I tell myself this all the time yet I fall of my schedule and don’t back anything up until I have a crash. I have no excuses, I work in an industry where I see this happen all the time and yet I am still too lazy (reoccurring theme).
This cloud had a little bit of a silver lining as I was able to recover my data after a couple of hours worth of work and Western Digitial sent me a new disk because the previous one was still under warranty. More on that later.
Let me tell you how I like to back up my computer with the least amount of digging around for the right files on each OS. I just clone it using clonezilla and a back up drive. If you are new to clonezilla the interface can be a little scary, but it is worth some trial and error. It will warn you multiple times if you are going to wipe out a source drive. Clonezilla can clone directly to another hard disk basically duplicating your drive, or it can save your disk to an image that can be restored to a disk later. Normally if you are performing regular backups you will just need to backup to image. Clonezilla can be found at: http://clonezilla.org/. You can burn the software to a cd/dvd or make a bootable jump drive.
Once you do it once, it is super easy. You just power down the computer, put in your disk and then power through the prompts. If you get more advanced you can set up a server that handles most of this automagically.
Once I was able to recover my data, it was time to trash the old drive. Most of it was true crypt containers for different projects but why continue on my lazy streak that has caused so much pain. I downloaded dban to physically demolish any data that could be recovered by the drive. I burned it to a bootable cd from my Mac and made sure that CD-Rom was selected first in the boot order in bios. Once you get this bad boy open, you pretty much have one option, death. You literally get to pick the rounds of death you want to occur (it recommends 3 – government likes 6 but they have a lot of extra free time). Let this process run overnight or you will be watching paint dry. So now the drive is ready to return home to Western Digital who is fully standing behind their product.
In case any of you are wondering, the drive was a year old WD2500AAKX. The “blue series” cheaper WD drive.