Why Backup?

The question is this. If your computer happened to up and die one day and you lost all the information on it, would this affect your mood that day? If your answer was no then you would be one of the few that doesn't need to Backup their computer. However, many of us would look at the same dead computer wondering if by staring at it blankly it might come back to life by some miracle. The reality would eventually kick in and we would have to come to terms with the loss each in our own way.

Unfortunately this is a very common way in which people learn the value of Backing-Up their computers.

Some Situations Where Computer Data Can Be Lost:

  • Hard Drive Failure.
  • Viruses.
  • Lost or Stolen Computer/Hard Drive.
  • Accidental deletion of data.
  • Water and/or Fire damage.
  • Improper software installation overwriting important Data.
  • My Dog ate it!

The possibility even for the computer savvy is always present so don't just think about it do it!

Can Lost Data Be Recovered? It depends what the reason is for the lost Data. For example a computer that was lost or stolen would be hard to recover any information unless the actual computer was recovered and had not been reformatted or erased. There are also companies that specialize in Data recovery and can recover Data even from water and fire damaged Hard Drives. This is not an inexpensive option; it comes down to how important the Data is that needs to be recovered. You may pay just about anything to get your special moment Photos or important Business Documents back. Another option is to purchase a program designed to recover accidentally erased information. This type of recovery must be done as soon as possible to the initial erasing of the Data before new files have the chance to overwrite the erased files.

What Backup Options Do I Have? Some Common Backup Options Are:

Backup to a separate Hard Drive: This is an excellent option if you have a lot of Data to Backup and need to Backup often. I would recommend using an external Hard Drive as opposed to an Internal so that the Backup Drive can be easily moved or located to a different location as needed for security.

Backup to a DVD or CD Disk: Since most newer computers already have CDR/W and DVDR/W Drives in them this makes a very economical and convenient way to Backup important Data. The downside is that there is a limitation of how much Data can go on one of these Disks making sequential Disk Backups time consuming and not nearly as self sufficient as Backing up to a Hard Drive. This is still a much better solution then not Backing up at all!

Backup to a Network Drive: If you are on a Home, Business or Internet Network that has an available Network Drive to Backup information to this could be yet another option. Backing up to Network Drives, especially Internet Network Drives may take some time depending on the speed of the Network connection. Size limitations can come into effect also.

For Example: Apple Computers offer an iDisk Network Drive for storing Data to all of their Dot-Mac account Users. It can store 1 Gigabyte of information and also works seamlessly with their included Backup software. This is great but limiting as most people will easily exceed this space. I would recommend using this to Backup specific files that are very important but not large in size, like Accounting and Data base info that would be horrendous if lost and time consuming to reenter.

What Should I Backup? This is entirely up to you and may be dependant on what Backup method you choose and how much space is available. In my opinion items like the Operating System state and installed Application are not nearly as important as your Home User Directory because your OS and Programs can always be reinstalled and updated getting you back up and running in a few hours. This is good but without all of your Contacts, Em ails, Calendar Info, Photos, Movies, Data Base, Bookmarks and Funny Jokes then your computer is like a blank canvas, you will never get it back to the exact way it was before your Data loss.

On a Macintosh running OSX, Backing-Up all of your current User information is as simple as Clicking on your HardDrive, Click on the folder called Users, Select the account that you are logged in as and drag it to the Mounted Backup Hard Drive.

On a PC the same can be done by Clicking on the My Computer Icon, then Click the Documents and Settings Folder, Select the User that you are currently logged in as and Copy this to the Backup Drive of your Choice.

Of course there are programs that do this more effectively and efficiently by daily/weekly Backups that automatically do this for you and only update any new or updated documents.

Here is a thought to leave you with when deciding if Backing up your Data is a good idea. How do you feel about Car insurance, or House Insurance, even Medical Insurance for that matter. Have any of these come in handy for you and would you even consider not having one or all of these? Think of a Backup plan for your data like Insurance, it is not mandatory but some believe would be foolish not to have.

Michael Kaye - founder of http://www.DigitizeMe.info/ Do you have difficulty when people talk about computers? Does it feel like they are speaking another language? We are here to help with the language used in computers, digital gadgets, email and the Web.

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