File and Folder Backup Vs. Disk Imaging Backup

File and Folder Backup Vs. Disk Imaging Backup

September 26

Minecraft is a block-building video game in which you have nearly unlimited control over the virtual universe you’re in. You spend much of your time mining various blocks you can use to build stuff. You also gather items, create networked tunnels, and organize the things you gather, which you can then use to craft new items and create walls and structures that keep you safe from zombies and other bad-guys.

In a big way, Minecraft is like your computer. As you work away, you (or your clients) gather items like music, documents, photos, and videos. You can build networks, linking your computer with others, and you put up firewalls, and other safety structures to keep out monsters like malware and viruses.

I’m a Minecrafter but I’m pretty awful at videogames. As a kid, most of my time was spent playing, but as I grew up I resorted to a different type of escapism in literature. Though I still find it fun to play every now and then, being awful as I am, I usually end up low on supplies and health with no way to get back to the safety of my structure. Often, the game’s autosave feature would save a file of my character for me, in case I didn’t think about it. Some types of autosave replace the old autosave file to save space, meaning you don’t have the option to start from farther back, and now have to start over from the new save point. I often find myself in positions where it is nearly impossible to continue from the autosave point, and I wish I could just go back to when I had health and supplies. Progress is dependent on moving forward, but there are times when, in order to go forward, you need to go back.

I’ve committed myself to the habit of manually saving my game, and saving a new file each time so that I have the option to restart from any point I choose, and am not dependent on the autosave feature. Like saving in a videogame, you have options when it comes to the methods by which you save and backup your data. It’s fairly simple to manually copy files and folders to a thumb drive or other external drive, and you can easily access those when you need them, this method is comparable to storing items in a chest in Minecraft. The items stay there, safe, no matter what happens to you after that, but that is not a very hearty backup, and has numerous limitations.

File and folder recovery is easy and can be done right now, or scheduled regularly with file and folder backup software, but just saving documents won’t be enough when something catastrophic happens. If your computer is destroyed and you’re forced to start over from scratch, you’ll have the files you saved, but you won’t be able to open them unless you have another computer with the same software or until you reload the application that made it, assuming you can find your disk and license code. The items in the chest are useless if you’re forced to start over in a place that won’t allow you to reach them.

You can also manually make a full system image of your computer for recovery purposes, and usually with software pre-installed on your computer. This can be a long process, and your computer will only recover from the point at which you made the recovery disk—and might only contain the operating system. You’ll be forced to repeat the long process when you make another disk, and there’s no way to know when something will go wrong. Because you’ll have to wait for the computer to be restored before you can access anything, your free recovery disk might be minimally helpful when recovery time is a critical factor.

Disk imaging is like manually saving in a video game because you can manually create an image of your computer as it is right when the image is taken. Using StorageCraft ShadowProtect, for example, you can take full or incremental images and save them to an external drive, without burning a disk. With the incrementals, you can recover old, even deleted files, like a videogame that allows you to go back to whichever save file you want. ShadowProtect works in the background, saving files automatically, so you don’t need to remember to save several times a day—you get  the benefits of saving manually with the convenience of autosave. It also often takes less than a minute, rather than the ten minutes to an hour it might take to burn a disk.

My videogame metaphor gets a bit confusing when you continue to look at the capabilities of ShadowProtect. If you’ve got ShadowProtect backup images, a different computer can easily run the broken machine virtually, or mount the volume image, and allow you to access anything. It’d be like taking items from a friend’s video game file and using them with the character on your save file. Cool, huh? With file-based backup, you can use another machine to open the files and folders you manually saved to a hard drive, but you might not have access to the programs you may need.

Simply put, saving files to a flash drive and using the pre-loaded recovery disk software is unsatisfactory. It’s doubtful you or your clients have time to sit and reload an operating system, then individual programs before getting to the important documents. With robust and automatic disk-based backup images, you can protect your virtual world, and even travel back to when you had the right supplies if you lose anything.

for more information on file and folder backups and disk image backups, check out this article.