Not fun but necessary

Dust accumulates in this corner about once a week. Maybe there is some kind of a vortex of air and dust particles that causes it to accumulate at an unnatural rate. In any case, I know that I must sweep it up or eventually there will be a dust pile that will take over the house.

Similarly, there are tasks we need to do regularly or we may pay the price. One price that might be huge relates to your data. When was the last time you backed up your data? If it wasn’t this week, think of the time you would lose if your hard drive crashed.

Solution? Easy. Buy an external hard drive.

Mac: Attach the drive and it will walk you through Time Machine, a built-in program. Apple has instructions here, if you need help.

Windows? Just about any external hard drive comes with a program to do automatic backups.

My recommendation is to leave the drive attached and let it do your backups regularly.

A word of caution: if you think your computer is too new to require this precaution, think again. My brother’s hard drive died last week after just 18 months.


5 Replies to “Not fun but necessary”

  1. What do you suggest for backing up beyond an external hard drive? My system right now is to back up to an external hard drive and also back up on CDs every now and then that I store outside our house. I’ve wondered if this is a clumsy method (the CD part).

  2. You can also backup online. I.e., you can store your backups “in the cloud,” or as we used to say long ago, “in cyberspace.” I have not done this because (a) what if the storage company goes under?, and (b) online stored data is available to hackers or whatever.

    I stopped backing up on CDs a few years ago when the amount of data to save became much more than a CD’s capacity. My external drive is 1 terabyte (or in honor of Earth Day, a “terra”-byte?). That’s 1,000 GB of storage. A typical CD holds only about 1 GB or less. Music files, videos, pictures, and other similar files are pretty large.

  3. I bought a 1T drive at Fry’s for $50. It came with a trial version of a program which I used until it expired the other day. Now I’ll use Windows Backup. I figure I’ll keep the hard drive in a drawer and connect it every few days, so if someone steals my laptop I’ll still have the hard drive.

    Dell keeps trying to sell me their online backup, but I don’t want to pay the subscription and I don’t want to tie up that much of my bandwidth moving vast amounts of data. Cloud storage makes me very nervous in any case; all my data stored with everyone else’s? A hacker’s paradise.

  4. Tim: that is a great deal. And keeping it separate from your computer is a good deal.

    Johanna & Bill: you are right – CDs are not the best these days. They are so slow & take up a lot of space (comparatively). Maybe one option for having a more secure setup is to have a 2nd hard drive & store it off-site somewhere.

    Whenever we leave for a weekend, I take my hard drives & hide them. And I have a separate hard drive that I do a redundant backup to, about once a month. (Even external drives fail!)

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