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06/09/2010 - SIBELIUS 6.2 - WIKI software updated - Announcements

Backup Strategies

Save Frequently

The first way to prevent losing your work is to save frequently. A save is merely a backup of what is on the screen.

Sibelius follows the standard established by Microsoft in using <key>C-s</key> to save on a PC. Modern computers will overwrite a file almost instantly with no slowdown in work, so a user should get used to pressing the <key>C</key> and <key>s</key> keys with two fingers of the left hand and get used to doing it frequently. A save every ten seconds will not be too often. Every minute or so is more common. A composer, arranger, notator should <key>C-s</key> at almost every pause in his inputting and should do it without even thinking about it.

Frequent saving is no substitute for a formal backup to a second storage device, but it will prevent losses for the occasional computer crash or power failure or unexpected rewrite by a prancing cat.

Sibelius files are automatically saved to a backup directory by default (every 10 minutes?) so you can retrieve these in case you make changes and save them but want to go back to an earlier version. This is all well documented in the manual.

For windows users, you can adjust the number of backup copies that Sibelius keeps by adjusting this Registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Sibelius Software\Sibelius 6\Preferences\Preferences\BackupNum

Backup Strategies

Fortunately, with hard drive prices very low, it is quite easy to securely backup your work so that in case of an emergency you will be up and running again in no time.

By Hand

If you have only a few files or folders to backup, you can do this the old-fashioned way: By Hand. Just burn the files to a CD or move them to an USB flash drive. Both methods are cheap and reliable if, repeat, if you do it regurarly! Backup at last once a week, and every day when in the middle of that Big Important Project! If you are using an USB flash drive and are absolutely sure that you are only using it on one specific OS, you can format the drive in this OS's file system, ie.. HFS+ for Mac OS. This has the benefit of better system integration and often higher security compared to FAT, which flash drives use by default.


If you have a spare hard drive the same or exceeding the size of your main drive, you can setup a raid, which means the drive is automatically mirrored on the other (RAID 1 Setting). In case of an emergency, you have the other, identical drive ready to rumble.
On Mac OS, you can create a raid in the Disk Utility (you will find it in the utilities folder, just search for it using spotlight).
It is advisable to have your main drive setup as a raid in any case in addition to other backup methods, because it is the fastest method to be back to work.

Backup Tools

The probably best backup solution is a tool that collects all the data for you and saves it to an external drive on either a regular basis or anytime you want it to do so.
There are numerous backup tools for all systems helping you to save your precious files.



Mac OS

The selection of good backup tools is fortunately quite big. A short search on Google will show you countless applications. Two good applications are iBackup (donationware) and Smart Backup (commercial).
These applications let you select files and folders to backup and will then perform the backup at either given times or whenever you like it. Because only the changed parts are saved, backups are very fast after the initial run. Be sure to backup preference files, too. These are in special folders. For a selection of things wise to backup, see Mac OS Recommended Backup.

The easiest backup solution on the Mac is Time Machine, which is included with Mac OS 10.5 Leopard or higher and will backup your drive every hour. It even allows you to access your files as they were on a given date by browsing “through time”. While it usually works quite well, it is not overly flexible, so if you do not want to backup your whole drive, you should probably stick with a slightly less overblown backup mechnism.

Online Backup Solutions

Install these programs on your computer and they backup to a server somewhere every night. They have security and encryption to keep things private. A small amount of data is free and unlimited is a few dollars a month. In some ways, this is the best solution.
More about this type of service (“Cloud”) you will find at Sync Strategies.