Backing up my computer

If you have important information on your computer, you probably back it up somehow. I used to save all my important files on Google Drive, which was convenient not only because it would make backups automatically, but because I could access my files from any computer, or even my phone without much effort.

Since reducing my dependency on Google, that isn't an option anymore, so I had to find an alternative. I have an account in a server running Nextcloud, so I could use it the way I used Google Drive—and I could access it as easily from other computers or my phone—, but I am also trying to reduce the amount of private information I put online (whether it is behind a password or not), so I decided that I should have offline backups for my computer1.

The main problem with backups is the effort/time spent doing them, so the process had to be as automated as possible, as well as fast and efficient. I decided to use the rsync tool, as it efficiently copies files from one directory to another, skipping the ones that are already up to date (it is also preinstalled and easy to run from the terminal). I use a bunch of options that make the transfer behave as I want to, and I created an alias for the command, so I only need to type backup_all to back up my computer.

On top of my ordinary backup, I do a secondary backup (just in case!), which is made on my everyday USB drive. Having a backup of my home folder there is a little risky, as I have private information on my computer, so that is why I encrypt the backups. The software I use is VeraCrypt, and this obviously makes the backup process a little more complicated. However, I created another alias that mounts the VeraCrypt volumes (there are two because I need more than 4GiB and the USB drive uses the FAT format), synchronizes the files and unmounts the volumes. So the only remaining thing for me to do is type in the passwords—although actually, KeePassXC does that for me. I might even automate that part in the future, so I only have to type in my master password.

So backing up my files is a pretty smooth process again, plus I now know exactly what I am doing when running the command and the backups are made to hardware that I have access to.

  1. Regardless of the existence of an online backup, making an offline one is an interesting option, as you have full control over it.