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Re: "in-program" backup facility

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  • Subject: [mg111877] Re: "in-program" backup facility
  • From: Murray Eisenberg <murray at>
  • Date: Mon, 16 Aug 2010 05:56:10 -0400 (EDT)

The issue is _not_ "regular backups" or even "archiving". The issue is 
to be able to save snapshots of a notebook -- automatically and/or on 
command--from within the program and as you work.  That way, if 
Mathematica happens to crash (much rarer these days), you lose only 
perhaps a few minutes' work, not all the work since you last executed an 
external backup program. Ditto if you accidentally delete some cells or 
make other changes that you need to reverse; you can get back to a 
version of the notebook from a few minutes ago or an hour ago -- again 
without having to go outside the program to a separate backup program.

(A good undo facility helps ameliorate some of the difficulty in the 
latter situation.)

This is something common, e.g., to text editors and word processors.

Yes, there are external backup solutions that do "continuous backups". 
But that can slow down system performance and be overkill; moreover, you 
then have to open the backup program to find the version of the file you 
want to retrieve. (You may have to do that because the continuous backup 
doesn't save the whole file each time, but only deltas.)

On 8/15/2010 7:36 AM, peter wrote:
> I've seen a few posts about this and I'm wondering if I am missing the
> point [ again ].
> Surely folks are managing their own backups - perhaps using "Time
> Machine" on the mac or whatever. The arguments in favour or regular
> backups surely extend beyond the use of Mathematica and apply
> generally to the use of a personal computer ?
> I don't mean to sound smug about this so please bear with me for a
> moment: I run a mac and use the "Time Machine" facility within the
> operating system, writing to an external disk. I also use "Carbon Copy
> Cloner" to write to another external disk providing me with an
> up-to-date alternative boot drive. I'm sure users on other systems can
> find similar [ free ] utilities, or use perhaps the best of all backup
> tools: rsync.
> Sorry if I'm missing the point. I don't want to get bogged down in the
> distinction between "archive" and "backup" or anything like that. It
> just seems vital to me that people keep a cycle of regular backups of
> all their work, and even provide themselves with a regularly updated
> alternative boot drive.
> best wishes
> Peter Lindsay

Murray Eisenberg                     murray at
Mathematics & Statistics Dept.
Lederle Graduate Research Tower      phone 413 549-1020 (H)
University of Massachusetts                413 545-2859 (W)
710 North Pleasant Street            fax   413 545-1801
Amherst, MA 01003-9305

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