Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tech: Off Site Backup Using Windows Live Sync

First off let me say that if you currently have no backup in place for your files, you will regret it.  I keep all of my files on a separate physical drive than my OS and Programs.  My previous method of backup was to just copy all of the files on that drive to a large external hard drive and put it in a fire proof safe.  Not an optimal method for multiple reasons:
1.  Content on there was very rarely up to date because taking the drive out of the safe and copying files was a pain. 
2.  I’m putting a lot of trust that the safe is actually fire proof, and that it still wont get hot enough to run the drive in the case of a fire.

However I came up with a new plan the other day that uses Windows Live Sync.  I created 4 root folders on my “Files” drive: Documents, My Music, My Pictures, My Videos.  And all content is stored in their respective folder.  I then set up Windows Live Sync on my desktop with profiles for each of those folders.  Next I brought my external hard drive to work and set up sync profiles for those folders to the external hard drive.  So my system basically acts like DropBox, without the space limitations (but also without the online storage).This has been a great choice so far because:
1.  My files are automatically synced to an off site location with no space limitations (except my own hard drive space).
2.  ANY file I update or create at work or at home is automatically synced.
3.  Completely Free! (not counting the cost of the hard drives which I already had).

You might be wondering why I created 4 profiles if I’m backing everything up.  The reason is that I am also syncing “My Pictures” to my notebook computer.  My wife uses our notebook much more frequently than the desktop, and Windows Live Sync plays well with Windows Live Photo, so she can put photos from the camera onto the notebook and everywhere else is updated automatically.

One thing to note is that I have about 400 gigs of content so before bringing my external hard drive to work I manually copied the files via the usb connection so that it wouldn’t take forever to get all of the files.