Just as the government has learned to plan for the unthinkable – I oftentimes wonder how friends, family and acquaintances hold it with their preparedness plan. especially when it comes to data backup on their personal computers at home. My suspicion is that very few do backups.
It often starts along the lines of “my computer has been making these strange noises… sounds almost like it’s trying to take off. But now, well, it’s not starting up at all.” After a few minutes of back and forth, we arrive at the conclusion that the harddrive got fried. Ample amounts of hair stuck in the grid of the cooling fan, most likely causing overheating of the computer.
Invariably, the next issue is the fact that there is no backup of any of their documents or digital photos accumulated over the last years – in a particular case not just thousands, but over 20000 of them! As bad as I feel for their loss, I can’t help but think about the old adage: backups might be an annoyance, but they are a must.
In a recent PC Magazine article on Backup and You, Lance Ulanoff took on the part of Cassandra – the greek prophetess who proclaimed calamity. “It’s finally time for consumers to take system backup seriously. Backup has always been important, especially for businesses that store critical documents like contracts, manuscripts, and the like. But it’s really no less important for consumers, and a dynamic shift in the way people use computers is finally driving home the importance of data protection.”
- Computer hardware will fail, and sooner than other electronics. Ulanoff reminded computer users that “your PC is not like your TV. Because a PC has more moving parts and more complex components, it’s far more likely to suffer a breakdown.”
- Hard drives die.
- Backing up to the same drive data is on or even to a separate partition on the same drive is virtually worthless. “Although many large hard drives have separate C:, D:, and even E: partitions, a hardware failure puts all the partitions at risk.”
- Backup is not hard and there are good options. Ulanoff gives several options from software backup, separate physical locations to online options. I can only add another resource: free backup software from download.com, a trustworthy source of all kinds of free/shareware software.
Oh, and before I forget – remember to occasionally unclog your cooling fan’s grid!!