You’ve heard the advice countless times, but it is oh so easy to ignore: You simply must back up your Mac. If you don’t back up your files, it’s a question of when—not if!—you’ll lose something important or irreplacable. Instead of making a hard-to-keep New Year’s resolution like losing weight or exercising more, this year resolve to do something that only takes a smidgen of willpower to get started and then mostly takes care of itself: Make—and manage—regular backups of your computer.
This isn’t new advice. Intellectually, you know should be backing up your files. It just seems like so much effort, and your hard drive seems fine anyway. So let’s make getting a reasonable backup in place as painless as possible.
Many of us whizz our way to the relatives’ for the holidays, carrying with us a plethora of electronics. Sadly, on arrival, we find that our cousin canceled cable service because of cost, snow downed a DSL drop, or mom and stepdad’s new house in the woods is in a cellular coverage shadow—no 3G nor 2G signal to be found for miles!
What can you do? Prepare before you go for the worst-case scenario. There have never been more options for acquiring high-speed Internet access even when a feed isn’t convenient. That counts for your old family home or a hotel.
(Tip: If you’re planning to rely on mobile broadband, visit your carrier’s site and use their coverage map to see if you can receive high-speed data where you’ll be. These maps are estimates, not guarantees, but it’s still a good way to avoid unpleasant surprises—such as entirely empty areas of coverage.)
This week many people will suffer the indignities and inconvenience of long-distance travel to personally deliver gifts to their distant loved ones. As appreciated as your presence and presents are sure to be, I’d suggest sharing one additional gift—your technical knowledge. Odds are you visit this site and are reading these words because of your enthusiasm for Apple’s work. Those odds are just as good that you’ve picked up many helpful tidbits along the way—bits of information that your friends and family could benefit from. As this is the season of giving, might I suggest that you consider giving of yourself in the following ways?
Check for backup
Once you’ve ensured that all the smoke alarms in the house can perform their assigned duty, check that the Macs in the home are likewise ready to save the family bacon. If your family members respond with “Huh?” when you pose the “How are you backing up your data?” question, start planning a backup strategy for them. In the short term, a Dropbox account could be enough for the most important files. In the long term, come up with a solution that backs up all of the computer’s data—Time Machine and an external hard drive, for instance.
Did you know you can copy and paste a whole lot more than just text and graphics? When you start in the Finder, you can use the Copy command to lift all sorts of information from a selected Finder item. Here are some of Sharon Zardetto's favorite tricks.Read more »
Sharon Zardetto shows how you can use help tags (formerly known as tooltips) to find the full name or path of a file in the Finder, get a quick summary of a help topic, learn all about a font, and more. Read more »