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I think I am pretty proactive when it comes to backing up my personal data and I think that is how everyone should be. My mindset is “what if I completely lost my computer right now?”. What would be the worst things to lose? What am I being lax about? I think it is too easy for your hard drive to suddenly die or to lose your laptop. I would just like to share my current strategy.

I only back up the things that are hard or impossible to recover. Things like PDFs or downloaded documents can be redownloaded easily. I separate the things I need to have backed up and things that are just temporary into separate folders. I also try and keep the number of files I need to back up to a minimum, as it saves storage space and time.

My laptop dotfiles are all in a folder called “.dotfiles” and backed up to GitHub.

My university notes are in a folder called “notes” and backed up to GitHub.

All my development projects are hosted on GitHub in either public or private repositories. The copies on my local machine are just what I am currently working on. I commit and push code elsewhere often.

I have a folder called “notes”, with sensitive files I would not trust in a cloud backup solution. This includes my password manager file and a backup of my LUKS header. I use rslsync to keep this synced to my phone.

All my photos are backed up to Google Photos and I don’t own any music or videos.

I have a USB drive with a copy of Arch Linux to reinstall it. I used to keep a list of all my installed packages but I figure it is probably best to start from scratch. I don’t use anything out of the ordinary anyway.

I checked out the “/etc” folder but there is hardly anything custom in there that wouldn’t be regenerated when reinstalling the packages.