Lessons from the Shop: Backing Up for a Disaster by Stanley Leary

 by Stanley Leary



Source: iStockphoto
Tornadoes, computer crashes, lost luggage, burglars, floods — there are a lot of things that can make our important files and photos vanish. Plan a system for backing up important computer files.
If nothing else, a permanent backup of important files on CD/DVDs is better than nothing. It may be a more stable solution than a hard drive. And yes, hard drives can fail too.
Make two copies of these CD/DVDs backups and put them in different locations. Keep one backup for easy access if the computer should fails. Put another copy in a safety deposit box, at a friend’s house, or an offsite location.
Second, have an external hard drive for regular backups. Most external drives come with software designed to help you make automatic backups.
Use this external hard drive to mirror — completely duplicate — the computer’s hard drive. If the computer dies, one need only do a restore and everything will be put on the new hard drive or new computer.
Third, purchase another backup hard drive, labeled one A and the other B. Alternate backups between the two. I make sure these A and B drives are rotated, not just with the computer, but the location where they are kept (bank vault, neighbor, etc.)
Another option for backing up important photographs is to use an online backup service. To take advantage of this solution, a high-speed connection is needed. The first backup takes the longest, but once it’s done, only the changes made to the hard drive from the last backup are needed each time.
One may program the computer to do backups at night. It takes longer than backing up to a hard drive connected on a computer, but it is off-site. It’s one more place to keep important data.
The best advice for backups, have more than one safe place for important data, or you may never see it again.