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The Importance of Backups

Last night I pulled out the laptop to work as I am in the middle of multiple deadlines.

Imagine my surprise when my three year old Dell refused to start up. Lights blinked, etc. but no image. I plugged in a monitor to see if it was the screen – no image. After hours of trying, nothing.

Did I freak? Well yes, because I really can’t afford to buy a new laptop right now.

Did I worry about the data or my more important programs? No.

If there is one thing that I am, it’s a stickler for doing backups and you should be as well in order not to lose valuable data when things go wrong.

How can you do backups? Here are some suggestions for you:

  • Use a thumb drive and do a SAVE AS of your work-in-progress as soon as you’ve finished any major changes. Keep that thumb drive in a safe and secure place.
  • Use an external drive to do daily/weekly/monthly backups of your data. You know best how often you add data to your drive, so that should determine how often you do a backup. Terrabyte drives are now in the $79 to $129 range at various locations and will store a mess of data for you.
  • Copy files to an offsite location. You may really really really need not to lose your data in case there is damage to your home. There are services which let you copy your files and hold them offsite. Carbonite is one of the more popular services. If you’re an Optimum Online customer, they have a backup powered by Carbonite which allows you to store up to 2 gigabytes of data offsite.

Those are all nice solutions for safeguarding your data, but what about your programs?

  • Make sure you store your CDs in a safe place and keep the serial numbers handy. I have one of those audio CD library cases with my programs and I write and/or cut out the serial number from the box and keep it with the CD.
  • f you’ve downloaded the program from the Internet, keep the program files in a DOWNLOAD folder on your computer and back it up with your data files. Be sure to keep a copy of the serial number information handy, either in a document, address book or other location where you will remember you put it.
  • If you can’t even bear the thought of reloading all the software, there are programs which will save images of your hard drive which can then be restored to avoid such reinstalls. ACRONIS has a number of backup programs including one that creates a hard drive image. The cost? Only 39.99 right now.

I hope you found this Tuesday Tip helpful. As for me, the Dell decided to boot this morning, so I am busy making a full backup of data and an image backup just to be on the safe side!