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There are many ways to implement a systematic backup scheme, none of them more "right" than any other. The best bet is to look over the possibilities and see which best fits your needs. To add to available choices, here is my approach. Feel free to use or discard as you see fit.

First, I organize files I wish to back up into two categories: personal documents and image files. The reason for this is that personal documents tend to get updated frequently whereas image files tend to get processed intensively at first and then enter a somewhat quiescent archival state. For this reason, I treat them separately.

All backups are done to two separate external disks.  A third disk is periodically updated for off-site storage.

Backup Software

There are many backup products available.  My choice is predicated primarily on my backup working approach.  One can go with an always on strategy or an intermittent on / intermittent backup strategy.  While an always on strategy is clearly the safest, I've chosen the latter strategy, in part to conserve external backup disk life span.

Following initial creation of a data backup on an external disk, I use a freeware program called SyncBack for changes and updates.  It will analyze the primary folder and its backup counterpart and perform a variety of synchronization operations as requested to insure that the backup contains changes to the primary, as specified.  One can either copy new material to the backup disk or fully synchronize both disks to be exact copies.  I generally never delete anything from the original during the sync backup process.

SyncBack use for personal documents is straightforward; all changes are copied to backup.  Photo trips are handled only slightly differently.  When I come home from a trip, I immediately copy all image files from the trip to backup disks. Then, after editing the files I run SyncBack to insure that my changes are captured. One could, of course, use one of the many file backup programs for this purpose but image files tend to be rather large, and I modify them frequently during editing. Backing up changes every time a 100 MB file is saved would tend to bog down the external disk!  While there is a risk of data loss with this approach, the risk is low so long as SyncBack is run frequently.

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If you would like to express thoughts on this subject use the link to send an email.    2016 Michael W. Masters
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