The trouble with being advised to run a backup is that it sounds like a technical, complicated process and there are many sophisticated programs out there that will do the job for you, but in the end a backup is just a copy of your files stored somewhere safe.
Back in the day, when I worked in an office, I remember having to go to the Computer Room, taking out the previous day’s backup, putting it somewhere safe and then inserting a new drive for the next run. I didn’t have any idea how to actually configure the settings or how to check it was even running correctly, it all seemed far too technical. Nothing was explained to me, I just knew it was extremely important.
This is of course essential for businesses, but what about home-users?
One of my clients contacted me recently with an external hard-drive that contained the master copy of some very important files. The hard-drive had been dropped and subsequently although it started up, the contents could not be read. In this case the drive had to have a specialist recovery repair – an expensive process and not something to be attempted in a normal environment. Thankfully the files were retrieved.
This is a real story and it’s not the first time I’ve been contacted by a worried client who has been unable to get to some important documents.
In most cases the fix is easy and everyone breathes a big sigh of relief, but how would you feel if your laptop didn’t start one morning and all your precious photos from years gone by were saved on there? Or you’ve been working on a dissertation for university and your files were corrupted?
The best protection
I advise everyone I visit to make a regular copy of files, documents, photos – anything irreplaceable – to another device, and by that I mean a USB memory stick (flash drive), an external hard drive, or burnt to a CD or DVD. Photos from the SD card used in a camera could be copied to your pc and then the SD card itself kept somewhere safe when full.
This is by far the best protection you can ever have.
You may also find my article What is the cloud interesting, if you are thinking of backing your files up to the cloud.