Even more valuable than your shiny Mac hardware is the data you create on it. At any time, your Mac may contain that vital customer list or the last three months’ sales figures. Although a computer can always be replaced, critical data cannot. In this chapter, you will learn about the most common backup tools and recommended backup plans.
Your computer data is important, and your hard disk is going to fail. Hopefully that failure will be sometime after you are done with your computer but oftentimes it is not. The trouble is, you don’t know when that failure is going to take place. Most disks are sold with one-, three-, or five-year warranties, but those are just estimates. The only thing certain is that your disk will fail sometime between the next few years and the next few seconds. You can survive this inevitable disk failure with a reliable backup plan.
The reason so few computer users historically have had a backup plan is because, until recently, backing up was hard. The software was cryptic and unfriendly. Worse yet, there was no simple way to test your backup to know if it even worked. People didn’t trust their backup, so they didn’t bother. Apple provides several products to address these difficulties, including a simple and reliable backup system that comes free with Mac OS X: Time Machine.
Starting with ...