Digital Insurance For Your DJ Set

What would happen if your computer crashed or got stolen today? How many songs, cue points, beat grids, and other data would be lost forever? Now imagine that you have a gig tonight and your computer goes completely haywire. This is exactly what happened to Skrillex last night at the Majestic Theatre in Madison, WI where he had unfortunate hard drive failure that prevented him from performing at his sold-out show.

With today’s technology getting better and better, sometimes we forget that it’s still not perfect. There are few things less frustrating than technology not functioning properly, and it has a nasty habit of failing when you need it most. How can you prevent this from happening to you?

Being Prepared For A Hard Drive Failure

For Mac users, one really good option is a program called Carbon Copy Cloner by Bombich. It is a free program that allows you to create a fully bootable copy of your Mac onto an external hard drive. That means you can boot your computer onto someone else’s Mac from the external drive, giving you complete access to everything you need. If Skrillex had utilized this program he could have simply plugged his external hard drive into any Mac and loaded everything he needed for the show to go on. For more information on what kind of hard drives you can use to create a bootable backup, visit this page on Bombich’s website.

For PC users, creating a bootable backup brings up a number of large obstacles, including the need for additional serial numbers for each drive with an OS on it. However, we’re sure some of you have some great ideas as to how to get around this- leave us a comment and we’ll consider adding it to this article! A good solution for PC users to have a backup of their data is using an online file storage service like or  one of the many services that we covered back in in 2009 in this article.

While it may not disappoint thousands of fans if your computer crashes, you should still back up your files. Just remember, if it can happen Skrillex, it can happen to you. Don’t be left without all of your data and feeling like you “want to kill everybody in the world” – see the video of Skrillex tearing it up below.

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Comments (146)
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  • bop vi nam

    However, we’re sure some of you have some great ideas as to how to get
    around this- leave us a comment and we’ll consider adding it to this
    article! A good solution for PC users to have a backup of their data is
    using an online file storage service like or  one of the many
    services that we covered back in in 2009 in this article.

  • Lol

    or just bring cds

  • DJ Majestic

    Here’s what works for me. I don’t use my laptop for storage of my files. All files are on external drives. I carry two laptops every gig. One in case I have to download a file at the last minute, that can be a back-up in case the primary fails. Same with the external drives. I carry 2 exact duplicates complete with cue points and all. Problem solved unless they both simultaneously combust at the same time.

    • Breakz

      carrying a 2nd laptop would be the ultimate solution for me,but it also sucks,i hate carrying a heavy and big bag through airports (plus some companies have a limit on the hand baggage weight which is easy to exceed with a 2nd laptop,because i already carry a controller,sound card,cables,cd’s).
      So,my solution is to carry a 2nd internal hard drive with me(which is cloned from the drive that is in use) and a screwdriver,in the worst case that my laptop has failed and its not the hard drive then i play with cd’s.

      You never loose a performance and you don’t loose your data(always keep a back up of the back up!!!!).

  • Spencer "Thunderball" Thayer

    Dude. If you’re a windows user just create an automated Robocopy batch script. Set it to run whenever and copy to a back up. It’ll do full sync. If you’re a Mac or Linux use rsync command line is the way to go. It’s easy to setup a cron job to automatically do it.

    Also Skrillex has skillz. Most of you don’t. Nuff said.

    • will.i.ain't

      Not backup skillz obviously.

  • s

    One note about bootable backups from CCC it superduper-they will only boot on the same computer configuration as the original backup so you can’t boot it from ANY Mac. (E.g. I can’t boot my MacBook image from my imac) However if the hd failure is the only problem you will still be able to run osx directly off the backup.

  • Jon D

    Bummer for Skrillex, but if you’re at that level, you need all backup plans possible. The mobile DJ group I work for has a pretty solid emergency plan. We always bring a backup laptop, system (mixer, software controller, and furman) for all our major gigs. We keep a master and backup of everything offsite. It’s extra to carry, but it pays off if you have a failure.

    On the personal side:
    CCC for Mac = Awesome Tool
    For Windows, I’ve been using Syncback to update my laptop’s library, and also backup the critical files to my server. It’s also backed up on an external HDD that’s stored in a fireproof safe (yes I went overkill, but I really don’t want to lose my library!)

    Also, get Dropbox!! I store my Virtual DJ config files there (all cue points, etc)

  • Sampagne

    I just got two identical MacBook’s Pro with me in case anything happens. One of course being the backup. I even have a cd-wallet with witch I’m able to keep dj’ing if a macbook decides to stop working and needs to be replaced live on stage. Luckily (knock on wood) nothing like this ever happened to me. The cost is high for this kind of insurance but if I fail to perform it’s a major disaster for me.

    The crowd is disappointed, the booker is furious and the venue is not likely to have you any time soon. So be professional and make sure you can deliver!

  • jorn

    I’ve actually had this happen to me before, a drive just crapped out hours before a gig. Like many have suggested, a hot clone at the ready can save your bacon. But, what I’ve also done for contingencies where my computer may go nuts and need a reboot or some such is to save some recorded sets to an iPod. A few ~20 minute chunks of music is a welcome saefty net should you ever need to get your rig back to life.


    I cannot say enough good things about CrashPlan (at Cross-platform, off-site, encrypted backups that run in the background.

  • DJ Jimbob

    Anyone mentioned yet?

    £40 a year for unlimited cloud storage which includes a backup client on your PC if you so desire.

  • Base Response

    My backup solution: Linux fileserver on home network + Unison + DynDNS = free backup/sync from anywhere. I also sync the fileserver’s disk to an offsite location in the event some catastrophe strikes my house.

    • Funky ß

      Netgear ReadyNAS + DynDNS and the NAS also backed up offsite.


    To Ean Golden, once again i see that some readers have nasty to insulting comments that are more personal feelings or hate than a usefull reply on a written article. I was hoping that this was over since you promissed sanctions against such writings. I do realize that Dub is not my favourite style either but i always try to find some respect for what ever music people play.
    I hope everyone will stay nice and do not comment in a bad way and accept styles and attitudes of fellow musicians.
    Don’t hate or critizise others but try to be better and more creatieve with the style you prefer and play best…..maybe one day y’all make a good booked touring like Skrillex……….

    • DJ Dennis

      I became much happier as a person when I decided that anyone who wanted to bag on what I was doing was merely asking to be given the opportunity to take over whatever I was working on… If somebody griped that they did not like what I was doing I told them to go do it them-damn-selves or shut up. . . . . . So, Rolfski, howzabout your article? Can we have it by Friday mate? Frankly, if ZachDero’s article gets someone to think about making backups and forming a good backup strategy to protect their work (or as Skrillex said in his tweet, “his life”) then he did his job. Backups and backup strategies are almost “personal”; what I prefer may not work for you or ZachDero or … I come from an IT background and know that discussions of backup strategies can overflow the confines of a book. Imagine trying to cram that sort of discussion into a single blog post. This post is all about making people THINK about the worst that can happen and, hopefully, take action to avoid it completely or, at least, keep it from taking you completely out of the game.

      • DJ Dennis

        Where did all that previous reply stuff come from? gack. What I meant to post here is Dennis’ First Law of Music: There are only two kinds of music, Good Music and Bad Music. Listener gets to choose. Seriously, the hating on Skrillex is just amazing to me. People, give it up already. Please? If all you are going to say is “the article is crap” or “Skrillex is a jerk” or “OMFG dubstep is bad, yo” you really aren’t adding a thing to the conversation about ZachDero’s article. You really aren’t adding to the collective knowledge about backup solutions. I have never met Skrillex but I wonder if he’d be as nasty toward you and your choice of music? Dubstep really isn’t my cup of java but, geezohpete, that dance floor looked pretty full so somebody seems to like it. Maybe y’all are hating because his floor was full and yours ain’t?? So, could we all just grow up a little bit, please? Thank you very much and rant over.

        • R3 BONAIRE

          thanks guys for this support , i hope others get the message….

  • Fra

    I’m not a professional and I bring a back up hard disk.
    That’s the beasic man.

  • Johnny 5

    God works in mysterious ways………. Thats one way to rid the planet of that nasty shitty noise…
    I like the comment my life was on that computer…”was he talking about his porn collection”

  • etniko

    thank you for the tip…

  • LocosDJ

    I always bring 2 laptops with duplicate images and 2 mirrored hard drives. It’s allot of maintenance, but 100% redundancy.

  • Streetstreet

    Awe thats not fun, Nothing like learning the good old fashioned hard way.

    Skrillex is awesome live.

  • DJ Louder

    Just to clear everything up, They cut the power on Skrillex.. It was over capacity and the popo said “cut it”


  • Cableaddict

    One thing the poor folks can do: (for gig emergencies only)

    Make long audio mixes ahead of time, and have them ready-to-go on a cd/mp3 player, or card-player, or whatever. Not ideal, but better than going home with your tail between your legs.

    • DJ Dennis

      And as a backup to that backup, put the mixes on an iPod and carry the necessary cables to hook it into a PA. You can jack in quickly and save your butt.

  • Cableaddict

    1: Anyone who thinks an online backup service is going to save his butt at a gig is takes foreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeever to download your files. (you can learn several new languages in the meantime.)

    2: Are you a pro, i.e. getting paid for your worK? Then buy a second license for all your software & carry a complete backup computer. Otherwise, you get what you get. Personally, I carry two redundant rack pc’s, PLUS an “extra safety” laptop. – plus external backups of all my data drives (I use three as it’s a complicated system) P{LUS a fourth external drive with a bootable system.

    • DJ Dennis

      As for point #1, not only is it the case that trying to download audio files slow enough to cause you serious grief at a show, I can tell you that most of halls I’ve played did not have an internet connection. Even if my iPhone was jailbroke so I could tether on AT&T, you couldn’t download stuff sufficiently fast enough to repair a broken system on the fly. It would be better to have a clone of your system drive that you can boot from!

  • Anonymous

    1tb external hard disc drive. Job done. Back up everything on a home PC and keep all your files on an external. Then even if your laptop does die, you still have your precious files. Simple.
    Also, D-Jam is spot on there with back-up CDs!

  • D-Jam

    My way is to burn the MP3s into data DVD for archiving. If my DJ hard drive burns out, I simply buy a new HD and set it all back up.

    NOW…in terms of a gig, this is why I bring with me a small book of audio CDs with enough music to last me twice as much time as I’m slotted to play. Better to be able to play a basic set than tell someone you can’t play.

  • Anonymous

    Skrillex, Sorry to hear about your gig. As a touring pro you should have 2 laptops with backup HD. Your are being paid to perform (I’m assuming he makes more the your typical cash strapped bar DJ). No excuse for that.
    I myself has one laptop (looking to buy a smaller backup laptop), 2 ext drives & the music that I know I am going to need on a USB stick (I can use that in my 3700’s).
    I also backup my data to Backblaze ($50 a year unlimited storage). My backup plan saved the day when my wire accidently disconnected power to an external drive right before a party. Drive would not boot up. I grabbed my backup drive plugged in and party went on. I did loose some dance tracks that I hadn’t gotten around to listen to but those songs aren’t important for my day to day parties. All the important data was safe and sound.

    • Sir Anonymous the 2nd

      Amen! This is what separates the the true Pros from the irresponsible. Actually, you’d be surprised at how many professionals don’t protect themselves. All it takes is once (you’d think), and you’ll be carrying back up upon back up.

      I’m not a DJ, but a long time electronic musician. I carry two, maybe three of everything, down to the very last cable. I have three active backup mirrored SSD Drives. I keep a copy of Snow Leopard and a bootable back firewire drive. Super Duper is a great program for this. I’m sure there are plenty great programs like this out there by now.

      It’s pretty dammed embarrassing and traumatic to have crashes live. Yes, my live is on my computer, but unlike my physical life, I can clone my digital one several times over. That’s why we get paid the big bucks, be responsible!

  • DubbLife

    This is an awesome article. My (ex)girlfriend snapped my macbook literally in half a few weeks ago and that pretty much put my entire music workshop/DJ rig on a standstill. Fortunately, Im a bit of a techno-geek, and knew how to salvage my hard drive, and ram upgrades. So when I replace my mac, I can just copy my old hard drive onto the mac. Seems like my first love (music) is always better than any woman Ive met thus far. haha!


  • Fatbat

    One dead hard drive away from losing your whole life? What a retard. In this day and age there’s absolutely no excuse for not having your shit backed up.

  • Joe Swash

    Lol-I gree with you bro,
    Skanky looking mutha fucker needs a wash & a fuckin haircut,
    Please someone,Anyone,kill that fuckin skrillex please….
    Skrillex my arse,More like bollox,lanky streak of paralised piss that he is.

    • Anonymous

      LOL !!!!! Agreed Joe!!!! Fucker is just riding the miniscule coattail of a mau5 anyway.

  • Devin

    Too bad this idiot never heard of a external hard drive

    • ann nonymous

      Sorry but this guy sucks ass,
      He looks like a cross between a heroin addict & cory feldman in his (i think i look like michael jackson) phase.
      Could not listen to that shitty tinny music,just be grateful he mashed his drive so you aint gotta put up with any more of his shit for a while (thank god)
      Would never happen if you used vinyl ya cunt.
      Yet another teeny bopper gamer tryin ta be a dj,
      Please just fuck off & die or just get in to the next big thing a bit quicker eh?

  • ciao!

    viva le vinyl!

  • Taxes

    This would have been lovely to know before that 18 Wheeler smashed into my trunk containing my laptop, VCI, and midifighter on thursday.

    • next step

      thats hardcore… couple tips… make sure if you get an insurance settlement they pay for lost content on your computer. THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR DATA. I cannot fucking stress this enough. during mediation they will try to tell you theres ABSOLUTELY no proof of what you had on your laptop and what its worth and they wont pay a dime etc… That is their hardcore gangster front on you, they know they are liable but wont admit it in your first sit down. Your probably gonna need a lawyer on this one. But they tried to give me $750 for my macbook in a similiar incident and I ended up getting 3500 for just my macbook + “data”. Still worth the lawyer.

      • Taxes

        How did you provide proof of data? Or am I to assume that you did not need to?

  • piopro

    heard you can clone HDD and make them bootable via usb and mac if it cloaned then you could just plug away you go

  • Jake

    Is it just me or, (at .12) on the video does it look like he’s using the arrangement view of Ableton for his live show?

    • Ron Solo

      yup, looks like it.

    • next step

      He’s a producer. I doubt at all his workflow revolves around DJ’ing.

      He made good tunes, how he has big gigs, this isnt rocket science.

      It doesnt matter how he DJ’s, he’s getting paid and booked over his tunes and performing unique content not for crab crab lazer crab!!

      You’ll never be anyone but a shit bag local in a tiny lil bar unless you produce!!!

    • Johnny 5

      yep its arrangement view, to its more than likely pre recorded and edited and then he turns up pushes play and jumps around like a complete cock for 2 hours pretending to DJ…..

      • Jake

        Yeah, that’s what I was getting at. I’m never one to judge how and why people perform the way they do. But with all the shit talking that goes on about “right & wrong” ways to do things. I would have to say this would be one of the wrong ways… If you’re going to take big money for shows, the least you could do is actually put on a performance and not just dance around to what might as well be a cd playing out your tracks on its own. I dig Skrillex and his songs and sounds, but come on, that’s cheating. There used to be a whole site dedicated to people who cheat their performances… …But it has been taken down for a while. It’s only a matter of time before he turns up on…
        Shame Skrillex, shame on you…

  • Piopro

    After seeing the iPhone dj app feed az a back up cue play dj is now a deffo fav as used it as house parties n some small gigs not used pro yet but it’s getting. Close what a great BackuP to have With the right cable it works great tnx djtt

  • Lauren D

    Great article!! I hope people listen to this advice!!


    If your selling out your own shows you should have 2 laptops at all times! C’mon your a proffesional you make enough to have two laptops! No excuse for that shit! I would expect it from one of my bedroom dj buddies!

    • Dj PC3

      R U Serious? I don’t know any “professional” that has two laptops, its hard enough just to manage one… c’mon man be reasonable


    TO Skrillex, that sucks , and i had the same thing happening to me, Hdd broken but just at home so no gig killer. But the same trouble all my ableton samples and warp markers gone….and a lot more.
    Here is what i did….and this can save you alot of money rather than bringing the drive to a recover company..
    Look up the exact model of your drive. Buy an exact same model so Brand,Gbytes,Rpm and Sata 150/300. Now all you do is exchange the circuit board that controls the hard drive from the new one to the broken one.Most of the CB’s are screwed on or from the top cover down to the drive. Be carefull with the flat cable connector to the motor.Also use a Qtip to clean the pin contacts to the Sata connector, use alcohol or Napa electric cleaner.
    90% of Dead drives is caused by the hardware on the CB rather than the disc or motor. You might get a drive for around $50 bucks and that is well worth trying.If no succes you can exange the CB again and have a new drive for future back up. My drive works again but just to make sure i cloned it to another back up drive….
    This is the worst nightmare any one can face.
    Hope my trick helps you out…It worked for me and many others.
    This is why i like DJTT site so much, help each other by ideas and solutions…

    • josh@firestorm

      pretty sure the new drive has to come from the batch as the broken one as well… i’ve done it before and had to use a drive from the same batch number as my fried one. which makes it a serious p.i.t.a if the drive is more than a month or two old (unless the store you bought the original drive from doesnt have a high stock turnover)

      • R3 BONAIRE

        i didn’t look at that fact and my own and 2 others i did for someone else, all work again. Just try is only cost about $50. If no good than you already have a new drive for the fresh install of your OS and Software….

  • meh

    i don’t see a problem. This failure means less skrillex tunes and shows. Good thing imo. And to the noobs saying how complex his ableton sets are, its not that hard to set up 2 channels and i couple of beat repeats…

    • Yhhg

      Cant be that complex using just a trigger finger

  • cpoynter

    He looks like he’s 12… maybe he didn’t know better?

  • alexio

    epic fail :))…i am not an ass but,he is one of the most dumbest people i saw!
    the guy really needs to understand that you do not go on a usual party/big gig/tour without any backup option(second pc,external drive,cd`s,ipods,etc) ,you just don’t.
    and the biggest mistake for a producer is to let your work without backup.
    by the way,what does a artist like him has to say to the people who bough tickets for his show?oooh,this: yoooo guys,dont worry,next time i wont be a total noob and start to take backup with me!

  • Mr S

    He couldn’t use the CDJ’s because he doesn’t know how to DJ with them . . . He just uses Ableton.

    • xOrejin_Kahausx

      LOL!!!! I’t ok to ableton. Just another Comp. with your ableton work just in case duh!!!!

      But yet again any BIG DJ should spin new and old ways 😉

      I’n not a huge DJ but at least i can do both.

      • Yhhg

        Piss poor dj then

  • djproben

    Unless you’re doing something really complex, a bootable backup isn’t the only way to go. Usually a portable hard drive is all you need – put all your songs and preference files for your main programs and you should be set to use any computer (possibly even across platform). With Ableton you want to make sure to get the file hierarchy right, or be ready to re-find it on the portable drive. With Traktor or Serato just copy the right preferences folders and you can run it on another machine.

    If I was a touring DJ though I would ideally want two laptops, one as a backup, so there is no hassle with finding the right files on a hard drive. A bootable backup will only help you if there’s already a spare laptop around in the first place. And if I was a touring DJ I would think I’d be able to afford one. But at the very least I could afford an external hard drive with backups.

  • ant

    is that guy skrillex supposed to be famous?

    • ant

      nevermind, I already watched the video posted, awful squirrel music!

      • Anonymous

        agreed….this dubstep movement is worse than jungle!

        • Anonymous

          but jungle was so good

  • Anonymous

    What about online backups? Carbonite?

  • Ando

    really cool article, need to get a compatible hard drive ;P

    this dude in the video does look like the evil twin of ean golden :D, just not kind of cool and well “maintained” like the original. he just looks disgusting…

  • MuzicFreq

    Actually he’s not Dubstep O_O According to beatport he’s Electro House… o_o

    • next step

      Did you really just say that?

      • Mr S

        Skrillex is NOT dubstep.

        • next step

          I guess I wasnt being clear.. I was just in awe how people hold onto things like beatport because they assume they are THE authority of music.

    • Johnny 5

      God works in mysterious ways………. Thats one way to rid the planet of that nasty shitty noise…

      I like the comment my life was on that computer…”was he talking about his porn collection”

  • FTW

    Time to get that data rescued. Costs some money, but he can get his files back.

  • James

    Note that in that video his hard drive or computer didn’t fail someone spilt a drink on the sound’s power strip causing a mega fail.

    Sad day he is a cool dude

    • myrobotlove

      Skrillex is terrible, and hes a moron for having NO backup of any of his music or projects.

      A disgrace to those that made the Majestic known as a place for awesome dance parties.

  • Anonymous

    god i hate dubstep…..It makes all the good looking chicks clear the floor

    • Spacecamp

      Not sure where you live- but I’m really sorry that’s the case.

    • hot chicks love dubstep

      that is sad.

    • Anonymous

      emo’s answer to electronic

  • xOrejin_Kahausx

    If you have a Big gig like Shrillex. You should have back up options and many in many ways.

    Always have a back drive and a back up media player. For example.
    1.Laptop the main player of the stage with extra hdd if FAIL!, cdj with a mix cd so people still can move cause of your down time,and last then a Ipod with a mix you pre recorded if everthing else FAIL! or dont have a cdj.

    Thats way thing go to shit then it’s just seconds to switch over and ready to switch back in mins.

    All so remember your midi, hid controller, and/or soundcard might FAIL!!! on you too.

    So it’s always good to know how to mix with new school tech. (Computer softs like Ableton, Trakto, SSL, and VDJ) with old school tech (Hardware CDJ’s and i dare to say it REAL Vinyl).

    If you at a gig where there no CDJ’s (House Party or Local show).

    Bring you Ipod. Most everyone has one unless your momma don’t like you enough to give you one! J/K.

    Hey in the end we all going to Fail! in one way or another. So take it easy. You will have this moment to laugh at and will improve. (I hope.) LOL!

  • Doomz

    I had 3 external hd’s. 1 of them burned out last week so now I have only 2, so I have a back up and a back up back up. Ive had my pc crash on me 2x at 2 different shows. I normally bring a 2nd pc with me and a back up but believe it or not on both of those occasions I left the PC at home so my wife can use. It happens and it sucks when it does. Im lucky because I have a younger cousin that came out for me on both occasions and filled in for me. I linked up one of my externals and ended up playing a set through his mac.

  • cpoynter

    Too bad for Skrillex, but how can anyone have any sympathy if he didn’t bother to back up his computer? I thought that was standard procedure nowadays, heck, even my mom knows that! And I need to second what Rolfski said; Windows 7 has awesome backup software built right in that allows me to create a system image as well as back up specific files and folders. If you’re in a live situation, you need to be prepared.

  • Milan Minimal

    Use 2 Macbook’s if your pro, or have an external USB ready. If I prepare a set I select tracks for an evening and copy those to an external disc, there is always someone else using traktor and a X1 is plug and play. Or use good old CD’s

  • Rolfski

    This is one of those completely dump articles that seems to come along every now and then on DJ Techtools. It’s clearly written by a Mac user that doesn’t know anything about the potential of the PC platform.

    Some options you can do with a PC (Win7):
    – create an image (on external drive/DVD/network) and use that image on another notebook
    – install Livemesh on any computer and access your home desktop from anywhere to get your files back
    – use free Skydrive with your free Live account to access files anywhere
    – my preferred option: buy a Windows Home Server (starting around 400 dollar) that makes a back-up of all your computers and can be accessed from any browser everywhere
    – use a commercial cloud storage service (not recommended)

    • DJ Dennis

      I became much happier as a person when I decided that anyone who wanted to bag on what I was doing was merely asking to be given the opportunity to take over whatever I was working on… If somebody griped that they did not like what I was doing I told them to go do it them-damn-selves or shut up. . . . . . So, Rolfski, howzabout your article? Can we have it by Friday mate? Frankly, if ZachDero’s article gets someone to think about making backups and forming a good backup strategy to protect their work (or as Skrillex said in his tweet, “his life”) then he did his job. Backups and backup strategies are almost “personal”; what I prefer may not work for you or ZachDero or … I come from an IT background and know that discussions of backup strategies can overflow the confines of a book. Imagine trying to cram that sort of discussion into a single blog post. This post is all about making people THINK about the worst that can happen and, hopefully, take action to avoid it completely or, at least, keep it from taking you completely out of the game.

    • Rolf Ski

      @DJ Dennis: Agree that making people think about back-ups in the first place is a big plus of this article. However, I still think that the author should at least have done some basic research on this topic in order to give the PC users some sensible guidance

    • Rolf Ski

      @DJ Dennis: Agree that making people think about back-ups in the first place is a big plus of this article. However, I still think that the author should at least have done some basic research on this topic in order to give the PC users some sensible guidance

  • Shog

    Never heard about this guy Before.What happened to him sucks,and i don’t recommend it to anyone.Happened to me once,lost half of my information on the hdd,thank god there wasn’t any music there.

    And what his dubstep is one of the nastiest i’ve ever heard.Don’t like this shit.. 😀

  • digital drip

    Raid 1 > all software.

  • Dub D

    I personally have a Windows Home Server which backs up both of my DJ laptops each night, yep…. both. Well I have one deicated one which a bit older Core 2 Duo, and my main day to day laptop which has a full backup of all music including built and up to date crates in Serato.

    Also I keep duplicates of all the music on two seperate drives in the server, and I’m gonna look into offsite soon. It’s a fairly comprehensive strategy that, barring a fire, will keep me up and running. The worst thing that could happen if one failed at a gig is I would have to play tracks off my phone for about 5 minutes til I got my spare up and running.

  • MTS

    scary times…..all djs should definitely carry other back up mediums such as USBs or even mp3 CDs so at least they can play……is it just me or does cancelling a show seem a little bit extreme, whats wrong with Skrillex playing CDs ????

    • Spacecamp

      odds are pretty good that he didn’t bring CDs.

  • itskindahot

    I prefer to create a portable version of my Traktor collection (see manual, section “Creating a portable version of TRAKTOR”) on an external storage drive. I also keep the Traktor version I currently use (both for Mac and PC) and my serial on that drive.

    This way, if your laptop crashes, you can use any other laptop. Obv, if it happens mid-gig and the guy that borrows you his laptop doesn’t run Traktor, your downtime is going to be slightly larger. (You need to install Traktor and, potentially, ASIO driver on his machine.)

    But my method has an advantage compared to the disk-cloning approach described in the article. It’s more likely to work. Booting into your operating system from someone else’s laptop may fail due to hardware/driver incompatibilities (something that can happen on both Mac and PC platforms).

    Also, if Traktor is already installed on the laptop you borrow (which will often be the case), your downtime will only be a few seconds because in that case, all you need to do is to hook up your external drive and change Traktor’s root dir in Preferences.

    • dahJah

      I have a refurbished laptop as a backup laptop and it set up exactly as my main (totally identical). It has a smaller processor but since it’s a backup all I have o do is work with a higher latency setting to get me through till I could fix probs on the main. Everything is also backed up on a terrabite as well. Think I may check into this carbonite too.

  • Tomero

    Time Machine’s ‘clone’ is not bootable. CCC is way more useful but lacking the awesome Star Wars interface 🙂

  • Maestro B

    It always worries me. Makes me think back to the good old days of vinyl when we didn’t need to worry about such failures.

    • DjKeyWee

      Well yes and no… what happened if you haven’t spare needles? There’s no better option, there’s just different “problems” to come.

      Always have a backup solution… and I mean a complete solution. If you can afford a backup laptop… go for it. But don’t tell me no one can’t afford an external hard drive backup. Even a decent sized USB key could save sopme part of your a55 for a couple of hours set.

      • Maestro B

        True, though spare needles seems like a slightly easier and more affordable option than a spare laptop. I agree that a spare HDD is an affordable option, and if your computer fails before the gig, then you’ve got plenty of time to locate a spare laptop and load it up.

        A different story if the computer fails mid-set (I’ve seen that happen). Needles are easy to swap over mid-set. Sourcing a spare laptop, loading the external HDD into it, booting it up, configuring the DJ software, and setting up the audio interface is a little time consuming to carry out mid-set. Probably the best solution is to have an identical spare laptop set up and running so the swap over can only take a couple of minutes.

        Of course, all DJs should bring a couple of CDs to fill the silence while this swap over happens.

  • D'Menace

    Man, that sucks…. Now, depending on how valuable the work he had on there was, he has to spend serious $$$ to pay someone with whiteroom access to pull the files out of the dead HDD.

    I used to work for a popular/unpopular PC repair company, and they offer such a service…. but be warned it could cost upwards of $2k <- try explaining that to someone who's life was on the drive, and they were negligent to back up the data….

    I agree with most that Time Machine is excellent, I use it on my Mac, and have made sure I do weekly backups.

    For Pc users, I would also recommend "Ghosting" your harddrive onto an external HDD, you can use programs like Acronis (which works really nice BTW), Norton Ghost (if you can find it these days)… In a way they work like Time Machine does, except that in the event of a crash, you basically delete, and re-write the harddrive (if you chose to backup the MBR files).

    Personally, I keep 2 externals, Time Machine as mentioned, and a second drive with the Music folder in it alone. I use pogoplug to access the files remotely if needed, but it's time consuming… It follows the principle of Cloud computing, but you create your own cloud (meaning no one else has access to your files). Cloud file storage has gotten pretty cheap lately, and it is secure in most cases.

    Bottom line folks: Backup your data, or you might eventually experience the demise of your harddrive… Doesn't matter if its SSD, or not…

    I'll look into the Carbon Copy Cloner…. booting from an external sounds cool, especially in a pinch.

    my 2 pennies 😉

  • Dj PC3

    U can use Time Machine for macs, its already built in the OS and works better than the program listed

    • Anonymous

      You can’t boot up off a time machine backup macking useless at a gig

      • Dj PC3

        No, not completely useless, you have access to all to all your files (playlist, cue-points, programs, etc)… And if your computer crashes you can restore it straight from the time-machine external hard-drive.
        If you are using a Mac, you’ll have to use another mac to access the files anyway, instead of having to take the time to do a complete boot (which takes precious time), you can access your files straight from someone else’s mac

  • Reese

    i quite like Skrillex…..but man his breaks are sooo cheesy

  • MuzicFreq

    I usually dislike dubstep but this song i love too much

  • Krisso

    Thanks great article, PLEASE a video on how to set up and successfully use carbon copy cloner!

  • Uzoma Nwosu

    Having multiple backups is a great idea. But having a backup does you no good if your drive fails at the booth. CDs are dirt cheap and you can fit a bunch of them in your laptop bag. And if you don’t have CD players and mp3 player to transition to the next DJ could do.

  • Priscilla

    This only happened because his music is too damn hot for a regular hard drive.

    And no it wouldn’t happen to Ritchie or Tiesto, because you could probably fit the complexity of their productions on a floppy drive.

    Love Skirllex. Sad this happened. But I guess it only means that he has to make more tunes.

    • Chris


    • Anonymous

      no no no….his drive bailed on him cause the music actually sucked and belonged in a video game.

      • Dave


    • Anonymous

      “This only happened because his music is too damn hot for a regular hard drive.”
      WTF? You bag on Hawtin, one of the pioneers of techno, for this piece of garbage. That music was horrible. What are you like 12? In another 10 years Hawtin will still be around. Srill who?

      • dahJah

        I wouldn’t put hawtin in the pioneer of techno category.

  • josh@firestorm

    [quote comment=”43819″]This would’t happen to Ritchie Hawtin.[/quote]


    or tiesto ;P

    • R3 BONAIRE

      look on you tube Tiesto and Guetta, CDJ and DJM fail also. Guetta had it twice on the same song…..

  • Chris

    My time machine has saved me more than once. I’m going to check out carbon copy and maybe do a monthly with it for redundancy.

  • Tsuk

    That sucks!
    A few months ago that happened to A-trak and I already had the tickets when I find out!
    I’m still waiting for him to come to Portugal.

  • RedEyz

    when i used to use Windows i had a BSOD at an event and had to let the DJ before me extend his set, and the DJ after me extend his. needless to say, it’s a HORRIBLE situation. not to mention, a few weeks ago my external drive conked out on me and i neglected to buy a new one for quite a while.

    before i was able to buy a new one and get everything backed up, my internal drive shit itself and the head started slamming against the platter. let me tell you how fun it is to not have a backup of 3 years worth of music, grids, cues, and super important documents…


    i’ve since purchased an SSD for my internal drive. NO MORE MOVING PARTS. i also bought a new backup disk and i’m going to get back to my daily backup routine as i usually add a few tunes to Traktor every day, depending on how many people send me stuff on AIM.

    the majority if my friends have purchased new backup drives and started doing dailies since my fiasco. NEVER AGAIN.

    – RedEyz

  • Tomii

    I have two external hard drives that I save every thing to. lol I always thought that was the way to go.

  • Jonas

    For Mac users: Time Machine is built in (aka free) and rock solid, you just have to plug in the external hdd every once in a while. Might not work if you’re already standing in the booth at the time of the crash but at least you can get your system back to how it was the day after, bit by bit, without having to buy any software. Backups take little time except for the first one.

    • Directorate

      Definitely recommend Time Machine also, it’s incremental after the first large backup and comes with all copies of OS X (fairly sure).

    • Krisso

      Time machine is soooo slow it can take up to 48 hours + to do a full restore, also you have to route everything through your modem, very pissed with mine much rather just use a good 9pin firewire drive

      • Paul Benjamin

        Are you using time-machine via a time capsule?

        I use it to back up onto an e-sata drive and it’s very quick and transparent…

        You can make multiple backups using it, the only issue is that you need to restore using the time-machine software but unless you are planning on restoring on a different machine, this isn’t much of an issue…

        • Paul Benjamin

          Unless you just killed your whole machine and want to play off someone else’s, then yes having a clone of it is definitely a good thing.

          Oddly enough Disk Utility is a mighty fine cloner…

  • Str8updrew

    Thanks for the reminder. It’s been a while since i’ve backed up my hdd.

  • Dual citizen

    Offsite backup is safest. Heard was good but havent tried it myself.

  • Altmec

    I wonder if he was using an SSD?

    Apparently they can fail after high volume of data write cycles. :Steve Gibson on Leo la’porte’s security now)

    Either way back up kit and plans are a must on all shows. This would’t happen to Ritchie Hawtin.

  • ninjaontherocks

    it’s called don’t be an idiot, store your important files on dropbox (eg ableton sets). Pay the $100 a year for peace of mind and the ability to move freely between computers.

  • ArcLyte

    Skrillex wow man I feel for you man… That is tragic.

    I would also add to the solutions Carbonite/ Carbonite Pro that way the backups are in the cloud and not in your home in case of a total loss (what if your place burned down). You can also backup on the road too. Lastly I would also add that a backup laptop is a good idea.

  • theory28

    scrillex, thats not even funny!

    i wonder if he had incomplete tracks on there and no where else.

    • josh@firestorm

      he deserves what happened if that were the case..

      any dj/producer should have a complete backup of their music new/old/incomplete whatever…

      if you are touring or playing anything other than a free house party for your 10 year old sister you have no excuses for something so ridiculous as this.

      harddrives aren’t that expensive anymore guys! shit i remember when 1.5gig hdd’s came out, and dad paid about $500 for that! for $500 now you could get about 4-5 terrabytes!

      • Awkwerd

        im not going to disagree with that, technology is so cheap these days its not that hard to have a backup source. BUT, a friend of mine had his hard drive crash on his mac and he didnt have a back up for most of his new stuff, when you are into things you sometimes forget. now on the other hand he has two plug in hard drives and two wireless systems…..he lost his own electronic demo and some acoustic stuff with his bad. oh and his pics and videos of meeting daft punk….harsh

    • Dragonfyre

      Agree! For Macs, this is a GREAT option! Their clones work awesome!

    • DJGStefan

      Great program. I Do a backup every week and bring the extra harddrive with when I play.

  • jasonmd2020

    Two things, I got an external usb drive to back up my library and my own projects, the band I’m in uses SugarSync for online storage of the remixes & demos we work on. It’s also good for collaboration. Share the online storage & swap files to work on tracks.

  • vladimir prieto

    what i did on PC, is to create a dual boot pc with Windows and Ubuntu. then, from ubuntu, i create a image of the C: drive with partimage.

    if there some crash, on 15min i can recreate C: drive from that image. ok, this doesn’t help if hdd fail (phisical errors), but at least gives you an option when windows fails.

    and sooner or later, windows will fail ;).

    • Dj XNoBacK

      and sooner or later, windows will fail ;).


  • Adamn

    Great article, i just wish that the link for bombich worked…?

    • spacecamp

      Try the link now! Should work fine 🙂

  • Patch

    Sky Drive (Windows Live) + Gladinet = Peace of mind