We've all experienced it,... our computer crashes and we spend days or even weeks trying to get our data back,..paying for specialists to evaluate and attempt to restore critical data. How much do you end up paying for those services? How much would you pay not to go through that again? To get back those lost emails, business documents that you spent hours preparing, or family photos for moments that will never take place again?
Backing up our computer is a critical routine task that we all too often fail to do. What if I told you it doesn't need to be painful? That it can be a matter of connecting an external hard drive to your computer once a week, or once a day if you're diligent?
Here's a process that has proven easy and a live saver for me...
Step 1 - Buy An External Hard Drive
All you need is a small portable hard drive with sufficient capacity. For most people, 250GB is more than you'll ever need. My favorite is the Iomega eGo, around $85 for 250GB.
Step 2 - Install EMC Retrospect
This software comes with the hard drive and will automate your backup procedure!
Step 3 - Perform a Full Backup
Go to the setup menu and perform a backup of your entire computer. Uncheck the option to back up online (near the end of the setup).
Step 4 - Set Up and Perform a Copy
Open the EMC Retrospect program again and click the Setup button.
Select COPY and go to the next step.
Select "Let me choose file types and folders" and click Next.
Check the boxes to the left of the desired folders. Be sure to select My Documents, yoru picture folders, your Outlook email file, your favorites file, etc.
Click Next and Next again.
Indicate the dates and times for automated backup and click Next.
Uncheck "Backup to the Internet..." and click Finish.
Click COPY NOW.
The program will create a copy of the folders you indicated and will obtain a new copy based on the schedule you entered,...you simply need to connect your hard drive to the computer for that to run!
Step 5 - Perform Regular Backups
Connect your hard drive to yoru computer on a regular basis to allow the backup to run. If it doesn't run automatically, you can start the EMC Retrospect software and click COPY NOW. Your settings will be saved so it will already know which folders and files to copy.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BACKUP AND A COPY? AND WHY DO YOU NEED TO DO BOTH?
A backup takes a snapshot of your computer. If your computer hard drive fails, it's meant to restore the programs and files that you had on it. However, you have to restore the entire backup to access any files on it. Performing a copy takes your files and stores them in an alternate location. You can open individual folders and files as needed. I have always found this to be helpful. Sometimes I need to access the backup of just a particular document and not my entire computer,...a copy gives me that flexibility. The backup process is also shorter since you are copying just files and not backing up programs, etc. on your entire computer (which can take a really long time).
Here's another thought,...
Imagine you and your spouse are going on a trip and both need your laptops for emergencies. Why travel with both laptops? One person can bring the copy of their files on the portable hard drive and have all of the information they need!
Spending a little money and a little time each week can save you a lot of headache and heartache!
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