Backing Up (Part 1)
(from the 10/06 issue of the CompuNerds Nerdsletter - sign up for it here)
Did you know that almost half of all people do not back up their important data regularly?
Think about your data for a moment: your music collection, your photos, your email, addresses and phone numbers, business contacts, taxes, bank records, love letters...the list goes on and on.
Now think about losing it all. The loss of your personal data can be devastating, and expensive. Often, the data is simply irreplaceable.
The solution is to “back up” your data regularly. Backing up means copying your information from where it is (on your computer) to someplace else. That way, should something bad happen to your computer (and sooner or later, every computer will break down), you will still have the data.
Why don’t we back up regularly? We often don’t know how to begin. Even when we do know how, like flossing, we don’t do it as regularly as we should.
There are a variety of methods for backing up, each with different pros and cons. When you consider the alternatives, ask yourself:
- What kind of information am I backing up?
- How much data do I need to back up?
Some other ways to look at this question: What’s most important to me? What can I not afford to lose? If you’re a writer, and the next Great American novel is on your laptop, then you better be backing that up frequently! It could be your bank records, or family photos or your mp3 music collection. There as many different types of data as there are different ways to use the computer.
Most people fall into one of two camps: those that want to back up EVERYTHING and those who prefer to protect just a few important files.
It used to be more practical to just back up a few important files because backup media (where you store the data) were very expensive for large amounts of storage. As storage prices continue to decrease, it has become more reasonable to simply back up everything. That way, if disaster strikes, we can load your data to a new hard drive or a new computer, and you’ll be ready to get back to work. This is sometimes called a mirror image back up, or a disaster back up.
Next article, we ’ll discuss external hard drives, and the nuts and bolts of backing up.