Guys, I'm fairly computer literate and have built and pretty much maintain about 10 systems of my own. I have a situation where a person I know needs to be able to backup her data (photographs) pretty regularly to an external HDD.
She is a photographer and this is her business. I think I remember from years back that there are several programs that you can set to "automatically" update folders on external drives (as long as it is plugged in of course). I even remember that one manufacturer sold HDD's with like a "one touch" feature that all you had to do was plug it into your computer, hit a "sync" button and whatever data was new would automatically be copied over to the backup drive.
Does something like this really exist or am I dreaming something? If so, what is the best option for software? Thanks all.
Be very, very careful with programs that "automatically synchronize" folders. The huge flaw with this logic is that if she accidentally deletes the file from her primary drive then the synchronization software will delete it from the secondary drive as well.
What you want is a solution that will let you do a "point in time" restore. For example, if she deleted the file yesterday, you want to be able to restore to based on files that existed the day before yesterday.
Also remember that for critical data a sound backup strategy is to have two offline copies of the data, one of which is stored offsite.
I use this program called Memeo Autobackup that automatically backs up my data when I connect my external harddrive. It also allows your backup up to 2 copies of a certain file, hence if you accidently delete something than you can go and use the restore function up to the last 2 edited files.
If I am not mistaken until the drive is full it won't delete files you might have chosen to delete (and it differentiaties which have already been deleted or not). That way if 1 month later you realised you deleted the wrong thing you can go back and restore it. But doublecheck this.
The site is www.memeo.com and it comes with the WD external hardrives. But I bought the Memeo Autosync and Memeo AutobackPro for extra protection. Off the topic I find the Autosync incredible as it syncs edits for word documents, etc. in real time too my laptop.
But sminal is right in that having 2 offsite is important. I think photos should have no problem fitting in another external or CD's.