A week ago, both my harddrives were not recognized, and my PC booted saying “insert system disk”. I guess this is among the most dreadful things a PC can say to me, and my mind started racing: “What do I have backups of?”, “I didn’t commit those changes to …” and worst, “My entire mail archive will be lost”. Luckily, Windows had just somehow shot the boot sector, and I was able to get back at the harddisks.
There’s no backup of stuff on my Windows PC. I decided I had to change that, and since I’m too lazy to shove my data onto my home on the network at regular intervals, I needed software to do that job for me. I found Second Copy. It’s something like an rsync for windows, with a user-friendly interface. You say which folders it should back up, and every few hours, it checks whether you’ve made changes and synchronizes them to the target directory (a folder in my home). It can also store the backup in a ZIP file. Or, if you want two computers to be in synch, it can synchronize in both directions.
I analyzed which folders I’d really miss in case of a crash, and now I use it to synchronize my User Profile, My Mail, and my local Documents folder.
This is very, very useful stuff, and I recommend you try it out for yourself. It costs money, though, so if any of you anyone seen something like it on sourceforge or anywhere that we can use for free, that would of course be even better…