Please read- what is your backup plan?

Yet again, this week I got a call from a devastated student who lost her entire senior project. Her mac died and apple warranty swapped it.


she did not have timemachine set up, did not have any of her files backed up and because of that, lost everything… photos, music, and saddest of all, her entire senior design project that she had worked weeks on.

Please…for the love of whatever god you believe in…If you have a mac, set up timemachine now.

Or, Look at a service like or any of the other backup services for doing this if you are on a pc. (carbonite works for mac too)

I only mention carbonite because I use it myself and it saved me 3 times in the last 10 years when I ran my consultancy. Once for a hard drive failure, once from a laptop theft, and once from just being dumb and accidentally deleting a critical client file at 3am while I was bleary and exhausted.

My own plan consisted of carbonite running 24-7 in the background, a locally saved working file and a daily copy of that working file at days end in a cloud based google drive. That makes 3 copies of mission critical data.

In 20 years of consulting, I never lost a client file that was not recovered.

please, designer to designer and as a human who cares deeply about this community… backup your stuff.

do it now. and encourage others to do the same.


A moment of silence for your student and her computer.

BUT: she learned the way many of us have over the years computers have existed: the hard way. The advantage of learning this way is that it is so seared into your soul that you will never again have a cavalier attitude about backups.

In the early days of personal computers as word processors this was a very common occurrence among college students writing term papers and theses.

Please reassure your student that she will survive. I am a living example 50 years later. I backup everything whenever I have created enough since the last backup that I wouldn’t want to do it again.

One unintended consequence is that the second time the work product is usually much better and doesn’t take as long to finish.

A whole disk backup is excellent protection against hardware failure, but it can take some time. When working on a particularly large project it is very useful to copy just the project files off to a USB stick or some other off-device storage every hour or so (or however often you’ve done enough work you don’t want to do it over).

1 Like

What would be a recommended cloud space that will work with Mac’s TimeMachine?

thanks a lot

For many years I used a piece of software that came with one of my first hard drives, Iomega Quikprotect. It would check any predefined folders every hour and automatically make a copy / update of all files to an external disk (without deleting older files that I didn’t have on my pc anymore: additive backup rather than mirroring). At one point my laptop died completely so I only lost about 45 minutes of work!
Yet, the software is now abandonware and doesn’t run on my new computer with Windows 10. I’ve checked and checked but haven’t been able to find anything similar since. Can’t sleep as well as I used to since then :frowning:
For now I’m making manual backups every now and then on FreeFileSync, I wonder if there are any better options?

Icloud is the preferred method according to apple, but I believe you can specify a location of your choice.

I personally use carbonite. It has served me well, but does charge a yearly subscription fee. The fact that it has saved me thousands in rework has paid for itself many times over.

It also lets you recover a file remotely from a phone or tablet and email it. This has been a great thing when a client called and needed a file and I was on the road.

1 Like

In the late 90s, just before my graduation I have lost my computer (house theft) with my master thesis.
I’ve learnt to have a 2 backups + one extra with the stuff I am working on currently,

1 Like

thanks Kyle @theoutside

they make no mention on allowing TimeMachine to backup to I cloud… as far as I can understand.

[ I do keep 2 external drives as backup]. but planing to go traveling, a cloud backup seems necessary.

thanks a lot

thanks for that!

Anyone old enough to remember around the turn of the century when the fastest storage money could buy(that was actually marketed for workstations)was the 15,000 rpm Seagate Cheetah? Which was only like 18GB, which was tiny even at the time and the price was insane, on top of a SCSI card? I had 2 of them, and…within 6 months of deciding to actually keep regular backups they were both dead. And the refurb replacements were either bad out of the box or only lasted months. Good times.


I previously used Carbonite and it works well. But I was also paying for Dropbox, so I cancelled Carbonite and I’ve now put all of my file folders inside my dropbox folder so that everything is continuously backed up. It’s easy to access from anywhere and dependable so far. I think this would work with the free version of Dropbox, too, but data is limited to 2GB.

I also have an external drive that backs everything up whenever I plug it in.

One thing I do to help insure that I don’t lose things is to use IncrementalSave ALWAYS - never just ‘Save’. It’s a lot of data, but I don’t lose anything.


i’ve been using Blackblaze for almost one year for backups of all my units: PC and external drives and it works great. For automated backups on the external HD i use Cobian Reflector


I used to have a 16TB RAID 10 system which broke down later and it was a pain in ass to recover. Now I use Amazon Glacier cold storage, a little bit expensive to retrieve data but the storage itself is super cheap.

This! :grimacing: Same thing happened to my boss just a couple of months back. Cost $10K to get the data retrieved and get it back up and running (although the data loss was minimal, some files did get lost). Personally I’ve got everything on Dropbox - works great for me, and there’s 30 days of file recovery and version history, which is nice (I think it’s even longer on the business accounts).

1 Like

:crazy_face: It took me 2 weeks but it was free!

1 Like

There was almost 20 years of misc. business and design data on there (roughly 80% wasn’t backed up elsewhere - that has changed!), so we figured it was best left to the professionals :joy:

16 years ago I lost my graduation project due to HDD failure.this is the best thing I’ve learned from during my final project (death+taxes+data loss)
Now I pay dearly for a cloud backup service for almost a decade and it worth every penny.

I’ve been using Dropbox in the same way for about a decade now. And it’s worked great and has indeed saved my ass more than once! I starting paying for the Pro version in 2014, which was 100GB for $99.00 annually. I never bought any updates. It’s now called Dropbox Plus and is 2TB for $119.88. It’s been especially great when you migrate to a new computer and just sync one folder under C:\ to get all files over. I’m sure there are better/cheaper options out there, but would definitely recommend.

Dropbox here for years - so easy and I sleep well. Wonder if I should :slight_smile:

Previously I used external hard disks - would be cheaper but creates a mess for me and stuff I have to do to keep it safe and backed up. Others might handle it better. For me Dropbox makes it simple and low maintenance and low workload.

1 Like