As a longtime PC user, I was always frustrated by the backup options. There are TONS of options, but they usually seemed so “hacked” and often took a lot of effort to get working and often did not work very well. I have to admit that I got so frustrated that I just stopped trying to keep my stuff backed up. I would occasionally burn the My Documents folder to a few CD’s, but that’s it. Thankfully, I never suffered a catastrophic failure, or virus. I was lucky – very lucky.
I’ll get back to PC in a moment, but let me talk Mac real quick. I recently became a “switcher,” opting to purchase an Apple notebook over a Windows-based notebook. This thread isn’t about Mac vs. PC, but as with doing anything “new” you get to discover the weaknesses and strengths of a different thing compared to what you are used to. One of the strengths I discovered was Apple’s Time Machine Backup software.
While some Mac users I’ve spoken with don’t “like” it that much, to me it is amazingly simple and elegant. Time Machine automatically backs up your data to a remote drive, every hour, and allows you to “step back in time” to restore your data in the event of a problem. They also have a nice piece of hardware called Time Capsule that works nicely with Time Machine.
For our home, I bought a cheaper Western Digital My Book World Edition 1-TB ethernet-based external drive (rather than USB) to work with Time Machine. My data gets backed up wirelessly and I love it. Caveat: I did have to reformat the drive because the manufacturer’s promise of Mac compatibility was for non-Intel Macs (something the packaging did not specify). But other than that, the only issue is that our network seems a little laggy while it is backing up – but that is to be expected.
For the PC, I’ve been hearing about some recent offerings that have made Windows backup a lot better. In fact, I discovered from the online reviews that the drive I bought for my Mac is actually a very good solution for PC’s too, and actually easier as it works out of the box for PC’s (remember, I had to format it for my Intel Mac).
The bottom line: it is easier than ever to backup your stuff. If you have a network at the church, I highly recommend the Western Digital My Book World Edition 1-TB ethernet-based drive for about $135, or the newer version, the Western Digital My Book Live 1 TB Drive for about $150. If not, there are some really great USB-based drives, like the Western Digital My Passport Essential SE 1 TB USB 2.0/3.0 Ultra Portable External Hard Drive for about $120. All of these options are rated pretty high, are really affordable, and provide automatic backups!