Windows systems only.

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Windows only: Freeware utility IdleBackup automatically backs up your files while you're not using your computer. Choose the folder you want to back up and the destination—whether it's a thumb drive, network drive, or big external drive—and the amount of time that your computer should be idle before the backup runs. Hide IdleBackup to the system tray, and it will back up your data quietly in the background while you're at lunch, in a meeting, or sleeping soundly. IdleBackup performs incremental backups, so it only copies files that have changed since the last time. After the jump, see a full screenshot of IdleBackup in action.

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Windows only: Free snapshot backup utility DocShield provides a similar service to previously-mentioned FileHamster, but with a lot more control over how often, and how big, those backups should be. Select individual files or groups of certain file types (like .jpg or .xls in the My Documents folder, for instance) on your home computer, networked systems, or even remote FTP servers, set DocShield to check at certain increments, and choose whether those backups are compressed or not. Better still, the program offers a utility to save a file and its versions onto a USB drive, along with a utility to read and re-save it. For those looking for a Time-Machine-like utility for Windows but don't need entire systems backed up, DocShield is a helpful tool. DocShield is a free download for Windows systems only.

DocShield

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Keep a copy of your Gmail messages stored locally on your Linux machine with freeware application getmail. Googler Matt Cutts explains the process: after you install getmail, enable POP email on your Gmail account, and configure getmail to store your messages as mbox or Maildir, then run getmail. Because of a Gmail limitation, getmail will only download 99 messages at a time, so keep re-running getmail and you'll soon have a copy of your entire Gmail archive on your Linux box. Over a year ago, Gina described how to back up Gmail this same way using fetchmail on Windows. Do you back up your web-based mail on your desktop? Tell us in the comments.

How to Back Up Your Gmail on Linux in Four Easy Steps

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Backing up your data on a regular basis is important, and turning a spare computer into a backup server is often the best way to make sure it gets done. But most methods require either a good deal of command-line learning or serve only one operating system. Not with Restore, a free, open-source backup system that can install or run from a live CD, work with any OS, and operate through a simple browser-based interface. Today I'll demonstrate backing up a Windows laptop to an older desktop, but you'll see how Restore can be easily molded to fit just about any home backup needs.

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Like a famed race horse or a classic book, you don't just throw away a laptop because it's banged up a little. Even if it seems outdated and underpowered, most any laptop is still small, quiet, and relatively low on power consumption, making it a seriously valuable spare to keep handy—even without a working screen. With some free software, a little know-how and some creative thinking about your home network, nearly any old laptop can find its second wind, and today I'll run through some of the best ways to get it there.Photo by daveynin.

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Tech blogger Phil Windley grew tired of trying to eject his external back up disk, first the suggested Apple+E way and then by yanking a cord, just to see that ominous red stop sign of warning every day, even when he knew his disk operations were (or should have been, at least) done. His suggestion for others suffering from clingy back up drives: Parse together a terminal command similar to the one below (substituting name and other portions for whatever fits your system):

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Weblog gHacks takes you step-by-step through backing up important files to an off-site FTP server with the freeware Windows software, Cobian Backup. The post assumes you've got some extra webspace out there, which many of us do these days, and when you've completed the simple walkthrough, you'll be uploading compressed backups of your most important stuff on a schedule you can set and forget. Cobian can also be used to back up to external drives or other drives on your network, but if it doesn't feel quite right to you, you should also check out how to automatically back up your hard drive with SyncBack.

Backup important files to FTP

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Mac OS X Leopard only: If you've got a FireWire drive hooked up to your Mac, chances are Leopard's dead simple backup utility, Time Machine, has you backing up your data—and that's a huge step forward if you weren't backing up at all pre-Leopard. But Time Machine is only one piece of a full backup scheme. Macworld runs down what Time Machine can do (effortless, regular, intervention-less local backups) and what it can't (system clones and online backup). If you want to complete your backup scheme, use an online service (Mozy Home Unlimited is the best 5 bucks I spend per month) and once in awhile, mirror your entire system to a bootable drive. That way if your FireWire drive gets stolen or dies, or your whole system crashes, you'll be up and running instantaneously. What other backup services do you use in addition to Time Machine? Tell us in the comments.

Is Time Machine all you need?

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Mac OS X only: The latest version of our favorite system cloning/backup utility for Mac, SuperDuper, is now fully Leopard compatible. What do you need a third party backup utility for when you're rockin' Time Machine, you ask? Good question, friend. While Time Machine is incredible for incremental file backups that happen in the background, without intervention, SuperDuper's strength is its ability to clone your entire Mac onto a bootable backup, which Time Machine does not do—well, not as easily as SuperDuper does.

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Windows only: Want a place to stash your files but lack a home server or need more than Mozy's free 2 GB? Zoogmo, a peer-to-peer file backup program, lets you utilise your buddies (the ones with huge hard drives, anyways) for reciprocal backup. After you both install the client software, you can search each other out and trade files back and forth in an interface familiar to anybody who's done some file-sharing. Each file, however, can only be 50 MB during Zoogmo's beta period, so don't expect to trade many video files (or large databases). Zoogmo is a free download for Windows systems only, requires a free sign-up to use.

Zoogmo

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Hard drives fail, and they do it much more often than we'd like to think. Even if you've set up automated hard drive backups, you're not necessarily getting the best backup bang for your buck—especially if your operating system's main hard drive fails. Even if you've been backing up your important files, you'll still need to reinstall your OS and go through the pain of copying your files back to your new hard drive, installing new applications, and setting up your system to how you had it. There's a better way, my friends. With a RAID 1 array, you'll always have a perfect backup of your hard drive so that—in the event that one drive fails—the other will seamlessly pick up where it left off. That means no reinstalling your operating system, no reinstalling applications, and no time lost in the event of a hard drive failure.

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Of course you know all about Time Machine's marquee feature—the ability to browse your files back in time—but Blogger James Duncan Davidson details Time machine's equally-excellent-in-its-simplicity feature: restoring an entire system after a hard drive crash. The process is painless. Simply boot from the Leopard install disc with a fresh hard drive in place of your crashed drive; instead of continuing with the install process, go to Utilities -> Restore System from Backup. Then select your backup source (your Time Machine drive), choose which backup you want to restore (most likely you'll want the most recent), then pick the destination drive (your new drive). Then it's simply a matter of kicking back and waiting for Time Machine to do its magic. When all's said and done, your entire system (with a few small exceptions) should be back in the exact same state you left it. I've already done this a couple of times myself, and frankly, it feels good. The simplicity of Time Machine really does compel you.

Restoring from Time Machine

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The MacTipper blog posts the command that will start Time Machine's backup process (and run it in the background) from the Terminal:

/System/Library/CoreServices/backupd.bundle/Contents/Resources/backupd-helper &

Why would you want to do this? Perhaps to kick off a TM backup through an iCal event reminder at exactly the time you want it to start, or combined with a reminder to plug in your FireWire drive and get backing up. Hit up the MacTipper link to get that AppleScript.

Use Time Machine Through the Terminal

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Linux only: Free open source backup utility FlyBack exists to offer part of the features in Mac OS X Leopard's vaunted Time Machine—at least the part involving set-it-and-forget-it, time-stamped backups. Install and load FlyBack, tell it where your external drive is and which folders you want to back up and when, and the program sets up your Linux system's cron scheduler to do it. The program is still in its infancy, but has come a long way since a buggy version I gave up on in early November, and I prefer the pared-down interface edges to more advanced apps like TimeVault. FlyBack is a free download for Linux systems and may require installing a few Python libraries to get running (detailed at the project page)

FlyBack

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Now that Leopard's long since dropped and the masses have seen the simple power of Time Machine, it might be a good time to take another look at similar solutions for other systems. Luckily, the Howto Forge has posted a helpful step-by-step through installing and configuring TimeVault, an integrated backup solution for Ubuntu and Debian-based Linux distributions. The tutorial walks through the process on an Ubuntu system, but would likely help other GNOME-based systems get most of the way there. If you're more the DIY, terminal-hacking type, you can always use cross-platform solution rsync to get the job done.

Creating Snapshot Backups Of Your Desktop With Timevault On Ubuntu 7.10

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Windows only: Archive all your email messages to DVD or to your hard drive with MailStore Home, a desktop email import, search, and archiving utility. Fire up MailStore Home and import any POP/IMAP email (like Gmail or Yahoo Mail) or Outlook, Windows Mail, or Thunderbird email. MailStore Home sucks in all your messages and lets you burn a backup disk or store and search your entire library locally for when you're offline. MailStore Home also has some disk space conservation smarts, and it doesn't lock your messages into a proprietary format.