“…backing up is hard to do”, is my word play on the 1962 pop hit by Neil Sedaka “Breaking Up is Hard to Do”. Later generations remember it as a Carpenter’s hit. The song and the need for backups have been around as long as we’ve used electronic media. Actually the process of backing up is not that hard to do; it’s getting started and actually doing it that’s hard.
The reason I bring it up now is that another one of my clients got stung last week with the ugly reality of a PC not backed up when failure came. Here are some actual quotes from previous clients who have been bitten with the dead computer bug:” You mean all my grandchildren’s pictures are gone?”, “What about my tax records for the last five years and my Quicken files?”, “You can save my music collection, right?” and “my whole family genealogy is not lost, is it?”
You may not even realize what treasures you have stored on your PC and how hard they would be to replicate from scratch. Give it some thought as a New Year goal. What files are important to you and would be difficult or even impossible to reproduce? Lists, recipes, pictures, financials, address books and even Favorites and Bookmarks can be sorely missed when they are truly gone.
First decide what you want to back up and then choose a method and the proper media for your needs. Begin with your documents. Do you know where they are? Are they spread all over your hard drive or are they neatly organized in one place like your “My Documents” folder? What about your pictures? Are they safely tucked into folders in your “My Pictures” folder? Your personal pictures capture moments that cannot be duplicated and could be your number one backup priority.
What about your email and your contacts list or address book? Where is it and is it important to you? If you have 25 names in your contacts list, it is not hard to replace; but what if you have hundreds or thousands? If you use webmail, your emails and address book are stored on some else’s server, but if you use POP mail (like Outlook Express for example) these files are on your PC and may need backups.
Once you’ve made your list of desired backups, decide what medium you want to use for the backups. You need something that can be separated from your PC; you don’t want a lightning event to toast your PC and your backups at the same time. You can use CD or DVD disks depending on how big your files are and what kind of burning (copying) software you have. It is also easy (and cheap now) to use portable flash drives. These type storage discs have the advantage that you can copy over them readily for subsequent backups. Whichever you use, remove them from your PC and store them in a separate place.
When it comes to backups, adopt the Nike motto, “Just Do It”! Till next week, send your questions to:firstname.lastname@example.org