Backup Your Files

After the important files are in order and synced between devices we sort of get them backed up this way to a certain extent of course – this backup will not make your workstation boot into OS again in case something bad happens with HDD or boot partition.. Below is the list of software I use for full partition/HDD backup.

Windows

Acronis True Image: it’s commercial, used it for years, restored backups successfully several times, allows creating live-cd to boot and restore HDD.

Linux

clonezilla + partclone: use for full disk backup, free as in beer & speech but make sure you have the compatible pair because clonezilla depends on partclone and in my case (Mint 17 disrto) default partclone was incompatible with default clonezilla version (issue was -z param of partclone). Seems the easiest way to get both correct versions of clonezilla and partclone is to use “Clonezilla Live” distribution on USB stick, installed using tuxboot.

You need a live-cd to boot & backup because partition/HDD you plan to backup has to be unmounted. I was actually looking into using Acronis for Linux but did not feel very enthusiastic about the price of this edition – it seems only Enterprise edition works on Linux with price tag around 1000$..

Deja Dup: home directory incremental backup/restore.

OSX

Time Machine? Not sure yet because did not set up backup on my Mac. Will be trying out that option but I’ve read it is now incompatible with Samba shares, however a workaround is available – will test that and update the post.

UPDATE (10.09.2015)
After almost a year I am finally ready to update this post with my OSX preference and this is SuperDuper!, whole disk backup.

Sync Your Files

Was thinking about making sense of “My Documents” folder for a long time already. This folder looks like the trash can on every device I have – basically a collection of stuff that is needed and relevant, that was relevant some time ago and stuff that should have been deleted around 10 years ago..

I have copies of old document folders archived from my previous work stations and laptops – everything is unstructured and of course I won’t find a needed doc without spending hours decompressing archives and searching and searching and searching..

Finally I gathered enough determination to stop this – put everything in order and make sure this structured way of storing my important files will transcend my current workstation, laptop, tablet, you got the idea. SO there will be the same folder with important stuff on every next system without manually copying and archiving everything and for that I need some software to sync my important stuff between the devices and OSes.

This is not a review therefore I am not going to compare all the alternatives I found, this is basically a message to my future self to refresh memory on the good stuff related to files sync.

Box – good sync clients for Windows and OSX, however to get proper files sync on Android I had to use different app – Auto Box Sync because as of now Android Box app does not offer automatic files sync – you have to select what you want to upload or download manually every time.

At the time of this post Box gives you 10GB free storage which is enough for my files, there are some limits like 250 megs per 1 file but you can lift the restrictions to 5GB per file and 100GB in total storage for 10$ a month.

UPDATE (10.09.2015)
On Linux you could easily use box without Box Sync app but with WebDav. You need to install davfs2 and configure it correctly, see this link for great description.

Why not Dropbox? It gives less space for free and it syncs all folders on all devices by default or so it seems, Box gives me a possibility to select which folders to sync and which not to. I do not sync all docs on my Android devices – only part due to the space restrictions but I still have the full sync benefits because I can put a file in a folder on my PC for sharing between Android devices and this file will appear on my phone and tablet.

That is not all though – if you have your own file server with stuff you do not want to be on the cloud or the total size is too large and cloud-storing this amount is too expensive then you need an app that would be able to run in the background and periodically sync over Samba/FTP/WebDAV/etc.

There is a free app for that with a very straightforward name – FreeFileSync however for that app to work you need some additional ground work like mapping your network location to some local file system path/drive.

I decided that I do not want to be doing that and would not like to have 2 points of potential failure instead of 1 (drive mapping failure or file sync app failure instead of just file sync app potential failure) so I used commercial alternative GoodSync which is ~30$ per workstation (Win or OSX) and used Synchronize Ultimate for Android. It has some in-app purchase options, most likely I used those but do not remember the actual cost, most likely it was something like couple of EUR.

Couple of words on security for the paranoid among us – yes it is possible your stuff will be snatched from the cloud but the chance your laptop would be stolen is much higher, the same goes for your phone. The simple conclusion is that you have to encrypt your home folder where your synced files are stored and you have to encrypt the device if we are talking about Android devices.

Use BitLocker for Windows, FileVault for OSX and EncFS for Linux.

Amen.