Archived - Backup 3.0 Help: Developing a backup strategy
The following recommendations can help you develop a good backup strategy.
This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.
- Save space with occasional forced backups.
The first backup of a particular set of files is a "full backup" (all files are backed up). Subsequent backups are incremental—that is, only the changed files are backed up. Incremental backups take up less space than full backups. After you use Backup for a while, you may want to force a full backup so that you can delete incremental backups to save space.
- Decide what you want to back up and think about the best way to do it.
You don't have to select all the default backup plans provided. The Home Folder plan, for example, backs up the purchased music in your home folder, so if you select the Home Folder plan, you don't need to select the Purchased Music plan too.
- Back up any documents you create.
If you save all your documents to your home folder, you can choose the Home Folder backup plan to automatically back up these items. If you routinely save files to a location other than your home folder, you can pick specific files and folders to back up.
- Back up any data you don't want to lose.
In addition to documents, consider backing up items such as preference files, email settings, and Internet bookmarks. QuickPicks can help you save such files easily.
- Schedule automatic, regular backups.
Consider how you work and how often your information changes. You may need daily backups, or you may feel comfortable backing up weekly. The key is to schedule automatic backups so that you never have to worry about losing your data.
- Check your first backup.
After a backup is complete, make sure it occurred as you expected and you can restore files from it. Practice restoring files from a backup before you actually need to. Restore practice backups to a location other than the one specified in the plan.
- Make sure your backups are secure.
Keep backup copies in a safe place where you can easily access them, such as your iDisk. (To back up to your iDisk, you need a MobileMe account and a Mac with a broadband Internet connection.) If you keep backup copies on CD or DVD discs, don't store them near your computer; anything that could damage your computer could damage items near it. Backup doesn't encrypt information it backs up. If you use FileVault to encrypt your home folder, your information is not encrypted in the backup location. If you have sensitive information, make sure you find a restricted location for your backups.
This document was formerly an online Backup Help article.
Last Modified: Jul 1, 2012