Monday, June 21, 2010

June is Back Up Awareness Month

Since I no longer have three teen age boys to nag, perhaps I am giving in to my repressed parental urges this week. No, I won’t tell you to be sure to buckle your seat belt (but you should) and I will take out my own garbage. I won’t lecture you about clean underwear and my embarrassment if you get hit by a car. Even though I have written about this often, I am repeating my plea for you to back up your computer files.

June is “Back Up Awareness Month.” Perhaps a better moniker would be “Back Up Unawareness Month,” since according to studies in 2010 only about one in three individuals back up computer files at least once a month. In 2008 it was only one in four so the trend is going in the right direction. Nevertheless, two-thirds of us still don’t back up our files.

The old saw regarding data storage is worth repeating. “It is not a question if your hard drive will fail, it is only a question when.” The hard drive storage in any computer device, lap top, desk top, game system or Tivo, is the most failure prone component. The reason is that it is a mechanical device with moving parts and some very precise movements at that.

In the past, back up was a real pain and often expensive. That is no longer the case. There are several options, some of them very sophisticated, others quite simple.

One of the easiest solutions is to purchase an external hard drive that has automatic back up built in. These drives connect with your computer and every time you create a file a copy is stored both on the internal hard drive and the external drive. Since the likelihood of both drives failing at the same time is remote, this is a good choice. You can purchase one of these drives at any computer store or office goods store for about 100 bucks. Of course this does not help if your have a fire or flood at your house.

In previous columns I have talked about services that literally back up everything you do by connecting your computer via the Internet to a secure, redundant data storage site. Most of these services charge a fee for the service and your computer has to be online. The chief benefit of these services is that your data is always located at another location. So a fire or flood at your house does not wipe out your files.

If nothing else for important records like taxes, bank information or family pictures, make a copy on a CD or DVD. Be sure to store it either in a fire and water proof case or place it in an envelope and ask a friend or relative to keep it for you.

I know I am nagging. Just chalk it up to old age. Oh yes, one more thing. Be sure your socks don’t have holes in them!

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Anonymous Ricardo Ang II said...

There are some folks who after backing up their data, will erase some files from their computer...thus defeating the purpose of the initial backup.

I'd remind them that backup means having another copy of the SAME file(s).

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Jack Dominic said...

Very good point

8:17 AM  

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