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Slydude
06-27-2012, 11:40 AM
No matter how reliable your Mac has been, you need a plan for backing up your data. At some point a hard drive will fail, you'll delete an important file or just do something stupid as I did recently. When that happens you'll be glad you had a backup. Lets look at some of the things you need to consider in developing an effective backup strategy. In the second part of the series we'll look at some of the tools available for backing up your Mac.

Archive, Backup, or Clone

Early on in developing a backup plan, you need to think about whether your data needs to be archived, backed up, or ... ... Return to article to continue reading. (http://www.mac-forums.com/blog/back-it-up-part-1/)

macuser1232
06-28-2012, 01:15 AM
Do you think you or someone could make a post of important files on a Mac that everyone should have and should never delete?
Thanks

Slydude
06-28-2012, 03:49 AM
Do you think you or someone could make a post of important files on a Mac that everyone should have and should never delete?
Thanks

It might take a few of us put something like that together but it's an interesting idea. The files are mostly the same among recent versions of OS X but there are some differences in files and location.

Here's a couple of things that might help in the meantime:
1. There is a System folder at the root level of your hard drive don't remove a file from there unless you know exactly why it needs to be removed. The same goes for the Library folder inside there.

2. There is a Library folder inside your user folder (it's hidden in Lion) you won't need to mess with that often either. If you delete a program and preferences are left behind don't worry about them. They don't generally take up much space or cause problems

3. If Apple places a program (iTunes, iPhoto, etc) in the Applications folder don't move it somewhere else. Once they are moved Software Update cannot update cannot update them till they are put back in their expected places.

vansmith
06-28-2012, 10:00 AM
To be simple: don't move or touch anything outside of your home (user) folder. You'll also want to be very careful messing around in the user Library folder (this is why it's hidden by default).

macuser1232
06-28-2012, 10:16 AM
yeah not too long ago i was messing with my python folder and may have deleted an old version of it but i think i may be fine cause I haven't had any problems with it.

vansmith
06-28-2012, 11:31 AM
It depends on what version of Python you deleted. If you deleted the system Python (/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework), you may run into troubles down the line.

macuser1232
06-28-2012, 11:43 AM
It depends on what version of Python you deleted. If you deleted the system Python (/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework), you may run into troubles down the line.
We'll currently in (/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework) I have versions 2.6, 2.7, and 3.2. But in (/Library/Python.Framework/Versions) I have 2.7, 3.0, and 3.2.

vansmith
06-28-2012, 11:52 AM
I'm not sure why you have Python3 in your System folder - Apple hasn't moved to Python3 yet. Did you symlink the /Library version to /System/Library?

Well, regardless, you haven't deleted them and if you haven't encountered any errors, you might be okay.

macuser1232
06-28-2012, 12:00 PM
I'm not sure why you have Python3 in your System folder - Apple hasn't moved to Python3 yet. Did you symlink the /Library version to /System/Library?

Well, regardless, you haven't deleted them and if you haven't encountered any errors, you might be okay.Ya I manually downloaded these python versions. Plus everyone with Mac's have encountered problems with 3.0 and 3.2 Python IDLE. So would it be ok if I deleted the 3 versions? And how would you symlink?

vansmith
06-28-2012, 12:04 PM
The answer to that depends on whether or not you need Python 3. Do you need either of them?

Symbolic links can be created using the ln tool. More info here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbolic_link#POSIX_and_Unix-like_operating_systems).

macuser1232
06-28-2012, 12:11 PM
The answer to that depends on whether or not you need Python 3. Do you need either of them?

Symbolic links can be created using the ln tool. More info here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbolic_link#POSIX_and_Unix-like_operating_systems).

no i just use 2.7

IvanLasston
06-28-2012, 12:15 PM
Great Article - and timely. My entire state seems to be on fire
KOAA.com | Continuous News Coverage | Colorado Springs, Colorado | Pueblo, Colorado (http://www.koaa.com/home/)
9NEWS.com | Denver | Colorado's online news leader | Breaking news, headlines, weather, sports, business and more. (http://www.9news.com/)
Consider donating to the Colorado Red Cross
American Red Cross Colorado Chapters - News - News (http://www.denver-redcross.org/detalle_noticias.asp?SN=200&OP=210&id=12198&IDCapitulo=Q4Q26NY21N)
There are many structures lost to 2 fires - one north near Fort Collins and one in Colorado Springs.

I think one of the key pieces is off site backup. As these fires show - you could be made to evacuate in an instant. You may not have time to even grab your stuff. The online backup is good - if you have the bandwidth to upload that much stuff. It doesn't have to be a pure - backup site like Mozy either. For example - I have a flickr pro account for $25/year - and upload all pictures to Flickr. (I bought an Eye-Fi card which makes it even easier to upload everything to Flickr). I keep most documents in Dropbox so they are always on the cloud and on every device I use.

Another way to backup offsite - is other disks. I keep a USB disk onsite at my work. When I go to the office - I attach it to my computer and run a backup. It isn't as up to date as my home backup but losing a month is better than losing everything. My buddy and I exchange Hard Drives with Pictures on them as another backup. I have a set of his pictures and I give him a set of mine - and we trade disks every now and then and update them.

I've mentioned this before - but another thing you could do is run a raid server - and swap disks periodically. You could put the disks in a safe deposit box or somewhere else off site.

Independent of digital data - another good thing to do is make photocopies of your most important documents and send them to someone you trust. (Birth Certificates, titles, stocks, etc)

EDIT:You're on your own check list
http://bcc.elpasoco.com/Documents/YOYO%20Reference%20Sheet.pdf

macuser1232
06-28-2012, 12:20 PM
Great Article - and timely. My entire state seems to be on fire
KOAA.com | Continuous News Coverage | Colorado Springs, Colorado | Pueblo, Colorado (http://www.koaa.com/home/)
9NEWS.com | Denver | Colorado's online news leader | Breaking news, headlines, weather, sports, business and more. (http://www.9news.com/)
Consider donating to the Colorado Red Cross
American Red Cross Colorado Chapters - News - News (http://www.denver-redcross.org/detalle_noticias.asp?SN=200&OP=210&id=12198&IDCapitulo=Q4Q26NY21N)
There are many structures lost to 2 fires - one north near Fort Collins and one in Colorado Springs.

I think one of the key pieces is off site backup. As these fires show - you could be made to evacuate in an instant. You may not have time to even grab your stuff. The online backup is good - if you have the bandwidth to upload that much stuff. It doesn't have to be a pure - backup site like Mozy either. For example - I have a flickr pro account for $25/year - and upload all pictures to Flickr. (I bought an Eye-Fi card which makes it even easier to upload everything to Flickr). I keep most documents in Dropbox so they are always on the cloud and on every device I use.

Another way to backup offsite - is other disks. I keep a USB disk onsite at my work. When I go to the office - I attach it to my computer and run a backup. It isn't as up to date as my home backup but losing a month is better than losing everything. My buddy and I exchange Hard Drives with Pictures on them as another backup. I have a set of his pictures and I give him a set of mine - and we trade disks every now and then and update them.

I've mentioned this before - but another thing you could do is run a raid server - and swap disks periodically. You could put the disks in a safe deposit box or somewhere else off site.

Independent of digital data - another good thing to do is make photocopies of your most important documents and send them to someone you trust. (Birth Certificates, titles, stocks, etc)Dude i'm right next to you!! I'm on vacation!

macuser1232
06-28-2012, 12:28 PM
The answer to that depends on whether or not you need Python 3. Do you need either of them?

Symbolic links can be created using the ln tool. More info here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbolic_link#POSIX_and_Unix-like_operating_systems).

anyway since i only use 2.7 can i delete all the other versions that are under my (/System) and (/Library) folders?

Slydude
06-28-2012, 12:38 PM
Great Article - and timely. My entire state seems to be on fire
KOAA.co\ (http://www.koaa.com/home/)
First to the important stuff. Until I read your post I had forgotten you were in Colorado. Stay safe.

Glad you enjoyed the article Offsite backup is important. I did not spend a lot of time on the online options due to limited experience with them. Member V6Pony was able to provide some helpful comments via PM.

I like the idea of a RAID for that. haven't played with RAID though I may soon given the number of drive problems. Maybe you should write about the ins and outs of RAIDs in the near future. Some of the descriptions I've read have been either poor or obviously not aimed at the home user.

vansmith
06-28-2012, 01:00 PM
Offsite backup can be relatively easy for small things as well (one could argue that someone emailing their important documents to their own address is primitive offsite backup). For instance, I've set up cron to backup parts of my school work to Dropbox at a regular interval. It runs a basic shell script that compresses a folder and copies it to my Dropbox folder. Relatively simple compared to full offsite backup but it accomplishes the same goal.

Slydude
06-28-2012, 01:10 PM
I've thought about doing something similar. I've had iDisk for a long time but never made much use of it due to speed.

I have several files I'd like to put in an encrypted disk image and store online for easy access. Problem is I need it to be accessed from both Mac and Windows. Preferably without third party software though I don't think that is possible.

vansmith
06-28-2012, 01:21 PM
You could use an ISO image instead of a DMG. ISO images are fully supported by OS X and it's relatively easy to get software that will read them in Windows. Even better, Windows 8 includes native ISO image support.

Slydude
06-28-2012, 01:51 PM
I mentioned this to someone recently but I think when I did we were talking about using DMG files. I don't know why I didn't think of ISO as a possibility. Thanks.

IvanLasston
06-28-2012, 02:42 PM
My family and I are currently safe from the fires - but I have friends in both major burn areas (High Park and Waldo) that are affected. Evacuations and some may have lost their houses already. No one knows quite yet as the burn area in Colorado Springs is too dangerous to get to.

Good info on the ISO. Hadn't thought of that.

I had written up some things on RAID earlier. I may try to consolidate and focus on backup.

Some other places to stash data - again an online distributed strategy is probably good. The more places you have important data - the less chance you have of losing it (i.e. company goes out of business)

dropbox - the gold standard - everything seems to integrate to dropbox nowadays.
www.dropbox.com

box - online - not very well integrated into Desktop OSes. (SugarSync and Dropbox can look like folders on the desktop. Does have an iOS app.
https://www.box.com/

Sugarsync - has a manager just like dropbox for syncing to the deskop. They also have an iOS app that works well. They give you 5GB of space.
https://www.sugarsync.com/

Amazon cloud drive
https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/learnmore
5GB Free.

Microsoft Skydrive
https://skydrive.live.com/

Google Drive
https://drive.google.com/

As always - keeping data online is somewhat of a risk so choose carefully how sensitive information is stored there. Consider encryption (the dmg file, an encrypted iso, using tar and gpg) to store sensitive files online. That being said - being online at all is a risk for identity theft so tread lightly whatever you do when putting personal information online.

EDIT: I use GPG to transfer sensitive files as it is available on all major systems. Here is a good article on how to use it with a shared password.
http://www.cyberciti.biz/tips/linux-how-to-encrypt-and-decrypt-files-with-a-password.html
You could get really fancy and use shared keys to encrypt/decrypt data.
http://drdatabase.wordpress.com/2010/06/09/gpg-a-quick-howto/
Or use an encrypted password file to share
http://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/23869/encrypt-files-using-gpg-and-them-symetric-encrypting-the-key-is-it-a-normal

Slydude
06-28-2012, 02:56 PM
Glad to hear you are OK. Keep us posted.

Thanks for those references. I'll be looking at those as soon as I am a bit more awake.

louishen
06-28-2012, 03:02 PM
How good are those water cooled safe boxes in protecting drives from a house fire (God forbid that happens to anybody)

chscag
06-28-2012, 06:17 PM
Around here the big danger is from Tornadoes. A water cooled safe isn't going to be much of a protection if you can't find the safe. Some folks whose homes have been destroyed by a Tornado have recovered items that were carried a mile or more from their home.

On line storage makes sense but like Ivan warns, you open yourself up to identity theft when storing sensitive data.

Dysfunction
06-29-2012, 01:07 AM
I've mentioned this before - but another thing you could do is run a raid server - and swap disks periodically. You could put the disks in a safe deposit box or somewhere else off site.


RAID is not, and should not be, considered anything like a backup method at all. It's a fault tolerant (not proof) architecture, disks in RAID arrays can (and do) fail regularly and dataloss is not an unusual situation with a RAID array. There are array types that are more tolerant than others, but there are always trade offs. In general, RAID isn't really aimed at the consumer market. It has been adopted in recent years, but it's primarily a high availability type solution.

You should always have another backup method. I'm certainly not going to fail an array, and force a rebuild, on a regular basis simply to have a backup (although I am aware that people do).

IvanLasston
06-29-2012, 02:04 AM
RAID is not, and should not be, considered anything like a backup method at all. It's a fault tolerant (not proof) architecture, disks in RAID arrays can (and do) fail regularly and dataloss is not an unusual situation with a RAID array. There are array types that are more tolerant than others, but there are always trade offs. In general, RAID isn't really aimed at the consumer market. It has been adopted in recent years, but it's primarily a high availability type solution.

You should always have another backup method. I'm certainly not going to fail an array, and force a rebuild, on a regular basis simply to have a backup (although I am aware that people do).

Correct - but there are several raid levels - including mirroring. As I said in some other post - RAID by itself doesn't save you from catastrophic loss like a fire or tornado - you need to have some offsite strategy as well. Taking apart a raid array isn't for the feint of heart either - but it is a way to backup offsite using hard drives. That being said - you'll also need to take ESD protections as well as shock protections when moving hard drives. You also need to keep enough hard drives to rebuild - and that is also dependent on raid level. I never said it was a perfect backup solution - but show me something that is.

Also - if you are backing up - backing up to a single disk is quite a dangerous proposition. Single disk failure is an issue far more frequent than catastrophic loss - so RAID can be a solution for a backup system.

As I said - I need to consolidate and put down the ups and downs of RAID and where it does and doesn't work - but you are absolutely correct - RAID in and of itself is not a backup solution.

Dysfunction
06-29-2012, 03:28 AM
but show me something that is.



At the consumer level, absolutely nothing. You get into the enterprise level, and you get closer with synchronous continual data duplication to remote DR sites, even then there's risk.. just far more mitigated risk.

BTW, I'm more concerned about the risk of dataloss while failing that array, which will depend on array type. For instance, let's look at RAID 5, so we fail a drive. Ok, we have parity across the other drives in the array to rebuild. Awesome! Well, sure but now we're taxing the array members pretty hard, since we're reading parity across all of them. Now, well.. we take say, a read error or spindle failure on one, and poof. The array's gone. No longer rebuildable. Sure, 1's more tolerant of this.. but man... still. It'd be easier just to take an additional drive, mount it and dd the array to it, at least IMHO.

vansmith
06-29-2012, 12:14 PM
Just to augment IvanLasston's previous post, here are the operating systems supported by those cloud storage services through a native client:

Dropbox: Windows, OS X, Linux, iOS, Android and BlackBerry OS.
Box.net: Windows, OS X, iOS, Android and BlackBerry OS (including a PlayBook version).
SugarSync: Windows, OS X, iOS, Android, BlackBerry OS, Windows Phone (screenshots show WP pre 7) and Symbian.
Amazon CloudDrive: Windows, OS X and Android (only music can be streamed).
Microsoft SkyDrive: Windows, OS X, WP7 and iOS.
Google Drive: Windows, OS X, Chrome OS, iOS and Android.

Slydude
06-29-2012, 01:24 PM
Thanks Scruffy:Mischievous:

IvanLasston
06-29-2012, 01:36 PM
Hey Mike, you hit my dilemma dead on. The problem with RAID is the fail/rebuild cycle - at least of the way I was thinking of doing it initially. And as I said - the transport and protection of the drives is still an issue. I mean there is tape - which is a little more robust but having a tape backup is pretty hairy even for a professional IT staff. I've seen plenty of Unrecoverable Read Errors (URE) on both raid and tape solutions to concern me. My thought was one of the mirror raid solutions and rotating in disks - into the mirror - instead of just a parity rebuild (which does stress everything). I don't know all the acronym terminology - is that what you meant by dd?

Right now - a simpler home solution is just to have multiple drives you back up to - which is what I've been suggesting for the time being until I get a raid solution sorted out. Well - I also have some users backing up to a RAID 1 La Cie disk connected to an Airport Extreme just to help mitigate single disk failure.

Dysfunction
06-29-2012, 03:14 PM
Hey Mike, you hit my dilemma dead on. The problem with RAID is the fail/rebuild cycle - at least of the way I was thinking of doing it initially. And as I said - the transport and protection of the drives is still an issue. I mean there is tape - which is a little more robust but having a tape backup is pretty hairy even for a professional IT staff. I've seen plenty of Unrecoverable Read Errors (URE) on both raid and tape solutions to concern me. My thought was one of the mirror raid solutions and rotating in disks - into the mirror - instead of just a parity rebuild (which does stress everything). I don't know all the acronym terminology - is that what you meant by dd?

Right now - a simpler home solution is just to have multiple drives you back up to - which is what I've been suggesting for the time being until I get a raid solution sorted out. Well - I also have some users backing up to a RAID 1 La Cie disk connected to an Airport Extreme just to help mitigate single disk failure.

dd is a unix command. Sorry :D It does a block by block (or byte by byte) copy of a disk, to another disk.. or can. It's a WHOLE lot more usable than that, but that'd be a good way to do a low-level copy, with low stress.

neoncity
07-15-2012, 12:27 PM
I've learned some great tips on backups from this article and forum. My confusion is with online backups especially with iPhoto. I've read for days about online services. Do I need to select a service that supports Time Machine? Would the photos be placed back into the same organization? As a newer Mac user, it seems a bit different than backing up jpegs from a PC.

Slydude
07-15-2012, 03:46 PM
I'm glad you enjoyed the article. Part 2 should be up in a few days.

I have not had much experience with online backup services so please take the following with a huge grain of salt. I don't think the service necessarily must be Time Machine. In the case of iPhoto it would need to keep the library file structure intact.

neoncity
07-18-2012, 09:35 AM
Slydude-Thanks for your quick response. I'm going to try out a Western Digital firewire HD's instead of online backups.