May 24, 2011, 7:30 PM — I seem to be living in a technology Bermuda Triangle. Two weeks ago my media-center PC died suddenly, and two days ago my primary desktop went belly up. Sure, I was able to switch over to my laptop and get back to work, but for the time being my data was trapped inside the defunct desktop. At least, it would have been trapped, if not for my secret weapon: SugarSync.
Like Dropbox and similar services, SugarSync provides me with "magic folders" that automatically sync to online servers. Thus, every Word document I save to one of those folders is quickly, quietly, and securely copied to the cloud.
Likewise, because I have SugarSync on my laptop, that same data gets downloaded to folders there. So although I still have stuff I need to rescue from my desktop, my most important files are already available to me--and not just on my laptop, but also on the Web, my iPhone, etc. It's a beautiful thing.
I'm not saying SugarSync is the ideal solution for everyone, but I definitely recommend using some kind of folder-syncing service for easy and effective data redundancy. Because, take it from me, you never know when your PC is going to die a weird and unexpected death.
Keep File Dates Intact When Restoring Data From Mozy
Even though, I've suffered some fairly catastrophic hardware failures, no critical data was lost--in part because I use Mozy to archive the important stuff (Word documents, my Outlook PST file, etc.) to the cloud.
It's interesting the things you learn about your backup system when the time comes to restore from it. For example, I once learned the hard way that the image file I'd created flat-out didn't work on the new hard drive I'd installed. (Why? I never did figure it out, which is why you should always do a "test restoration" whenever implementing a new backup system.) And recently I discovered a weird, annoying anomaly in the way Mozy restores files.
Specifically, after using Mozy's Restore Manager (a small utility intended solely for restoring files) to download my Word documents to my new PC, I discovered that each file's creation date (aka "Date modified") had been altered to today's date. That might not be a big deal for certain kinds of files, but I frequently need to know when a particular document was authored.