My New Backup, Backup Drive

Today I had to buy a backup, backup drive. Yes, that’s right. For as long as I’ve been using computers, I’ve been a textbook backup “good boy” — regular, rotating backups, and two copies of all archived projects.

A lot of good that did me this week. In a confluence of events that only Mr. Murphy (of Murphy’s Law) could dream up, three things happened at once:

  1. My network-wide Retrospect backup decided to malfunction for several days (only for MY Mac, naturally).
  2. My email program permanently froze/crashed in the middle of the night.
  3. The external hard drive that automatically gets a mirrored backup of my Mac every night permanently seized up first thing in the morning.

For those of you following along so far, this means that I had a corrupted email database and a three-day-old backup — even though I make two backups every night.

And for those of you thinking ahead, this also means that I’ll have NO mirrored backup until my broken drive gets fixed — which could take weeks.

So… to continue having a nightly mirrored-backup of my Mac, I needed to buy, yes, a backup backup drive.

OK, so I bit the bullet and did that. Fortunately, hard drive prices right now are at an all-time low (but then, I guess they always are, right?). I paid $90 for a 500GB hard drive and $30 for an external FireWire/USB 2.0 enclosure. Such a deal.

But how does this relate to QuarkXPress? How about backup, backup copies of every document you create, automatically?

Very few QuarkXPress users I’ve met use this fantastic feature that’s been around since version 3. Go have a look at QuarkXPress’s Preferences. Click on the Save section. One option auto-saves your file at whatever interval you’d like. The other option saves a new version of your file every time you choose File> Save (or Command/Ctrl-S).

This means that you’ll never save over something you wanted to keep, and that you’ll never lose more than a few minutes’ work, even if your dog pulls the power cord out of your computer. (Or Mr. Murphy strikes again and you discover that the battery in your battery backup wore out just before the power went out — right now, while you’re on a deadline.)

For a step-by-step on how to use this feature, see today’s Tip. I guarantee that sometime when you need it most, you will be very happy you did.