Dwight Watt - Newspaper Article #226 11/13/2013

Question: How can I backup my files?


Backing up or making a copy of your files is important. What you use for backing them up and where you store them is important.

We need to keep additional copies of our data files that we do not want to lose. Machines fail, electricity surges, places burn down and viruses wipe out storage devices. All these and others will destroy our files.

There are a number of ways to backup your files. The files you need to back up are the ones you cannot replace and need. For instance I back up my pictures, web pages I manage, documents I write like these articles, the audio recordings of me teaching and preaching. You can back up to external drives, the cloud, DVDs, usb thumb drives etc. Tape and diskettes are usually no longer used.

You can run the backup program that Windows supplies or a third party utility to backup. However if you use these you will need to use the same program to restore your data so make sure you have access to the program on another machine.. The way I backup my files is using copy in Windows and I copy the folders with the files I want protected to an external hard drive, Now they are located on the internal hard drive and the external hard drive both in same format and folders so easy to copy back if need to.. I do that once a week. You can just copy to other locations also like DVDs, thumb drives, etc. Just make sure there is room on the device for your files. There are programs out there that let you copy a collection larger than a DVD drive to a group of DVD drives and will prompt you to change the DVDs, You can also copy files to the cloud using Amazon’s cloud, Microsoft’s cloud (called skydrive), Google’s cloud and other places. Just make sure the cloud provider will stay around. For instance most of my pictures are stored at Shutterfly and some at Flicker and another place. My sermons are at sermon.net

How often should you backup? You need to backup files whenever the loss of information since the last back up is more than you want to lose. I backup my home machine each Thursday and Sunday nights as I do not want to lose more than about 3 days stuff at most.

Where should you store the backup? If it is not on the cloud I suggest you keep your back up in a separate building. This might be a shed/storage building at home or at your office. One of my backups is at my Swainsboro house and another in Lafayette and usually I keep one in the car trunk. They are all external hard drives 1 terabyte or bigger.

You also need to keep the original CDs for programs so you can reinstall. If it was a program you downloaded then you need to put that downloaded program on a storage device that is a backup. Also keep the software keys to your programs somewhere. If you have installed programs but forgot keys there is a great program that will find them all and put in one report you can then keep with your backups. It is Belarc Advisor. It is free at www.belarc.com

Hopefully you never need the backup, but that is like the ambulance and fire truck, We want them near but hope we never need.