Guest Post: Backup your metal detecting and research data!


Some of you are like me and like to keep metal detecting logs recording finds, including coin tallies, and places to hunt. I also like to record my thoughts on the day/hunt, keeping track of a useful tip I may have learned or noticed interesting behaviour on a target. Sometimes I like to review these during the ‘off’ season to get excited about my new Spring hunts.

Along with logging my hunts, I take many trips to the library with my laptop for research. Many libraries now offer microfilm transfers to flash drives. This is great for storing scans of newspaper clippings, and using a flash drive makes it nice and easy to transfer those files to my laptop. Besides microfilm scans I write my research notes and save Google Map documents for future or current hunt sites. Don’t forget those old maps files off of the internet too.

Metal detecting data is extremely useful for my success in the field, and greatly organizes my thoughts for upcoming hunts. With that said, I treat my data very seriously. Six years ago, I had a complete harddrive failure and lost all of my early hunting logs and valuable research data. I was able to recover some of that from old print-outs that I had and email correspondence, but I lost a large portion of it.

The lesson I learned was to backup my data. Since then, I have been backing up to CD. This alternative was fine until, I became lazy and would forget to backup to disc, not to mention the stacks of CDs and the cost of purchasing the discs. I then opted to go with an external harddrive. This was better. It would back up nightly. I did run across a problem.. after deciding to take a look at the contents of the external harddrive, I realized it had died, and I was not backing my data at all from that point of it’s failure!!!

I wanted to explore other options, and finally decided to go with Mozy Backups ( This backup system is a ‘off-site’ backup, meaning that the backed up files are stored on a server on the internet. Why is this good? If my house burns down, I’m okay. If someone breaks into my house and steals my computer, I’m okay. Ever watch “It takes a thief” on Discovery, the thief always steals the computer in the house. Along with the fact that the data is stored on a remote server, the files are backed up securely and incrementally. This means that if I saved a file yesterday, but realized I deleted an entry from two days ago, I can recover the file from that day!

Did I mention that Mozy is FREE??? Well, it is. You can have a 2GB remote backup account for $0. If you want more storage you can purchase an unlimited storage account for only $4.95/month.

Once you’ve created a Mozy Account and downloaded/installed the backup program you can begin to configure your backups. After installing the program, log into the application on your computer, and select the encryption mechanism.

[x] encrypt my data with Mozy’s own 448-bit key

You can use pre-existing backup set, or create custom backup set. After selecting a backup set (ie: C:\Research) to run, you can configure the schedule. One feature that I thought was nice, was to set it to backup when the computer is not in use. This means that backs will only happen when you are away. You won’t notice any performance issues or slowness of your internet bandwidth while your working on your computer. Your computer must be on and connected to the internet though.

Restoring files is extremely simple. Clicking on the restore option will open up a web browser to Mozy’s site. Log in and go to

Restore Files. There is representation of your directory tree structure that you created. Drill down to your file(s), add a check and click ‘Restore Files’. An email will be sent after restoration has been completed.

The 2GB free account is nice for backing up spreadsheets and word docs, but you’ll probably use it up quickly if you’re backing up scans of your finds or microfilm captures. If you’re planning on backing up images, it might be best to upgrade your account. Either way, it’s nice to give it a try for free.

Remember, once you lose your data.. you can’t get it back, so back it up!

Author: Hank D.

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