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Backup Media

Backup Media

 

Years ago, the only choices for backups were floppy disks and tape drives. Neither of these offers the best solutions today. We now recommend flash drives and/or CD/DVD backups. Zip disks and removable or external hard drives are also attractive options.

 

Flash Drives

Flash drives, also known as thumb drives are small devices that plug into a USB connector on your computer. They are small, relatively fast, and have high capacity. They are also relatively inexpensive.

 

Memory Cards

Memory cards are the small devices often used as memory in digital cameras, cellular telephones, and other devices. They have all of the advantages of flash drives with the exception that you need a special adapter to connect them to your computer. Fortunately, these adapters have become quite common and are even built-in to some newer computers. There are also adapters available that let you use the memory cards just like flash drives.

 

Memory cards have one advantage over flash drives in that they are smaller. This could also be a disadvantage if you are looking for it and can't find it.

 

CD and DVD

CDs or DVDs offer an alternative but they are not as easy and convenient to use. Neither Aeris nor most other software is able to write to CD or DVD media directly so you have to use a utility that comes with your operating system or a 3rd party utility. These are not bad options because most 3rd party programs for writing to CDs and DVDs allow you to save a “layout.” You can then load the software, select the layout for backing up Aeris data and click a button to make the backup. The upside to this is that you can include both global and practice data, and anything else you want to back up, in the layout and do it all at once.

 

Zip Disks®

Zip disks, from Iomega, are similar in appearance to the old floppy disks. They have a hard outer shell and a spinning disk inside. They come in several capacities from 100MB to 750MB, equivalent to about 100 to 500 floppy disks.The advantage of Zip disks over CDs and DVDs is that Aeris can write to them directly saving you from having to use other software.

 

Removable and External Hard Drives

Removable hard drives plug into a special slot you install into your computer. External hard drives, like Flash Drives, plug into any available USB port. Both are fast, reliable, and easily writable from within Aeris. They are more expensive so would not be a good option except for the infrequent yearly or perhaps monthly backups.

 

Floppy Disks

This is the least desirable option but still usable. Aeris will split the backup over multiple disks if necessary. The problems with using floppy disks for backups are:

  • Small capacity

  • Slow (again, these things are slow!)

  • Failure of one disk in a backup set ruins the entire backup set.

  • It is common for floppy disks to fail.

Conclusions

Of all of these backup media, Flash Drives have the best combination of convenience, reliability, speed, and cost for making backups.