Having a Dell XPS M1330 is kind of a problem. This computer failed me 3 times in the last 3 years. The mother board managed to cook itself every time, and also the graphic card died. It seems the problem was due to a lazy fan, which was not spinning as it should have done.

In this situation, coming up with a backup schema is necessary. More over a hot-backup schema, which permits to swap computers, going from the dead laptop to another working machine on the fly would be very convenient.  The other machine would be either my desktop computer at work, or my old (2003) acer laptop.

Usually I work with three different type of formats: code, simulations result and written report (in the form of text documents or presentations).

My simulations’ results live on the server @EBI, so I don’t have to care about the backup and I can mount/access them using ssh.

This leaves out the code and the documents.


For the code my choice has been to use git and host the code somewhere. For example Neuronvisio lives on the github repo. For stuff that can’t go live (yet) I’ve set up my own private git repo on another server, and I wrote a quick how-to here.

Given the distributed nature of git, to keep all my machine in synch, I just need to clone the repo. Then I can develop on my working machine (no pun intended) and I can push the latest development back to the online repo. When I switch machine, I just need to pull the repo to go up to speed. Easy and slick.


I think one of the best way I found to keep my docs synced is with DropBox.

Dropbox syncs automatically your docs (or any stuff you’ve got in the folder) with an online server. So you have an easy way to do the backup. What is more interesting is Dropbox allow you to add another computer to the same account, and automatically syncs the documents between the online computers.

Basically it acts as a bridge between your two computers, without having the problem to think about the backup, but automatically doing that. It integrates in a really nice way with Linux as well.

So join it and give it a go!

P.S.: If you use this link to join DropBox, I’ll get some free space 🙂


Using git and dropbox I have a complete automated backup system, which lets me to:

  • backup my code and docs with no effort
  • switch between different machines in no time, without worrying of data loss due to hardisk failures.

Comments are open if you want to share some other solutions 🙂