Thursday, March 31, 2016

Backup backup backup backup.....

A dear friend had a financial blow over the weekend. Her husband, a finish carpenter, had all his tools stolen from his vehicle. It seems some thieves -- who apparently had been watching for the opportunity -- backed into their driveway around 2:30 a.m., wrenched off the tailgate of the truck, emptied the contents within two minutes, and ran.

It's a shattering loss, financially as well as impacting his livelihood. Additionally, there are psychological ramifications -- besides the sense of violation, he had a certain emotional connection to the tools he had been collecting for over 25 years and which he used to provide for his family.

Anyway, yesterday this friend and I were chatting via instant message and we started speculating what things we would be devastated to lose to thieves or disasters. The first thing that popped into my head: my laptop.

The trouble with a laptop, you see, is all the valuable data that tends to accumulate on it. In my case, it's not just my writing; it's all the photos I take, all the articles I collect, all the links I record...

This is why I'm a huge huge HUGE advocate of backing up computers, something my dad always hammered into my head as critical. He's right, too, since backups have saved my fanny any number of times.

But a year ago I had to migrate to a new laptop, and for a variety of reasons never got around to backing it up. It came with a built-in backup program from Dell which wanted me to back my data up to the Cloud (NOT!!!!!), and knowing that my valuable data were vulnerable always nagged at me.

So, in light of my friend's reminder, yesterday Don installed a backup program to my computer and we did a full-scale backup to an external hard drive.

Then, as extra protection, I also backed up specific files (photos, my writing, etc.) to another external hard drive.

Also -- and I'll thank Granny Miller for this -- I backed up my blog (Granny lost her entire blog a few years ago, a devastating blow).

I can't begin to describe the feeling of security all this backing up data gave me, so I'm passing on the reminder to all you dear readers. Backing up files, photos, etc. is critical in today's high-tech world, where data loss can come from any number of directions.

Please, do it today!


  1. Wise move. My laptop recently crashed and I hadn't backed it up for over a month. It was surprising how much stuff I lost.

  2. Patrice, You might consider some EMP protection while you're at it. Unplug every cord you can, they act like antennas.

  3. Great reminder! Backing up to a removable media (flash drive, DVD etc. readable (and restorable) by any other computer without any special software) is vital.

    But don't forget Step 2: Think fire or theft! Store your backup in a safe place, outside of the building where your computer is. Storage (hidden if possible) in a vehicle parked outside is OK.
    Montana Guy

  4. One is none and two will do. I make a practise of sending my pictures to Wal-Mart via email and order prints ...real hard copies...that arrive by snail mail quickly after ordering.

  5. Like Montana Guy says, make sure you store at least one of your sets of copies outside of your home, however I would go further than what he says - store it with someone you trust who is NOT a direct neighbor, and preferably someone who lives in at least a different town so that a local disaster won't take that copy along with your primary backup - forest fires, tornadoes, torrential rains, and some other events could wipe out your property and neighbors.

  6. Ditto! Another major thing to consider is your WALLET. When I was a secretary years ago I would arrange travel for quite a few people. When they came to me to pick up their paper tickets and travel itineraries I would always stop at that point and say "Come with me now." We would then go to the closest copy machine and I would have them take their wallet out of their pocket (very few female execs then) and open it. After a few strange looks I would then tell them that I wanted them to photocopy EVERYTHING in their wallet, except the money. Every credit card, every business card, every stray piece of paper with a code or combination on it. You get the idea.... How bereft would you be right now if your purse/wallet were stolen? Have a look inside your precious daily cargo and take a tip from me. Most of the newer copiers that we have in our homes also scan, thereby saving paper. Remember to copy the front and back of each credit card. The card # is on the front, and the 800# is on the back so you can call them. You will all sleep better when you do this. 8-)

    God Bless,
    Janet in MA

  7. I had 42 years of genealogical research, including photos, backed up to an external hard drive, so that I wouldn't lose the info in case of bad weather. I printed a few books, over 700 pages each, for family members in other states, so I wouldn't lose all the data I had gathered. My problem is all the loose paperwork I have filed in steel file cabinets, much of which is one of a kind, original, data that is no longer available anywhere else. I can't afford a safe large enough to store it in, and I live in tornado alley. I'm very glad you and your husband took the TIME and made the huge EFFORT to save your data. Congratulations on a job well done.

  8. If you are storing to an external hard drive, make certain that hard drive is locked up safely somewhere. One final reminder- technologies change. We had migrated stuff from our 3.5" floppies to CD's years ago. CD drives are not standard on every new computer now. Make certain that as technologies change, you keep your technology up with the times. Nothing sucks more than losing a laptop and then realizing that the new laptop doesn't contain the ports that you need to access your previously stored information.

  9. Have your friend start watching Craigslist and ebay for his tools. I doubt most thieves keep the stuff they steal for personal use, they will try to off load it. Can't hurt to watch out for them.

    Redoubt Renee

    1. Pawnshops too. My brother-in-law had some tools stolen out of his truck and the police found them at a pawnshop.

  10. As the others have said, two copies (at least) with one off-site.
    I asked my homeowners insurance company if my music was covered and they said "no" only the computer is, none of the software is. I have roughly 6,000+ songs on my laptop. Just think of the time that would be needed to reload those that I still have on cd's. Then try to find and re-download the ones that have been purchased online.
    Backup, backup, backup.