Byte Me Article 184 – Backup: PC disaster is inevitable

Backup: PC Disaster is Inevitable

Part 6 of 10 – Computer Ownership

This article is the sixth of our 10 part mini-series of self-help articles covering all facets of computer ownership.  This week we cover the topic – why backup & how?  Once again, if you are only going to use your new PC for browsing the Internet or playing games then most of this article can be skipped, however if you have important files or photos on your PC then the below information is worth a read.

We described in the last article how to name, arrange and store files on your PC.  This is a common activity and most PC’s end up with thousands of photos, lots of documents, some music, maybe some movies and even quite a few emails and contact details.  If the PC is used in a business situation then it may also contain important financial information and customer records.  This is great and so incredibly handy until disaster strikes – which is an inevitable event.

I say this because if you are using a PC for long enough you WILL have one of the following happen – a hard drive die, a windows system corruption, a bad virus, a bad thief, a flood, a fire or in the case of a laptop you may even lose or drop it.  It is only a matter of time and in many of the cases above you can wave goodbye to your data.  Enter – a backup system!

2014-07-26 Byte Me Article 184 - Why backup & how

Backing up your data is nothing more than keeping an up-to-date copy of all of your important files on a secondary device, so that you have two copies of your important files at all times.  This secondary device can be an external hard drive, USB memory stick, CD or DVD disks, a tape drive, another PC or even a third party backup provider (cloud backup).  Unfortunately the setup of a backup system and the retrieval of files if/when needed is not always so straight forward.

Many of the above backup devices such as the external hard drives come with ‘generic’ backup software however configuring this software can be a mine field and retrieving data even worse.  The reason being that all of these generic backup solutions don’t have any ‘intelligence’ and are therefore designed to make a copy of the entire PC – including all of the Windows files and software program files.  This initially takes hours and adds many complications when you need to retrieve files from the backup.

A better alternative is to use individually tailored backup software such as our own One Click KS Backup or if you have enough PC savvy then the Windows Backup which you have already paid for in the latest Microsoft operating systems is also good.  Either of these backup programs are well teamed with one of the many available external 2.5” backup drives which should then be kept hidden in a bedroom draw when not actually backing up to it.  For business use we suggest at least two of the above devices (kept in your car glove box) and taken into the office on alternate days.  For business use, this is a bare minimum and some businesses gladly pay several thousand dollars to have a backup system that offers multiple file restore points for every work day for the last month.

For any backup system to be of use it must satisfy several important criteria.  It must be a quick process that doesn’t require more than a few seconds of human intervention each time.  It must be simple for the user to initiate – such as only one double click of a single icon.  The user must be able to see or be notified that it completes each time & the retrieval of a single file or all of the data from the backup must be a simple process.

If all of your important files consist of just a few hundred photos then perhaps putting a copy of them onto a simple USB thumb drive is better than having no backup.  Also never fall into the trap of transferring all of your important files onto a single backup drive to save space on your PC as statistically a backup drive can fail more easily than the PC.  You need to always have two copies of your data on two separate devices at any one time – and that is what ‘file backup’ is all about!  Next week’s topic – how do I maintain my PC? 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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