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Is It Really That Important To Backup Your Data?

May 18, 2008
Our computers have become a necessary part of our lives. We use them for doing work, corresponding with friends and family and even for entertainment. Over time, most computer users create many file that are important documents which could cost both time and money if lost. Data backups are the best way to ensure you don't lose any of those files.

Many people think of backups as something large companies or computer geeks do. Or they might plan on doing it when the get the chance. Every one of those people has either already lost data due to some kind of problem with their system or they will one day. Every piece of computer equipment has a lifespan and is going to fail one day or another.

When that happens, you'll be faced with one of two things. On one hand, you'll have a backup of all your critical information and can restore it all back onto your repaired computer or a new replacement. On the other hand, you'll lose the financial information, music, digital photos and all the other important files on your computer.

There are, unfortunately, an infinite variety of ways to lose data. Besides hardware failure, computers can be destroyed in fires or floods. Hard drives can be damaged by power surges caused by lightning strikes or data lost by a child randomly hitting the keyboard. Viruses can infect systems and erase hard drives.

But there's only one way to get it back - by having it available to be restored.

What Should You Be Backing Up?

For the average user, it's usually not necessary to backup every file on the computer, which would require large storage space. But at bare minimum home users should backup personal files and irreplaceable software. Spreadsheets with financial records not easily available from other sources, legal documents, work-in-progress... the list is large.

But backups needn't be.

The easiest way to backup your files is to use the software that comes with most operating systems. Windows includes one, as does Mac OS X, Linux and others. These programs are usually pretty straightforward and it's just a matter of selecting the files and folders you want to save. Many of them can even be scheduled to run in the middle of the night or some other time you're not using your computer.

If you want something a little more powerful, there are a number of backup program you can purchase. These programs offer features such as only backing up files that have changed since the last backup, or those that have changed since a particular date.

Some types of data are a little more difficult to backup. Email is a good example. Some email programs don't actually store the messages on your computer - they're stored on the server instead. In these cases, you can usually export the messages into a file on your computer that can then be backed up.

Backups can be saved to almost any type of drive or media - writable CD's, DVD's, USB memory sticks or removable hard drives for example. If you're really stuck you might even be able to backup your files to a floppy disk. Word processing documents and spreadsheets don't take up very much space at all.

Daily backups are one more thing to do in a busy schedule. But the day you lose that file you need and can't restore, you're going to be a whole lot busier.
About the Author
Data backups are just one component of an effective computer security plan. Learn what else you need to know to protect yourself from other internet security problems at the Security Manor website. Visit http://www.securitymanor.com for more helpful tips and advice.
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