Last week one of my clients suggested that I send around a weekly backup reminder to everyone I worked with. This is it. If you don’t want to receive it again next week, just send me a message asking me to take you off the list.
With viruses proliferating and hard drives crashing left and right, it’s more important than ever to make regular backups.
The truth is, however, that most of us don’t, even when we know better. Except for my Quicken data, which is automatically backed up every third use, I tend to make backups when I think of it—which might be once a month if I’m lucky. So this reminder is as much for me as for you.
It’s possible to back up your entire system so that you can quickly restore everything as it was—programs and all–after a serious drive failure. To do this you need drive imaging software and a second hard drive, network drive, or DVD-writer. This will cost a minimum of $300—but it could save you several days, or more, of reinstallation, so it’s a good option if you are in a position to invest in it, especially if lost time=lost money.
But don’t let not having an external hard drive stop you from making backups!
Programs and operating systems can be reinstalled from their original CDs. This takes time, often many hours, but the programs will be as good as new. If you have the installation disks, you don’t absolutely have to back up your software.
The really critical thing to back up is your data. ‘Data’ includes everything from your e-mail (especially if you use it for business) to your word-processing documents to your Quicken data to your contacts to music files and pictures, especially if you created them yourself. Some of them might be impossible to re-create.
If your computer crashes a lot, you might want to back up documents every time you change them. Otherwise, once a week is probably often enough. (I’m certainly not going to nag you more often than that.) You can set some programs to back up data automatically every X number of days or uses.
You can back up your data on almost any kind of medium: diskette, ZIP or JAZ drive, CD, DVD, web or network drive—whatever your computer has the capacity for. Rewritable media is better for files which change often, whereas CDs are good for anything final and for archiving. But any backup at all is better than none!
Thanks for reading this message. Now that you’ve gone through it once, you won’t have to read it again, even if I send it every week.
And if you want help making the backups, just ask me!