Today is World Backup Day

Today is the second annual world backup day.  It’s a reminder of the importance of backing up the data on your computer.

It’s easy to forget that computers don’t last forever.  They’re electrical and mechanical devices that fail.  Sometimes they provide warning, a noise coming from your hard drive or computer case, but sometimes they just stop working.  If you have a computer savvy friend or take it to a repair shop, sometimes they can resurrect you information, but if not then it’s lost.  The most common component to fail in a computer is the one that holds all the data you’ve stored on it, your hard drive.  If the hard drive fails, getting the data back can be expensive or time consuming.

Think about what’s on your computer right now and nowhere else.  Are there photos?  Financial data?  The only copy of your Master’s thesis?  If your hard drive failed or someone stole your laptop and you never recovered it, what on there could you never replace?

My system is complicated, but leaves me feeling quite secure on my data.  Most of my data, including my photos, is stored on a server that spreads it across multiple disks to ensure a single failed drive doesn’t destroy my data.  My Windows computers all back up nightly to that same server.  My MacBook backs up using the built in time machine to an external hard drive that’s encrypted.  The server backs up all the data automatically to a cloud storage service and to an external hard drive on a regular basis.  All the other computers also back up to a cloud storage service to also backup any critical data stored locally.  A good backup system should protect again something happening to your computer and something happening to the place you keep your computer.

If you’re not backing up now, start.  Use a cloud backup service such as Carbonite (my favorite for just one computer) or Crashplan (my currently used and suggested for those with multiple computers).  Or buy an external hard drive and use Time Machine (for Macs) or Windows Backup (for Windows) and back up to it.  If nothing else, just take the important files on your computer and copy them over to an external drive.

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