The Discipline of Backing Up
Strategies For The Single Computer User
By Melvin Ah Ching, Published in Small Business News, December 1995.
Many years ago while working on a dedicated, computerized typesetting system, I had the unfortunate experience of losing a very long document. I spent most of a good morning manually inputting all the text word for word, line by line into this document. I was happily on my way to near completion of the job when a sudden power failure knocked the computer out. Poof! In less than a second my long document was gone! I had not saved any of it while it was being typed, nor was there a back-up copy of it on another disc. As great as computers are, you can never totally trust them. Sooner or later something is bound to go wrong, and if your data is not backed-up, vital information and money could be lost! Backing up your data does not have to cost you money. It is more of a discipline. You can take simple but effective steps in data back-up. Here are a few that I follow. * Upon creating a new document or job, save the file to disc before you begin working on it. * While working on your job, do intermittent saves. This is the so-called “save-as-you-go” rule. It is a very simple rule to follow. All you have to do is press SAVE from within your application software every so many minutes as you input your job. After a while of doing this, you get into the habit and it gradually becomes a natural thing to do. * When you are finished with a significant part or the entire document, save it to your main hard drive and make another copy and save it to another drive or removable media. If you think the file is very important, go ahead and make several copies of it for storage on other devices and media. This insures that should your data storage device fail, you will still have a copy of the data somewhere else. * Back-up your files at the end of the day. Very simple. Just copy whatever you worked on for that day to another media storage device. This insures that what you worked on today will be the latest copy of the job when work continues tomorrow. * Back-up your application discs. Use only working copies of your application software on your hard drive. Of course you should read the software user agreements to see what your legal rights are in keeping a backup copy of the software. It is also recommended that you send in the registration card for your software in case your back-ups and master discs fail. Most companies will replace them as long as you are the registered user. * Offsite storage: A place away from your computer, preferably away from the place where you work may be an option to consider. Finally for those who cannot follow these simple guidelines, there is computer software available that prompt you to back-up files or provide the ability to do automatic back-ups. Investing in such a package may be the route to go.