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Apple Mac OS X tips and tweaks

Date: 27th April 2011

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Back up your files with iBackup

Backing up your files is always a good idea because you never know when disaster might strike. The disk may corrupt the files on it, the disk may fail, or you simply might spill your coffee over your MacBook. There are lots of ways you can lose files and it is essential that you have a copy of them on another device, such as an external disk drive. Of course, Apple's Time Machine is a good solution, but for various reasons you might want to use a different backup program. Time Machine isn't compatible with all devices, for example. iBackup is a handy backup program that has been around for years and it is free, so grab a copy and start backing up.

The program is unusual for a backup program and it has an interesting interface. There is a panel on the left that displays categories of files you might want to back up, such as System Settings, Movies, Music, Pictures, your home folder and so on. Select a category and a list of items is displayed on the right. You can tick a whole category or just select the specific items you want from within the category. There's a plus button at the bottom to add more categories, so you can add folders and files that aren't currently listed.

At the top is Backup and Restore and you click the Set button at the right hand side to set the locations. I chose a Buffalo LinkStation network attached storage drive. It's a standalone unit that plugs into a router with a LAN cable and it contains a 1Tb disk drive. It works fine with a Mac and you can browse the network and mount the NAS drive on the desktop. It can then be selected as the backup destination in iBackup.

If you go to Preferences you'll find options to configure iBackup to back up on a schedule, such as every day at a particular time. The Mac can be put into sleep mode when it has finished or shut down. Scripts can be run before and afterwards too. It's a useful tool and you can't complain about the price.


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