Backup Strategy (Q Mac)

pstarfam
pstarfam Member
I back up fairly regularly and have been using Quicken for many years. So I have a lot of back up files. Has someone come up with a strategy or approach for keeping some and deleting some? Or do I keep them forever?

Thanks for your thoughts.
Tagged:

Best Answers

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Answer ✓
    There's no one "right" answer, but the key is having "enough" backups, and ideally multiple layers of backups. I can tell you what I do, which is pretty obsessive…

    Quicken makes automatic backups each time you quit the program (unless you turn this off in Quicken Preferences, which I hope no one does). In Preferences, you can set how many automatic backups it should retain. The default is something like 5. Please change this to a larger number! You can launch and quit Quicken more than 5 times in a week, sometimes in just a day or two. That's not enough backup time. I have my backups set to retain 50 automatic backups. That should generally insure I have at least a month, maybe two months of automatic backups. My backups are about 25 MB, so 50 of them is just over 1 GB in size — not a significant amount of storage.

    In addition, periodically — roughly once a month — I manually do Save a Backup in Quicken. This generates backups outside the 50 maintained by Quicken. I keep these for a few years, so I have roughly monthly backups going back a few years. If I ever discover a data problem and I'm trying to track down when the problem occurred, or find the data prior to the problem, this gives me a history of backups. Once every few years I'll clean out some of the older backups, but still keep at least one backup per year.

    All those backups on my hard drive are great… but what if my hard drive or Mac die? I have three levels of backups. I have a hard drive attached to my iMac, which I use to run Time Machine backups on both the iMac and my MacBook Pro. Time Machine backs up anything which changes on a Mac, every hour, without m e needing to do anything. But what if I have a fire/flood/robbery at my house? I pay for iDrive online backup, which runs nightly to backup anything changed on my two Macs to the Cloud. Additionally, every 6 months or so, I use SuperDuper! software to do a whole disk backup of each Mac to a hard drive, which I then store away from my home. (I have two hard drives which I rotate.) If my Mac is dead, restoring just from the cloud would take days to download all the data; restoring from the hard drive will restore my data within an hour, and then my cloud backup can restore the much smaller amount of data changed since the whole drive backup. 

    You may feel this is overkill... or crazy overkill! Here's why I'm an advocate for multiple levels of backups. I once had a hard drive fail. No problem, I thought; I'll just restore my SuperDuper! whole disk backup. Except it failed to restore. I switched to my alternatee SuperDuper! backup drive. It, too, had read errors and couldn't complete a restore. Fortunately, my Time Machine backup came through and worked. I talked with the developer of SuperDuper! during my attempts to restore the backups. He said hard drives invariably fail at the worst time… and that he keeps at least 5 backups of his data!

    Sorry, this was way more info than you asked for, but I like sharing the importance of having backups, and multiple types of backups, whenever possible. Hopefully there's something useful in what I've shared. ;) Honestly, I've seen people who have been devastated by losing their Quicken data with many years or decades of financial history, or all their pictures, music and other data. The old adage about "an ounce of prevention" must have been created to describe computer backups. You can never have too many backups!

    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • pstarfam
    pstarfam Member
    Answer ✓
    Very helpful, thanks for taking the time to share.

Answers

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Answer ✓
    There's no one "right" answer, but the key is having "enough" backups, and ideally multiple layers of backups. I can tell you what I do, which is pretty obsessive…

    Quicken makes automatic backups each time you quit the program (unless you turn this off in Quicken Preferences, which I hope no one does). In Preferences, you can set how many automatic backups it should retain. The default is something like 5. Please change this to a larger number! You can launch and quit Quicken more than 5 times in a week, sometimes in just a day or two. That's not enough backup time. I have my backups set to retain 50 automatic backups. That should generally insure I have at least a month, maybe two months of automatic backups. My backups are about 25 MB, so 50 of them is just over 1 GB in size — not a significant amount of storage.

    In addition, periodically — roughly once a month — I manually do Save a Backup in Quicken. This generates backups outside the 50 maintained by Quicken. I keep these for a few years, so I have roughly monthly backups going back a few years. If I ever discover a data problem and I'm trying to track down when the problem occurred, or find the data prior to the problem, this gives me a history of backups. Once every few years I'll clean out some of the older backups, but still keep at least one backup per year.

    All those backups on my hard drive are great… but what if my hard drive or Mac die? I have three levels of backups. I have a hard drive attached to my iMac, which I use to run Time Machine backups on both the iMac and my MacBook Pro. Time Machine backs up anything which changes on a Mac, every hour, without m e needing to do anything. But what if I have a fire/flood/robbery at my house? I pay for iDrive online backup, which runs nightly to backup anything changed on my two Macs to the Cloud. Additionally, every 6 months or so, I use SuperDuper! software to do a whole disk backup of each Mac to a hard drive, which I then store away from my home. (I have two hard drives which I rotate.) If my Mac is dead, restoring just from the cloud would take days to download all the data; restoring from the hard drive will restore my data within an hour, and then my cloud backup can restore the much smaller amount of data changed since the whole drive backup. 

    You may feel this is overkill... or crazy overkill! Here's why I'm an advocate for multiple levels of backups. I once had a hard drive fail. No problem, I thought; I'll just restore my SuperDuper! whole disk backup. Except it failed to restore. I switched to my alternatee SuperDuper! backup drive. It, too, had read errors and couldn't complete a restore. Fortunately, my Time Machine backup came through and worked. I talked with the developer of SuperDuper! during my attempts to restore the backups. He said hard drives invariably fail at the worst time… and that he keeps at least 5 backups of his data!

    Sorry, this was way more info than you asked for, but I like sharing the importance of having backups, and multiple types of backups, whenever possible. Hopefully there's something useful in what I've shared. ;) Honestly, I've seen people who have been devastated by losing their Quicken data with many years or decades of financial history, or all their pictures, music and other data. The old adage about "an ounce of prevention" must have been created to describe computer backups. You can never have too many backups!

    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • pstarfam
    pstarfam Member
    Answer ✓
    Very helpful, thanks for taking the time to share.
This discussion has been closed.