Though I do try to get these reminders out on Friday, they do sometimes slide for a few days while I try to find something both new and useful to say about making backups.
Backing up your files isn’t exciting, but it’s important. I got yet another reminder of that in yesterday’s paper, reading the story about the family that lost 8 houses in the Cedar Canyon fire.
One of them was writing a book. Her only copy was on the computer that there wasn’t time to save.
“Only copy” is a very risky proposition.
Some records are important, but you don’t need two copies of them: your bank can send you replacement statements, for instance. (Of course, they will charge you for it.)
With a lot of things, it’s good to have both a digital copy and a hard copy. I keep my bank statements and business receipts even though all the information is in Quicken. I’ve also scanned all the photos my grandmother gave me, and was able to pass the originals on to my aunt, on whom the role of family archivist has devolved. For those pictures to be completely destroyed, something would have to take out both our houses. (I have them both on my hard drive and on CD.)
And that’s the kind of backup you want to have for anything that’s really significant. Your hard drive might well survive even a severe earthquake, but it’s pretty unlikely that there’s going to be anything left if your machine gets caught in a fire. And a disaster on the scale of the fires that have swept Southern California could well destroy your regular backups.
So if you’re writing the Great American Novel, put a copy onto a CD and send it to friends or relatives out of state, even if it isn’t finished. And do the same with anything else you have that’s truly irreplaceable.
Until next week,