We all understand the frustration of losing important data unexpectedly. In fact, some of us have got into the good habit of backing up regularly because we've been through the worst of computer crashes and shutdowns. But how do you know if your backup really is working? We share a few ways to verify it here.
Run a basic health check
Backup copies are no good if the original data it came from is damaged or corrupted. A bad hard drive is one of the main issues that cause this. To check the basic health of a drive, you can use Disk utility, which is built into macOS and can be found under Applications > Utilities. Simply select the drive you want to check in the left column, hit "First aid" and follow the prompts.
Scan S.M.A.R.T. parameters
Basic health check doesn't quite do the job for scanning S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) parameters, which help indicate mechanical or electrical problems on a drive. You can use SMART Utility by Volitans Software to see your drive’s S.M.A.R.T. parameters. It also interprets them and tells you if there are any issues you should be aware of.
Check your backup settings
Most people use Apple's Time Machine or a third party utility like Intego Personal Backup to backup their data. It's important to check the software's setting to ensure backup is configured properly. These include: schedule of the backup, items that are excluded, backup errors, time of the last backup and space left on your drive.
Once Time machine is turned on, it automatically backs up all the files on your Mac to an external hard disk every hour (schedule cannot be changed). You can check its setting by going to System Preferences > Time Machine. To see if anything is excluded, click "Options".
Personal Backup also displays main information once opened. You can click "Show detail" to see a log of backups. To edit the setting click "Edit setting". Unlike Time Machine, you can change the schedule of your backup according to your preferences.
Restore your data
A reliable way to verify your backup is by simply restoring it. You can browse your backup file on Time Machine through "Enter Time Machine". Select a file, restore and open it to see if there are any issues. We recommend repeating this process a few times with different files types (e.g. photos, videos, spreadsheets) at different periods to cover a good sample from all files.
To protect your data, it's a good practice to verify your backup every three months. With us leading such busy lives these days, it's hard to remember this, let alone find time for it. We recommend setting up calendar reminders on your computer or phone so you can plan your day ahead. Or, if you prefer to leave this to an IT expert, our reliable gurus can help you with the process.
Let us take care of your IT needs, so you can focus on other important things in life. Whether it's setting up VOIP phone systems, developing a backup solution or managing IT solutions, our experts can help!
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