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Online backup service is better than a safe

The Baltimore Sun

I am a writer and public relations flack who works from home. I back up my computer using MozyPro, but also to an external hard disk drive. You've written about the latter option, so I know not to leave it plugged in to my computer or the wall when not in use.

My question: For that external hard drive (with my backups on it) and the many CDs of info I have for clients, is it safe to put them in a fireproof home safe? Or will this wreak havoc on the CDs and external hard disk drive? I just worry about being able to retrieve info in case of an emergency. I have had bad luck in the past with online retrieval systems.

- Drew Plant

If there is no magnetic material in the safe it would not harm the external hard disk. And the CDs would be safe even if there were.

I sure wouldn't depend on the safe - fire-resistant or not - to protect the hard drive or the CDs from a fire. In a major blaze, temperatures would get so high and it would take so long to retrieve the safe that it's almost certain that your backups would be destroyed.

One thing to consider is an online backup service. I agree that they can be a bit slow. But if you used your hard disk for a complete backup and then just added current and important projects to an online service that should move fairly quickly.

Bill Husted writes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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