Not long ago the hard drive on my computer crashed. It was D-E-A-D. Being a technology type, I knew it was possible and truly only a matter of time. But, I had gone on my merry way living dangerously knowing that at any moment I could lose it all. It happens, I understand and truly, you should know, it’s not a matter of “if” that spinning disk will forever stop… it’s a matter of when. Hard drives are not meant to last forever and there are lots of reasons that they will crash, but understand that it will crash and any of the videos, photos, bookmarks and files will all go to technology heaven with it. So, let me encourage you to backup your files. It’s one of those things that everyone knows they should do, but life gets in the way and you forget or you remember and put it off. Today might be a good time to change your computing strategy. Here are some backup tips and strategies that just might help you when the unthinkable happens.
- Schedule your backup – Actually put a reoccurring reminder on your calendar to backup your computer. One Friday a month I get an email, text message and popup on my Google Calendar reminding me that it’s time to backup my work computer. If I ignore all three, it’s my own fault.
- Backup multiple places – Experts in the field of storage say that you should have three copies of your data, one on the computer, a backup on site and an offsite storage system as well. Here’s my methods.
- In the district we all have server space. I’ve found that I fill that up pretty quickly so, truly, I only use that for files that I might want to access on a different computer in the district. So that’s one place I put files.
- I also have an external hard drive that I hook up to my computer once a month and copy everything to. That’s great, but there’s still a hard drive inside there that, at some point will crash. But, it is an extra copy. A flash drive works as well.
- I also put many of my file in online storage services like Dropbox (which I’ve written about before), Box.net, Google Docs and Microsoft’s Skydrive. Each of these gives me various amounts of storage but it does allow me to keep multiple copies of my files.
- Remember that you don’t have to backup everything – Many programs create folders inside your My Documents folder to house settings and such. Backing up those files is not as important as your pictures and documents. These cannot be replaced. The program files can and will be when that software is reinstalled.
Regardless of how you do it, make backing up your files part of your computing routine. Remember, your hard drive will die someday, be sure you’re ready and create your own backup strategy.