What would happen if you lost everything on your computer?
Most homes and small businesses never think of making a copy of their pictures, documents, music, spreadsheets, videos, e-mails and other documents and data that you accumulated over the years.
What would happen if you lost all of your wedding pictures, or that special occasion, or your children growing up?
A survey at colleges has told us that over 40% of the four year college students have a hard drive failure on their laptops within the four years. What would the student do if that happened? Would their assignments be on time? What would they do if they had to so a presentation the day after their computer stopped working? Would it affect their grades?
Most people have the attitude that losing their hard drive cannot happen to them. That is the wrong attitude. It should be – What precautions should I use to prepare for a computer failure that erases the hard drive.
There are a couple of ways to backup your data. Some common options are:
• Using a CD or DVD
• An external drive
• A second hard drive in your computer
• A flash, USB drive (sometimes called a thumb drive)
• Another computer in their house
• On-Line – I use Carbonite
The most reliable option above is online. CDs and DVDs can get scratches which makes the data unreadable. An external drive and a flash drive can be limited by their size as well as their failure as well. A second hard drive is a good option, but what happens if lightening strikes, or a power failure. Will the outage destroy both hard drives? Another computer is a good option if you have a network in the house and they are not near one another.
All of the above scenarios, except for online can be affected by viruses which has the potential of erasing all of your data.
I live in New Jersey and local town near me had a flood. Even though many of the options above were used, all of the equipment was on the same floor. Needless to say, many homes lost everything.
My objective is to help you feel less frustrated with your computer and give you peace of mind that you are protected and in good hands.
Here is an article that I wrote that was published in newspapers and newsletters:
Backup Utilities Prevent User’s Nightmare
Deadline: 1:00 p.m. Monday. It’s Monday morning and you’re using your PC to
place some finishing touches on your major presentation. Suddenly, the power goes off
in the building. It is restored a few seconds later. You hurriedly try to go back into your
hard drive but find you cannot access your files. You panic and scream, Oh. No! as
you realize that your hard drive has failed and your important documents are gone. And
as you sit, frozen in terror, you wonder, WHY DIDN’T I BACK UP MY HARD
Why Make Backups?
Usually, people donít regularly make backup copies of their PC files until they’ve had such a crisis and lost very important data. Information on a hard drive can disappear for a number of reasons:
- There is a power outage.
- You accidentally reformat the hard drive (deleting all your files).
- You accidentally erase a file on the hard drive.
- You accidentally overwrite the file on the hard drive with the same file name.
- The drive fails due to mechanical or electronic problems.
- Your PC receives a virus that eliminates data or renders the hard drive useless.
- You upgraded your PC without copying over the files.
It is important to back up your data so you will not lose all of your information if one of these incidents occurs. By backing up regularly, you will still have a copy of your data if a failure occurs.
Where are my documents stored?
Your documents, for the most part, are stored into a folder called My Documents. This folder is where Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access stores their data. Besides Microsoft Office data, there is other data that also need to be backed up that is located elsewhere in the hard drive. This includes Internet Explorer favorites and your personal setting within the applications you use. At home, you may also have data from financial applications, photo applications, etc.
How do I make backups?
First, one has to decide where they want to make backups to. There are a few options:
- A CD or DVD
- Another hard drive.
- A flash USB (thumb) drive.
- An external USB hard drive.
- To another PC, if it is on a network.
- An external drive connected to the Cable Modem/Router.
- Using the cloud like IDrive from Microsoft and Google Drive
- Buying a backup service on the Internet – I use Carbonite
One way to copy you’re my Documents folder is to click and drag it onto the flash drive or second hard drive. The problem one has is with the size of the My Documents folder. If, for example, the My Documents folder is 16Gb, and a CD is 720Mb, you would need multiple CD’s to do a backup of all of the documents. The system will
prompt you to insert another disk.
The best way to backup is using the program called backup. This program will look for all data files on your system and will copy it to any of the devices mentioned above. To access the program, click on the Start button, then select All Programs, then select Accessories, then System Tools, then Backup.
Just follow the wizard that appears and your data will be backed up. To restore a file that was backed up, just double click on the file that the backup software created and select restore. It will then prompt you on what files you need to restore.
Don’t have the attitude that it cannot happen to you. It is only a matter of time that you will need something important and it is not there. For example, your child’s research paper that is due tomorrow.
Carbonite takes all of the guesswork out of backups. It does the backups automatically.