Today’s Question: I’m using an iMac with OS X 10.9.5 installed. I’m using Time Machine and a second backup hard drive. The backup utility that came with it seems erratic and I don’t trust it. Can you recommend a utility? If I were using a PC I would simply use the Microsoft utility SyncToy.
Tim’s Quick Answer: I actually recommend synchronization software (similar to what is possible with the SyncToy utility from Microsoft) for backing up your photos and other important data. For this purpose I use GoodSync (http://www.goodsync.com/) as a great solution.
More Detail: My personal preference is to have a backup that is an exact copy of the original data. In other words, I prefer a “full” backup rather than an “incremental” backup. Put simply, if a hard drive fails I want to be able to connect a backup storage device and continue working without interruption, rather than having to go through an extended restore process. I wrote about this in more detail in the September 2014 issue of Pixology magazine (http://pixologymag.com/).
There are a variety of solutions available for a synchronization backup, but the best solution I’ve found recently is GoodSync (http://www.goodsync.com/). This software is available for both Windows and Macintosh, and allows you to perform a synchronization backup from one drive to another.
I use GoodSync to create an exact copy of my primary photos, my data storage drive, my video production drive, and all of the other (many!) drives I use in my work. By using a synchronization approach to backing up my photos and other data, not only can my backups be performed relatively quickly, but I also have a full copy of my original data that can be used quickly and seamlessly if I experience a hard drive failure. And considering I experience a failure of an external hard drive about once every two years or so, to me this is an important consideration.