Recently, the logic board on my Macbook Pro malfunctioned with no warning whatsoever and I had to send it in for repair. It was one of those things where everything was fine during the day but later in the evening, nothing but a black screen. I had experienced a computer crash years ago when I had a PC. Back then I had my files backed up on an external drive but reinstalling all of the software (Lightroom, Photoshop, MS Office, etc) was a complete chore. Having become a Mac user a few years ago, several photographers on Naturescapes.net suggested I use Apple’s Time Machine as a backup of my entire computer. Trusting their advice, I bought a 1TB external HD from Seagate and dedicated it to Time Machine. Here is how Apple describes it on their website:
Time Machine is the built-in backup that works with your Mac and an external drive (sold separately) or Time Capsule. Connect the drive, assign it to Time Machine, and start enjoying some peace of mind. Time Machine automatically backs up your entire Mac, including system files, applications, accounts, preferences, music, photos, movies, and documents. But what makes Time Machine different from other backup applications is that it not only keeps a spare copy of every file, it remembers how your system looked on any given day—so you can revisit your Mac as it appeared in the past.
From my recent experience, their description is completely accurate. Furthermore, I’d like to emphasize that part about “peace of mind”. Once my computer was returned, I started it up and was prompted to connect the Time Machine backup. That’s all it took and about 3 hours later, my computer was restored exactly as I had last used it. Well, not exactly as I had not backed up in two weeks but all my recent images were still on their cards and the few excel files I had modified were easily restored. Photoshop, Lightroom, iTunes, MS Office, EndNote, everything I use was restored. I did not have to find the CD’s and manually reinstall all that software. My most important files (doctoral manuscripts, saved articles, photos, etc.) were all right there. Everything was configured and operating exactly as the day I had last used it. I can’t tell you how impressed and relieved I was, but I’m trying to tell you in this blog.
As for the Seagate external hard drive. I’ve trusted Seagate for the past 10 years. I’ve also used Western Digital with confidence over the past 5 years. Drives from each of these makers have proven reliable. My photos are all stored on a Western Digital external hard drive and another Western Digital drive serves as a backup to that one. The Seagate remains dedicated to Time Machine. I cannot emphasize enough that if you are operating a computer and do not have a backup, go out and buy an external drive right now and make sure you protect yourself. Computers are technological tools with working components that eventually will wear out so as I say in the title of this blog, it’s not a matter of if, but when. Don’t get caught by surprise.
Until next time, keep shooting and remember to backup those files. I’ll heed my own words and try to do both more frequently 🙂 — Kevin