Everyone knows computer backups are important. A virus, hardware failure, even theft or a natural disaster can leave you scrambling to recover your files. Even if you use your personal computer to store photographs and your family’s annual holiday letter, losing those priceless memories can be devastating.
And yet, almost 90 percent of all home computer users fail to back up regularly, if ever. They save everything to their hard drive, never thinking about what would happen if that drive were to be damaged or lost. If they are lucky, they can retrieve their files using recovery software, but if the drive is lost or physically destroyed, even that won’t work.
For that reason, backing up data on a regular basis should be on any computer user’s to-do list. Don’t believe any of the following myths about backing up; it’s actually an easy and efficient process.
“Backups Take a Lot of Time.”
It’s true that backing up an entire network, with multiple computers linked to a central server, can take several hours. As you might expect, the more data to be transferred to a second drive, the longer the process takes. However, for the typical home computer, depending on how you’re backing up the data — for example, to an external drive or to a remote drive — the backup time is lower. The first time you back up your computer or if you choose to back up every file on the hard drive, it will probably take a few hours. On subsequent backups, you only need to save new data that’s been added to the drive since the last backup. This significantly reduces the amount of time it takes to perform the backup; in general, the “typical” home computer backup process to an external storage site take less than an hour — and will save you many hours of frustration and panic if something goes wrong later on.
“Backups Are Only Necessary Once or Twice a Year.”
Consider this: Do you only add new data to your computer once or twice a year? Probably not — so it’s important you perform a backup more than once or twice a year. In most cases, the average person can run a monthly backup; if you add a large number of documents or files to your machine, you may want to increase that frequency with a RAID 5 data recovery software. Some virus protection programs offer regular data backups you can schedule to your preferences. You can even subscribe to an online storage and backup service that will perform daily backups of your data for you.
“My Computer Is New and Won’t Crash.”
When you purchase a new computer, the honeymoon period can last for a few weeks or months. Because the machine is new, fast and powerful, you fall into a false sense of security. What could possibly go wrong? There’s no way your new machine could fail. But viruses don’t care how new or old your computer is, and clicking on an infected link could effectively destroy even a brand new machine. And things can go wrong with newer computers; a factory defect may cause a hardware failure that shreds your data before you even lose the “new computer smell.”
“I Don’t Have Much Data to Save”
Some people don’t perform backups because they don’t think they have anything important enough to back up. The world won’t end if they lose their NCAA bracket or the packing list for their last Caribbean cruise. But what about the pictures from that cruise? Or your entire holiday card mailing list? Or that novel you started you’re sure will be a bestseller if you finish it? No matter how unimportant you think your data is, there’s probably something on your machine that’s irreplaceable and will be devastating to lose. Worst case scenario is you save some data you don’t need or want, but you’ll have the stuff you do need.
“My Data Is Stored Off-Site.”
With the growing popularity of cloud storage providers, it’s easier than ever to store your data in a place other than your hard drive. It’s easy to upload documents and photos to online sites, and you may think storing your stuff there is the only backup you need. It certainly doesn’t hurt, but remember cloud providers have glitches, too. If you forget to save your stuff, you’ll be out of luck if something goes wrong.
As you can see, there’s no reason you shouldn’t perform regular backups to your personal computer. Should the unthinkable happen, you can retrieve your important files, and get back up and running quickly and easily.