Carrie stopped by last week to remind you to back your data up. I’m going to reiterate that, and add a few things.
A PI that I know well tells the story of a student whose apartment building caught on fire while he was writing his dissertation. Luckily, he was able to get himself and his family out safely. As soon as he did that, though, he ran back inside and began throwing floppy disks out the window to his family. This was, obviously, a few years ago, but it’s the ‘you better back your data up’ story that is told frequently in our lab. It was probably the most heroic data recovery mission in the history of my lab, and hopefully it stays that way.
Because of this, we have a rule in our lab that says you must have both an onsite and off-site backup (you know, in case one of those two sites catches fire). So how do you do that?
You can follow Carrie’s method and backup to an external drive. Just back up twice and keep them in separate locations.
If you haven’t noticed from my earlier posts about reference managers and finding papers, I really like coming up with methods that don’t involve me doing the work. For backups, I’ve been using Crashplan for a few years. It runs in the background and backs your files up to a location of your choosing. Right now, I have my work computer backing up to an external drive that I keep in my office, my home computer, and to the cloud. This last option isn’t free, but my data is worth more than the $49 that I hand over annually. I’ve recoered data from the servers multiple times and even just used it to fetch files that I put on a hard drive that I didn’t bring home with me.