No one thinks it will happen to them – a complete computer crash. In fact, knock on wood, it has never happened to me…yet. But someday, it probably will. Years ago I started backing up my computers once a week, so if it did happen the most I could lose would be a single week’s worth of data. In the grand scheme of things, that wouldn’t be so bad. However, my mom had not been backing up her computer for the last 2 years…and it died on her. Everything she had on there, from family pictures to stories she was writing, were lost forever. She took it somewhere to see if they could recover anything, but it was a total loss. And it could have all been saved if she had only followed my instructions to back her stuff up often! There really isn’t any excuse anymore to not back up your computer, as external hard drives were way more expensive a few years ago but now a tiny, portable 320 GB drive is only about $79.95. 320 GB should be large enough for 99% of people, as it’s plenty for me and I have hours of video footage stored on my computer, which take up a ton of space.
I use a backup program that checks everything on the external drive against what is on the computer, and only updates the files that have changed. It normally takes about 15 minutes for it to run every Tuesday, and then I unplug the drive and store it in a drawer. I did try several of those off-site backup companies, but with the amount of data I have it was taking 12 hours to send a backup every week – not a very effective use of time. And while I could still lose my data if my house burned down, well, that would probably be the least of my problems at that point!
Anyway, after my mom lost everything on her computer, I have made it my priority to tell everyone I know to do backups and do them regularly. She was devastated at the loss, and hopefully people can learn from her mistake. It can happen at any time and without warning, so make sure you invest a little bit of cash in making sure your data is backed up and safe. I cannot recommend it enough!
Have you ever had a data loss because you didn’t back up? What kind of system do you use now? Let us know so we can all learn!