Personal data is irreplaceable

Preventative backup?

On a hard drive failure you can always reinstall your operating system and software, but not your personal data. 

I get asked this question repeatedly: What is the best way to backup my data so I don’t lose it?

This is an excellent question that has no one specific answer. Why?

Hardware will fail eventually. By accident; unpurpose (yea old cat is bored and takes a swipe at it) and possibly gremlins. The external hard drive is sitting on the shelf collecting dust. Go to use it and no go.

The Cloud? Anyone have an Apple product? Store your data on the cloud? Update your device then go to download from the cloud and nothing is there? Apple cannot help? Nothing against Apple. This is just an example.

Forgot your password to whatever cloud platform you’re using?

Ok I am sure everyone sees where I am going. So what can we do to prevent losing our data? Well backup twice if you feel your data is crucial. Losing a small portion of your personal data is better than losing it all. It really comes down to due diligence. You have to have discipline yourself on doing/checking your backups on a regular basis.

Auotmated backups? This form of “set it and forget it” backup tends to get hit by those gremlins. Personally I believe the gremlins are power outages; power spikes; brownouts. And the one thing you can be gauranteed of is bad sectors on your media as a result. Soft or hard booting your system when frozen can also lead to these bad sectors, but what can you do? Not much really. Sure a UPS will work, but then you have be diligent with monitoring the UPS for issues. At least now some UPS systems will provide some form of warning.

Should you choose USB flash drives use two. Save twice. Students take note! Keep each device in different pockets of your knapsack and if you use external hard drives PLEASE do not leave the cable plugged in. datapros sees a high number of damaged external hard drives due to bending of the plugged in cable within the knapsack. Limited time and high stress. Been there when I got my degree, but to prevent a nervous breakdown 1) Eject the device through your OS 2) Unplug the cable from the external hard drive.

Did I answer the question? Yes and no. Backup takes little work. It’s the self discipline that takes a great deal of work. Look at self discipline as a form of ensuring that you are checking your backed up data and remebering your password from repetitive use. Double backup. That’s my best advice.

If all else fails there is data recovery. It’s not inexpensive, but it is an option.

Until next time on Data Buzz