Backup everything: Plan and action

A personal reminder and a documentation of how I back(ed) up everything. This is a work-in-progress document.

General steps

1. Sight everything you want to back up

  • Old / current / new computers
  • Old / current / new hard drives
  • Old / current / new SD cards
  • Offline data
  • Online data (your website, stuff you put on social media)
  • (Maybe also digitizing analog data like vinyl records, tapes or CDs to prevent them from being destroyed or trashed)

2. Backup what you sighted in step 1 (structured and with order)

  • If you’re on a Mac, use Time Machine for a local backup (I need to do that myself) and back that up with an online service like Backblaze.
  • For working data that use for your business or important personal areas [1] works as well. It’s privacy-aware alternative to Dropbox.

3. Make a backup of your backup (of your backup…)

  • You can have a backup of the files on your computer on an external hard drive. You can have a backup of that external hard drive on a second external hard drive or in the cloud in an online service you trust. For large files (backing up my whole computer) I trust Backblaze, as I said. For smaller files (backing up my work data) I trust
  • An example scenario: You’re working on a project (a film, book, building a house, etc.) and you cannot lose the digital files on the computer you’ve been creating since you need them daily. So you put those files into a folder that is synced to, hence the name 😉 If the project is over you move those onto your permanent backup place that could be at Backblaze. If the project has been lasting several months, consider making a backup of these work files not only on but also on Backblaze. For peace of mind.

4. Schedule regular backup cycles

  • Depending on the type of data (offline, online) you can create a cycling schedule of doing backups. For example, backup sensitive data every day, and “archive data” ever every 2 weeks.
  • Keep in mind if you want to back up external hard drives with Backblaze that you plug in those external hard drives at least every 30 days (read the respective entry at the Backblaze Help Desk). If you’re on vacation for a long time and „your computer is completely unable to contact our servers (either it’s shut off, or no internet connection)“, your most recent backup snapshot will be retained for 6 months on the Backblaze servers. „As long as your computer can contact Backblaze at least once every 6 months and perform a full Backblaze file scan operation, you don’t delete or transfer the backup and you retain active billing, your most recent snapshot will be retained.” (as cited from Backblaze’s other article “What happens to my backups when I’m away or on vacation?“)

If you don’t back up, here are some „horror stories“ that make you do

The actual backup process

  1. Make a list of all sources of data.
  2. Then go through every source, one by and sight the data so you can organize them after.

I expect that the whole process including the literal backup will take some weeks.


7 July 2017, version 0.1 — Brain-dumped the general steps to keep in mind. Linked to the first „horror story“. Wrote the first two steps of the actual backup process


[1] This is a referral link. You get +1GB and I get +1GB if you sign up for

Also published on Medium.

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