School of Architecture and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Ave, Room 9-514
Cambridge, MA 02139



Laptop hard drives are extremely delicate and often fail. It is not uncommon that laptops are lost to theft. There are 2 basic strategies for backing up your laptop:

  1. Ad Hoc: Copy those files and folders which are of greatest value to CD, DVD, Flash, hard drive or similar. Apart from flash drives failing almost as frequently as laptop hard drives, and the ensuing chaos of backup files spread across different media, and having to trust oneself to make the copies with any meaningful frequency, it is not a bad backup strategy.
  2. Automated Backup Software: This should be as mindless and invisible and robust as one can afford.
Ad Hoc

Should one choose this un-recommended route, we wish you godspeed. At the minimum:


This is the preferred and recommended route, though some options will cost you money. There are two basic types: those that run incremental** backups to local media (such as optical drives or hard drives), and those which run incremental backups to network volumes. An example of the former is Apple's free 'Time Machine' backup software which comes with OS X 10.5 and above. The latter is offered by a number of companies, including MIT. In either case, the automated system should be mind numbingly easy to setup, run and restore from. If not, it won't get used.

Local Backups

Network (Off-site) Backups

Of all these options, we recommend MIT CrashPlan. It has the benefits of off-site, works on all popular operating systems, is very reasonably priced (FREE!), and 'it just works.' Note that you'll need to disconnect your computer(s) from the service when you leave MIT—see the 'Leaving' tab above.

**Incremental backups backup only those files which have changed. A history is kept of each file over time.


• 2017-01-20 18:15:28 •