All about Backups

Common wisdom holds that backing up files on personal and business computers is essential, yet this crucial task is often ignored. The only way to ensure timely and reliable backups is to devise a clear strategy and stick to it. We’ll help you consider all aspects of your backup strategy, so you can make informed decisions. But simplicity is our watchword, because you probably won’t back up if the process is too complex.

Why back up?

Like the manuscript for your great novel, some files are simply irreplaceable. Regular backups ensure you don’t lose such files. But most files could be recreated given an unlimited budget for time and effort. Consider just how much time, money, and effort it would take to recover a system whose files were destroyed by mechanical failure, a virus attack, or user error. Also consider how much money you would lose simply because of downtime. A major purpose of backing up is to avoid such expenses. This is important to remember, since a strategy that costs too much time or money to implement may be counterproductive.

What to back up.

In the dark ages of computing, a “large” hard drive held 10MB, and floppy disks were the only option for backup media. Then it made sense to back up only the most essential data files. But with today’s immense drives, reinstalling a modern operating system is quite a job, not to mention reinstalling and configuring dozens of applications. Even if you wanted to back up only data files, they may not all be in one handy location. Perhaps your computer is used only for Web research and e-mail. You’d still find it frustrating to lose all your bookmarks, cookies, settings, and e-mail addresses. Configuration settings for your applications are scattered in proprietary files, INI files, and the Registry. The simplest strategy is to back up everything, and simplicity is essential.

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