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Old habit: I've been making a complete mess of backing up any of the work I've been doing for many years. I generally start with file1.ver1, then as I progress file1.ver2 ... file1.final. Except - I store on more than one USB drive, in My Documents, on another partition. I'll usually keep the final draft in the main folder and keep the drafts in a Folder "Old files" or something to that effect.

Its for this reason that I've been looking using a Versioning software. I occasionally program, but most of my work are in Excel and LaTex format.

I do use backup software and a folder syncing software. My main problem is that my working documents and backups of, are all over the place. Does anyone have a sensible and practical organization system? I do burn DVDs from time to time, but I don't trust the them much. My backups are also on my HDD and a few flash drives. I'm also using PAR2 files incase there's some corruption - save me a few times with a bad DVD.

And if versioning, based on my use, would be a good idea - what is a good program. I've looked into some options Bazaar seems like a good one in that it seems simple to use.

I'm not against the idea of using an Online service. At best there's probably 200 MB of data I need truly backed up redundantly.

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4 Answers 4

As a developer I find versioning is essential. I use svn - its free, powerful and not too hard for beginners to get their heads around. You could install an svn server and tortoisesvn on your local pc, then just right click on the folder, add it to svn then commit your changes.

There are lots of free online storage solutions - Skydrive, ubuntu one, dropbox, etc - so just backup the repository of whatever version tool you use to one of these and you are set.

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You can install your own SVN server with sliksvn in about 3clicks (note they sell online hosting but also supply a free local server binary for windows)

Then tortoiseSVN intergrates checkin with explorer right click.

For super paranoia have the SVN repository in dropbox, or mozybackup

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I once used Mercurial for version control and TortoiseHG to get Mercurial integrated with the Windows shell, and put those repos online using one of these hosting services. I used to use XP-Dev, myself. I'm not 100% sure on this, but I know that versioning systems track changes at byte-level, so that they work with more than just plain-text files. I've heard of people using them for stuff like .psd files and .jpgs

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There's dropbox.com for online storage and file synch. It would solve your "files on multiple usb keys / multiple places" issue, but it doesn't really handle versioning.

If you want a system where you can revert a file to how it was at some time in the past, or you want to perform parallel updates to files from different locations, then a personal SVN server is what you want. (I don't actually think this is what you are after from your description).

Guide to SVN on lifehacker.com.

I think perhaps what you're after is just a re-think. You seem to be quite organised already (multiple-stage backups, using PARs on DVDs, etc).

I would suggest a variant on something simple such as;

  • During the day - dropbox.com (passive updates as you work)
  • End of the day - Copy folder to USB stick (perhaps name folder automatically using an autoit script)
  • End of the week - Copy from usb stick to backup partition
  • End of the month - Burn files on backup partition to DVD
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