Backing up your work/computer - Techy question

  • Hello everyone!
    I was in the process of cleaning up my computer and started thinking my backup process is probably not the safest/most effective. As I am doing more and more client work these days, I feel like I should have a bulletproof backup system (if it exists...)

    What I currently do is keep pretty much everything on dropbox. I usually do a back up of my computer (mac) with time machine once every 1 month or so, but it doesn't back up the stuff that is only in my dropbox and not synced to my mac... When I am working on a project for I client, I usually copy everything on a USB periodically, although if dropbox would collapse in between two of these extra USB transfer, I would loose sooooooo many hours of work!

    SO! How do you backup your work? How safe is dropbox? Any tips?!


  • Hey! Not only am I an artist, but ye olde day job is as a systems engineer, so this is right up my alley.

    Dropbox is actually a really good place to go (I was going to suggest it when I read the title lol). They do a lot of regular backups, and even offer the ability to restore old files. I can't tell you how many times I've accidentally deleted my file in dropbox and been able to go back to previous versions and get it back. It's a really good option, and unless you're working on something for hours without saving it (don't do that, anyway! lol) I don't think you'd stand to lose much if DB went down, and it would take a lot for the storage side of it to go down (not the network side, but the storage side for sure). They've got redundant file systems and massive storage servers configured to prevent just such an occurrence. I've never lost any files working with DB. So I think you've already got a pretty good solution in place 🙂


  • @Aaron-Pierce EXCELLENT! 🙂 That's what I wanted to hear! Thanks!

  • Hi.
    I'm as photographer all time thinking about safety my photos... Especially that photos what I only took and still not retouched... For 10 years I already realized what is the best way for safe all info.

    So, the first step is external RAID with 2 hard drives working in RAID 1 mode.
    This is "a mirror" mode. That's mean 2 hard drives look like one. All data copied for 2 drives. This is a bit expensive, but is very safe.
    In case of any bad situation with one, you still have second one. And after you change the bad one system will copied all old data to new one and you will get again working double system.
    Connected via USB3 it has good speed.

    The second step is copied all info to Cloud. I did big investigation looking for Cloud what give me chance to save over my 10Tb of all shootings and what will be not so expensive... because each year I create around 1-2Tb of new photos.

    My choice is Yandex.Disk
    The price is around 30$ per year for 1Tb
    Absolutely unlimited space.
    And what more important is super convenient application.

    I've been using this steps already for 3 years... and can answer for any questions 🙂

  • SVS OG

    I don’t have the best setup but I use a hard drive for my work as well as google drive. I hope this helps.

  • SVS OG

    I remember lee mentioning something about Dropbox in “how to make money in illustration” series. I need to look into it now as well. Thanks for bringing up the post!

    And thanks for all the commenters! Helps with options and to know others are using it successfully!

  • SVS OG

    FWIW, I use Carbonite to back up everything. Had a friend who lost over 10,000 photos when his computer crashed, and he got everything back very easily. I love the fact that I don't have to think about it since it backs up whenever I'm online.

  • Why are you doing a time machine back up only once a month? Ithe default is backup changed files every hour?

    You don’t need much for a backup system but you need more than what you have. Few people think of redundancy in backing up. Drives die, that’s a fact.

    The least expensive and easiest is to

    1. Keep files in Dropbox so you have an offsite copy somewhere.

    2. Purchase 2 external drives, the larger the better. 3tb spinning drives can be purchased for $100, buy the largest you can afford (2 of them).

    3. Setup the external drives as your time machine backup and leave it to back up every hour. There is no reason your drop box can’t be included in this process and I is unless you manually disable.

    4. After spending a week (or month) backingup to one of the external drives, disconnect it and store it in a safe or lockbox and then attach drive #2 for the next week (or month). That way you have redundancy which few people think about. You will have the copy on your computer/Dropbox, a copy on drive 1 and a copy as of the last week on drive 2. 3 copies of most files.

  • I need to improve my process, but what I do at the moment is use Dropbox like you 🙂 But I also have a couple external harddrives that I just copy all the files from my desktop to every month.

    One hard drive is under my bed, the other is in the cupboard at work so that it's not in the same place as the computer. The one at work I bring home and update from time to time with new files 🙂

    My issues are 1. trying to keep the folder structure on my pc nice and tidy so it's easier to backup and also 2. taking a few minutes to see how to update the folders on the external harddrive so it only updates the new files, I normally just copy the lot even if it already exists but it takes ages and I'm sure it's possible to do it quicker I'm just concerned it will miss something.

    I used Crashplan for a few years too, which is an app (on the PC, iPhone, Android etc) that runs in the background and constantly backs up everything while you work, it can also keep external hard drive backups too. It was only about £5 a month and worked really well, but when I got a new PC I cancelled it as it does slow the pc down a little; it was cool though.

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