When backup software fails (Time Machine)

It is very important to have daily/weekly/monthly backups of own information. I know many people realize the importance of backups only when worst happens – disk failures and a lot of studies show that users do not pay atention to this particular problem until they have to face it. A long time ago I used to monthly or even less frequently burn DVDs of files I assumed I wont need them for a long time (see the About this blog part). And I recall searching through DVDs to find a particular file which can take a long time. In present times I don’t even burn my photos to DVDs anymore. There are so many now that if I wanted to show them to someone I had to scan a pile of DVDs. With cheap hard drives I keep them on two computers and an external drive. Three copies should suffice and I do my copying manually every time I empty cameras’ memory cards.

I use rdiff-backup to do backups of my laptop to a machine at work to a NTFS partitioned disk. It fails sometimes (due to NTFS disk) and I do have to rebuild the whole backup from scratch. Rdiff-backup never failed me in 7 years when doing backups of ext partition (my desktop machine) to another ext partition (external drive). Once in a while I remember checking the logs and so far so good!

I’m also using the Time machine to backups of my laptop at home. So far I thought that Time Machine can’t fail since so many people praise it. It hasn’t failed me so far backing up on a USB external hard drive and I do have 200GB of small files. But it might have some issues if used over the wi-fi (Time Capsule) or if it is stopped due to hibernating/sleeping. If having issues with these three cases:

(i)  TM is still saying ‘preparing’ after leaving it overnight!

(ii)  TM starts to transfer to disk, but then gets stuck part way:

(iii)  if you look in the Time Machine preferences it says the backup
has failed

then check out this tips.

Checking regularly if a backup software works is AS important AS backing up itself. So many people think that with setting up an automatic backup procedure they have dealt with the job forever. But it often isn’t the case. Even the best backing up software (whichever this is for you) can fail!