Tips for Tuesday
We all hear about the importance of backing up computer files, but like other disasters, many think it will never happen to us. "My computer will never crash." "I will only replace it when I want to, not when I need to." Unfortunately, some of us learn the hard way.
I am happy to say, though, that when my laptop froze up last week, I wasn't worried. Not that I welcomed the expense and time it would take to replace it. But I knew all my files were safe with Carbonite.com, an online storage site.
Sure enough, when it came time to restore my 83,000 files, the only ones that didn't back up were the 300 that were directly related to a software program I no longer use. I am writing this blog from my new laptop—seamlessly.
So what are your options for backing up your files? First, there are online sites like Carbonite, that charge a monthly fee for backing up your files. The program works in the background while you are working with your documents. The first backup may take several days, depending on the number of files you have. And they do not back up program files. But you can always re-load programs with the CDs. Some companies include Carbonite, IDrive, MozyHome and Norton. Prices vary, and some are even free for low levels of storage. Files are available anywhere you have access to the internet.
Another option for backing up files is on an external hard drive. These are handy for portability. You can take them with you when you travel for work, for example. But they do not work in the background. You have to manually connect them to your computer and start the back-up process yourself. They do save you money in the long run, because you won't have a monthly or annual fee.
If you don't have a large amount of files to back up, a flash drive would work well for you. Like the hard drive, these are portable, but everything is manual, and they might not hold all your files.
If you use a hard drive or flash drive, back up your files every week or month on the same day. If there are important documents you don't want to lose between backups, email them to yourself. They will be stored on your mail server until the backup is run. It is also a good way to have a duplicate copy.
Finally, when using a hard drive or flash drive, create a second backup and give it to a family member or put it in a safe deposit box. This will guarantee its safety in the event of an emergency or disaster in your home.