Protecting your precious data: A few basic steps
Let’s face it, most of us have lost a file at some point that we really needed. The fact of it is, hard drives wear out or sometimes just die. People drop laptops, wash Flash drives with their jeans or simply loose memory chips from their cameras.
I can’t stop your drive from failing, you from dropping your laptop, washing a flash drive or losing a memory chip. But I can help you avoid being so deeply affected by these losses with a few data backup basics.
The First Rule, Back Up to a Different Device
The first rule of backing up data: Never, under any circumstances trust a backup that saves to the same device as the original. A good example, we used a fairly simple accounting program when this company first opened. We were small, didn’t do any ecommerce and didn’t have much in the way of business so that was fine. After the first week of using the software our automated reminder to backup the files popped up and reminded us to do our weekly backup. I clicked the button and looked at the backup screen, immediately I noticed that the backup was aimed at my C drive which is the same drive the original accounting file was on.
I imagine most people wouldn’t think much of this but if my hard drive were to fail and my backup is on the same drive this is completely useless to me.
Being a recovery company all our PC’s have at least two drives in them to allow disk to disk backup in case one ever failed so in our case this was OK but most PC’s only have one drive and that is a terrible way to backup.
Now try a quick exercise to see if you’re protected. Open (My) Computer, look at the hard drives listed. You likely have 2 letter there if you have a factory built brand name system. Many people see this and decide if my files are on the C drive then I will put my backups on the D drive.
Try another quick exercise to see if that would actually protect your files. Right click on (My) Computer then select Manage, if a Continue Cancel or Block/ Allow window comes up click Continue/Allow. When your management console opens select Disk Management on the left side and then go full screen. Look at the bottom section of the screen and find those two drive letters.
If you have two separate lines with drive letters, you have two drives, make sure anything you backup from Disc 0, C or D for most, backs up onto a drive letter on Disc 1 or higher, that way if disk 0 fails you can in theory simply replace it, reinstall windows and your programs then copy everything back to the new C drive for duplication.
If your computer has two drive letters but they are on one drive/line, then backing up between them is all but pointless. In that case you need to add a drive or begin using CD’s DVD’s or off site storage to ensure you have a proper backup. I’ll go into these forms of backups as I add more articles, check back frequently or send me a message if you’re looking for specific advice. I don’t get to answer all of the questions but I often see a glut of similar questions come in so I will address those most frequently asked questions first.