We have mentioned in the past that one way to backup files is to drag and drop them to an external hard drive. While this is good – you still need to check that everything is there. If you manually grab your entire home directory (the folder that looks like a house), and drag it over to an external drive, you have a backup…or do you?
Starting in Lion (10.7), Apple made the home users “Library” folder invisible. While this cuts down on people accidentally deleting the folder or altering it, it does bring about an interesting situation when you drag and drop your entire home folder to an external drive. Unless you have a special tool, or are showing invisible items, files and folders that are invisible do NOT get copied. So, if your “Library” is invisible, you didn’t back it up when you dragged your home directory to that external drive.
Why is this important? Well, the “Library” folder has your preferences folder, your Apple Mail folder, your keychains and a slew of other “important to you, but not to the overall computer” files. This is one reason why sticking with Apple’s Time Machine, or using another automated tool is best for a comprehensive backup.
If you want to copy a single file and folder to an external drive, that is when dragging the file/folder to an external drive will work like a charm. Want to backup your Thesis / birthday wish list / research paper? Feel free to drag and drop.
Want to backup your entire computer, or want to migrate to a new computer? That is when you should use an automated tool (Time Machine, Carbon Copy Cloner, etc…) to do the heavy lifting.
Technology Revealed offers many backup solutions custom tailored to meet your personal or business needs. Please contact our office to discuss further, 203.874.148 or firstname.lastname@example.org.