Your hard drive will crash.

Did that get attention?  I hope so!  Comment that you read this! When your drive goes BOOM

When your hard drive crashes, it is SO FRUSTRATING.   I know from experience.  TWICE.  Imagine losing all of your photos, having to re-download all of your music, and never being able to access any files you had previously.  Ugh.

I was one of the many morons in this world that places a lot of value of the information on my hard drive, but never backed it up!!  Do you realize that you hard drive will crash one day?  It has a shelf life.  If I understood the research I did correctly, 39% of drives will crash within 5 years.  In the first two years alone, 15% of hard drives crash.  And then there's this article that says 1 in 5 (20% for you math majors) hard drives will crash in its lifespan.  Yikes!

Call me big daddy when you back that drive up

There are a number of ways to protect the information on your hard drive:

  • Hide your laptop under your mattress

  • Run backup programs on your computer that store on your computer

  • Burn CDs or DVDs of your files and programs

  • Copy files to an external hard drive

  • Post as many things as possible online

  • Use a cloud backup program

Any of these methods is better than doing nothing, but the first 4 are all ruined by the possibility of fire, theft, or data degradation (i.e. the CD gets too old to read).  Also, the safest  and most feasible option of the first 4 is the fourth one, but to truly be helpful, you should carry your external hard drive with you everywhere.  Who wants to do THAT?!  My brother, Micah.  That's who.  What a nerd.  Posting online on Facebook and Flickr is good, but it's only part of  your information and sometimes a lower quality version of the picture.

After many years of using an external hard drive (which was better than having nothing during the crashes I had), I finally got tired of actually DOING the backups.   That was my biggest problem.  I wanted something that was safe, helpful, and something I did not have to think about.

Enter Mozy

Mozy is my favorite of the cloud backup companies.  They're dead simple to use and it all happens BEHIND THE SCENES!  When you step away from your computer long enough, BAM, it starts backing up those 3 songs, 20 pictures, and 1 file you added.  It is protected with military grade encryption, so you can feel safe.

Mozy has two small cons. The first is that it takes a LONG time to upload ALL of your files the first time.  Sometimes a week or two.  But after the initial upload, it takes minutes to upload the small files you've added or changed.  Super easy!

The second flaw was a little more crucial.  I was very curious if Mozy worked, so when my hard drive began to crash a second time (I started hearing a click whirrrrrrrr noise and my computer kept popping up a BSOD), it was still when I was using both Mozy AND my external hard drive.  The external hard drive would be super quick, but this was my opportunity to test Mozy out.  After removing my broken hard drive and starting over with a new hard drive and Windows, I loaded Mozy onto it and asked it upload all of my files.  Well, it worked AMAZING!!  Everything was on my computer, exactly as I wanted it, and sorted.  Everything was there!!  Or so I thought.  Upon closer inspection, EVERY SINGLE VIDEO I recorded with my STILL CAMERA was missing!  WTF!  After some research, I discovered the reason was because Mozy is set to record in "sets."  The photo set looks for files in My Documents and My Pictures.  The video set looks for files in My Documents and My Videos.  Well, the videos that my digital camera records are by default put into the My Pictures folder and did not get uploaded!  Well, THANK GOD I had my external hard drive, so I didn't lose anything, but it was a close call.  After that, I went through all of the sets in detail and discovered it was all as it should be.  That one set was the only issue.

That flaw notwithstanding, especially since it's a dead simple fix, I HIGHLY recommend Mozy!

You have options

There are 3 different versions of Mozy available.  The first is a free version of Mozy. You can back up 2 GB for free to just give it a try.

Most people have more than 2 GB, which is why I got MozyHome. You have UNLIMITED backup with MozyHome and it's only $4.95/month. TOTALLY WORTH IT.

If you really need more features, you can get MozyPro.  If that doesn't look right, click Products at top to see a comparison chart of MozyHome and MozyPro.

There are other cloud computing backup services as well, such as Carbonite, SugarSync, Microsoft Live Mesh, LiveDrive, Syncplicity, and Humyo, but why waste your time when Mozy works, offers unlimited GB, and is the cheapest???

Willing to try it?  Let me know by commenting.

UPDATE:  11/23/10:  If you're in the UK, you can click here for Mozy.  If you're in Europe, you can click here to try Mozy for FREE.