Can anyone help me turn my offsite backup into a brick?
September 27, 2011 7:38 PM   Subscribe

After reading through lots of tips and tricks on backing up data on here, I am close to a backup system that really works for me. However, can anyone help me with two things: securing an offsite backup, and backing up a bootcamp partition?

I have a Macbook Pro running Snow Leopard with Windows XP on the bootcamp partition. I am using Time Machine for backups. I have two small Western Digital hard drives that I use for backups (I use one for a few weeks, and then I use the other for a few weeks). After realizing I now had my computer and two backup drives sitting next to each other in an easily swipe-able pile, I moved one of the external hard drives offsite.

So, my first question is this: Can I take all the contents of that external offsite hard drive and put that into an encrypted folder while it is offsite? Could I create an encrypted disk image or create a TrueCrypt vault and move the entire contents of the backup folder within there, and then just drag it out when I have it back home and I need to make a backup? That way if it was stolen, I wouldn't be too worried about losing things beyond the value of the drive. I just want a way to have that external hard drive be a brick if it gets stolen, since it is technically out of my possession.

And the second part: I just spent a ton of time creating a bootcamp partition through VMWare to run several Windows XP programs I have. I don't really store any data there, just the programs. I just realized that the bootcamp partition isn't backed up though. So, I decided to just create a copy of the virtual machine and dump it onto the external hard drive in case I ever have a problem. Is this even something that I could use in the future? If I lost my bootcamp partition or laptop, could I recreate it with this virtual machine copy?

Hopefully that doesn't all sound too paranoid -- I was just trying to listen to all this advice for setting up a good easy backup system and I seem to have fallen down some wormhole of backups on top of backups on top of backups.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
Best answer: If you don't need to boot to windows, I would consider upgrading to 10.7 and use Filevault2 and time machine for your backups, being sure to select encrypt disk when selecting the time machine volume.

I'd then run whatever you need from the windows world in vmware, and I'd offsite my backups using Crashplan or Jungledisk automagically, making sure to set my own private encryption keys.

You can do what you are suggesting with truecrypt, but it seems heavily reliant on user intervention, where you could accomplish the same ends with an upgrade to lion, and a simpler less labor intensive set up for making sure data was locked away by using the built in tools.
posted by iamabot at 9:32 PM on September 27, 2011

Response by poster: Yeah, I am thinking the Lion upgrade might be the solution -- I have been hesitant due to an over-reliance on Spaces for my current workflow at my job. I know that sounds trivial, but the grid I set up in Spaces was one of the things that sold me on my Mac in the first place.

Also, I do boot into windows from time to time, as some of the CAD programs I use can be a little wonky when I use them through VMWare alone (though that is rare -- I am very much sold on VMWare).

So, if I did want to set up something like that with TrueCrypt, what would that entail? In other words, can I just use the Time Machine as is, without losing those old backups, and bring that into some sort of encrypted container?
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 9:42 PM on September 27, 2011

FYI, you can still use spaces on Lion- they are just called Desktops now.
posted by rockindata at 5:05 AM on September 28, 2011

Response by poster: I have definitely played around with the Mission Control Desktops -- what I am hooked on is the grid of Spaces. I use 12 spaces in 4 rows of 3, with a hot corner. I know it seems like a trivial detail to hang up an upgrade on, but it is a key part of my workflow right now. I guess I will just wait until I have some downtime to get used to the new Mission Control, and then convert over so I can use the whole new FileVault system. I'll just sit on the hard drive while I am in my office so it doesn't fall into the wrong hands.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 8:26 PM on September 28, 2011

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