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In today's digital era, where family photos and videos reside on the computer, or business contacts reside in outlook, we all need to have a backup plan. Hard drives do fail. In fact, it's not a matter of IF it will fail, but more a matter of WHEN it will fail.
In the past month, I've helped 4 people that have had their hard drives crash. In 3 of the 4 instances, they had backups done on at least weekly basis, and in the 4th case, well, he was just plain lucky. The 4th guy had not done any backups at all. He brought me his ailing computer, and I diagnosed a hard drive that was in the process of failing. I immediately started copying data off the drive to another computer. About an hour after I finished copying the data, the drive would not run anymore! Just plain lucky!
What happens if there is no backup and the drive fails? Well, you have 2 choices. The first choice is to face the fact you lost all the data, and get on with life. The second choice is to send the drive out to a data recovery place such as DriveSavers or Ontrack. Just know that these companies charge something like $1000 to recover data.
So, what should a backup plan look like? Or how can I execute a backup? First, commit to backing up data at least weekly. I backup my data about every other day, sometimes every day. It only takes a minute or two. The other factor is where to store the backup. In the case of family photos, I have a backup at home, and a backup at work. That way the data is duplicated in case of a fire in either location.
I would suggest backing up data to an external 500GB USB hard drive. It is very fast and under $100 (as of may 2009). Backups to an external drive take only a minute or two. Cheap insurance.
Backup Software - Should I use the software that came with the backup drive? maybe, maybe not. I would recommend using Syncback software (it's FREE). This program copies data file by file to the backup drive. That way, if something happens, you can connect the backup drive to any other computer and access the data. If you use Retrospect or similar software, they compress the data into one large file on the backup drive. If anything happens, you need to install the software on another computer to read the backup data. This is not as easy as just simply copying the files you need off the drive.
What happens if there is a fire? There is this new cool drive, IOSafe, that can probably survive a typical house fire. Take a look at this video Here
This company sells a 500GB drive for $150 (as of may 2009). That's not much more than the standard backup drive I mentioned above. If I were buying a drive right now, this is the drive that I would buy.
Bottom line, I would recommend backing up data every day to an external USB hard drive using a program such as Syncback (free). Then store the backup off-site. Or backup to the IOSafe drive daily.
FOLLOWUP: There has been a number of good comments / discussion on this topic. I just wanted to add some more information regarding 2 things.
1. Web backup. This is surely the easiest solution. However, make sure that you are backing up the right stuff. One person in our office was using a web-backup solution, but didn't point it to the correct directory on her hard drive. When her machine crashed, she checked her online backup and was only able to recover "My Documents" which of course, does not contain Outlook or Outlook express files unless you take steps to fix Microsoft's idiosyncrasies.
2. Make sure you know where your data is. I have ALL my data under My Documents, including Outlook or Outlook Express. I have manually copied the outlook files to My Documents/Outlook and then told Outlook to use that directory as the place to store its data. This means that when I backup "My Documents" I backup everything. For those of you on Agent Office or Agent 2000, you can use the Agent Office Utility to move the data to "My Documents/Agent Office" or something like that.
Otherwise, if you don't know where your data is, any backup solution won't either!
Roland Woodworth is a member of NAR's Short Sales & Foreclosure Resource
Roland Woodworth, REALTOR ® Exit Realty Clarksville
Clarksville TN Homes For Sale, Clarksville TN - Roland Woodworth, REALTOR
I specialize in helping families relocate to and from the Clarksville, TN and Oak Grove, KY - Fort Campbell, KY and the surrounding areas. I have the tools to market your Home For Sale including New Construction, Short Sales, Foreclosures, Distressed Properties. I'm a US Army Verteran still serving the Clarksville, TN amd Ft Campbell, KY area. Looking to sell your home,give me a call at 931-320-9411
TN Lic # 273649 - KY Lic # 57120
Keller Williams Realty
2271 Wilma Rudolph Blvd. Clarksville, TN 37040
Each Keller Williams Office is Independently Owned & Operated
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.