At work, we back our important data up – in this day and age, we don’t take chances. It either gets done for us by the IT department or we have implemented some usable scheme ourselves. But what about the multi-PC flight simulator cockpit at home? How many hundreds of hours have you spent tweaking and configuring? What about the downloads from X-Plane.org or Flightsim.com, or Avsim.com that took you so long to find? What about the payware software and all the serial keys etc? Let’s face it, backing up your data is a chore and we have so little free time that the last thing we want to do is to institute complicated backup routines. And anyway, if you are like me, you don’t even understand what all the different options offered by these backup programs even do, and you don’t have the time to find out.
And lets not forget my personal pet hate… not being able to easily inspect whether the backed up (i.e., copied) files are all present and correct, because they are all encrypted into one big file.
Here’s a radical approach… <deep breath> … lets do something different… let’s make it un-sophisticated…
How would you like to have one simple piece of software running in the background, taking none of the simulators’ precious processing resources, which simply copies all your flight simulation sceneries and aircraft and config files that have changed in the past week (or month or day – it’s up to you) over a complete un-encrypted copy of all your data residing on a NAS?
What’s a NAS?
A NAS is a fancy acronym for Network Attached Storage and is simply a dedicated little computer which holds a bunch of your old slow hard drives which are perfectly good but are too slow for flight simulation data access (Click here for more info if you want to know all the painful technical details).
Some NAS units provide their own built-in backup software but those programs are notoriously user un-friendly. I use a little program called Second Copy. It’s simple, easy to set up, inexpensive and offers just enough sophistication to do the job. (No disclaimer needed… I don’t get any kick-back from them!)
It works like this…
You connect the ethernet port of the NAS to your network-switch that links up all the cockpit PC’s. You run the built in setup program on the NAS and in no time you will be able to browse to the storage folders of the NAS from all your flight simulator cockpit PCs. Now you install second copy onto one of the PC’s on the simulator network and create a few profiles of what the software must copy and when. From then on, just now and again check the error log in Second Copy for problems and forget about it.
It’s not foolproof, Mr burglar might steal the NAS as well as the PC’s, or an electrical storm could take out every electronic device in the house, but it’s sure better than “I’ll do a backup tomorrow”… when tomorrow never comes.
Here’s a another link to a great article explaining all about a NAS . Read it, it’s worthwhile.