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Backup for Road Warriors (Laptops / Travel)

Last updated 2015-01-17 - Send Feedback
Related: backup, laptop

If traveling with a laptop simply means email and web access, there’s little reason to backup in most cases. But for photography or videography or or any content-generating activity, all that stuff should be backed up.

Of special concern is theft: even forgetting hardware failure, what happens if the laptop with a week’s work of irreplaceable new work is stolen? E.g., photos or video footage, or 50 new pages of a proposal or book or any significant work product.

Total loss of hardware and data are the typical result of a laptop theft.

When traveling with a laptop and generating new content, these key rules should be followed:

  • Carry at least one external backup drive, and do not store the backup in the same bag as the laptop. Theft of the laptop is bad enough, but theft of a bag containing the laptop and the backup(s) is your own poor planning.
  • No backup, no sleep. Until that day’s work is backed up and the drive safely stowed separate from the laptop, the job is not done.
  • Never erase digital camera storage cards on the road. Buy a few capacious cards sufficient for an entire trip (MPG emphatically does not recommend many smaller cards). Date and name new folders each day, transfer them to the laptop, and backup. The camera cards are thus another backup that is extremely compact and can be carried in a wallet, zipped pocket, etc when on the go (cameras can be stolen too!).
  • Prefer compact bus-powered SSDs for backup on the road, like the OWC Envoy Pro 480GB or OWC Envoy Pro 1TB: these fit easily into even a small pocket, and are very convenient to stash/stow/carry. They also resist shock that might damage hard drives. Slightly larger but more wallet friendly are the OWC Elite Pro Mini variants.
  • Consider (in addition) online services such as DropBox for uploading new material each day (might or might not be viable on the road due to poor internet speed and large files).
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