Automate Your Backups

Now that you have successfully performed and tested both a duplicate and an archive, it's time for the last important step: scheduling these backups to occur automatically.

Any backup software worth its salt will make it easy to put a given backup procedure on a simple, recurring schedulee.g., Daily Archive every night at 11:00 p.m., Weekly Duplicate every Sunday morning at 6:00 a.m. But if you have multiple sets of media, creating an alternating backup schedule can be more complex. In this case, you might want Bart Daily Archive to be stored on Bart Archive Disk every night this week, while Lisa Daily Archive is stored on Lisa Archive Disk every night next week, and so on. Instructions for setting up such schedules in Retrospect are in Appendix C.

When choosing times and days for your backups to run, keep in mind these considerations:

  • Will the destination media be ready? If not, will you be available to insert or enable it?

  • Do you need to supply a passwordfor the backup software itself, or to mount a network volume? If you cannot store such passwords in your Keychain, or do not wish to do so, be sure the backups run when you're present to enter the passwords.

  • Will the backup slow down your computer? If so, think about scheduling it for a time when you're not busy.

Regardless of your software, begin by scheduling your archives, which will probably run every day. Then schedule duplicates, choosing a time of day well before (or after) your scheduled archive run to avoid conflicts between the two schedules. Repeat as necessary for each media set you will be using.

Be sure to make a note of your duplication schedule in your favorite calendar application or on a paper calendar so that you will know when to swap media for off-site storage. For example, if you do a weekly duplicate on Sunday, you might create a recurring reminder to swap media every Monday morning before work.

Power Management and Backups

Although this may seem self-evident, a scheduled backup will not run unless your computer is already turned on and awake at the scheduled time. Some people leave their computers running all the time, perhaps setting the display to dim or the hard drive to spin down after a certain amount of idle time to save energy. However, if you normally turn off your computer or put it to sleep when you're done using itor if you have it set to go to sleep automaticallyyou may run into problems with scheduled backups. In most cases, these problems are easily solved with a bit of foresight.

Power management on a Mac is controlled using the Energy Saver pane of System Preferences. If you click the Schedule tab, you'll see a checkbox labeled "Start Up the Computer." What it does not tell you is that this setting will also wake up a computer at the scheduled time if it's on but asleep. If you select that checkbox and enter the days and times corresponding to your backup schedule (say, Every Day at 2:00 AM), the machine will turn itself on (or wake itself up) at the appropriate times. However, a few words of caution:

  • Be sure to select times at least 5 minutes before your backups are scheduled, to allow the computer time to start up completely.

  • If you configured your Mac to request your password when you turn it on or wake it up, the computer may get stuck at the Log In screen when you're not there. To turn off the password prompts, first go to the Security pane of System Preferences and deselect the checkboxes labeled "Require password to wake this computer from sleep or screen saver" and "Disable automatic login." Then go to the Accounts pane and click the Login Options icon near the bottom on the left. Select "Automatically Log In As," choose your user name from the pop-up menu, and enter your password when prompted.

  • You can also use the Schedule pane of Energy Saver Preferences to turn off your computer (or put it to sleep) after completing a backup. If you do this, be sure to allow plenty of time; full backups sometimes take hours.

After setting your backups on a schedule, check them periodically to make sure they are running as you expect. Some backup software provides logs for this purposeor you can look at the files on the backup media and confirm that they are as recent as they should be.

Real World Mac Maintenance and Backups. Industrial-Strength Techniques
Real World Mac Maintenance and Backups. Industrial-Strength Techniques
Year: 2004
Pages: 144 © 2008-2017.
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