Are Data Backups Really That Important?

By: Paul Wilcox

For many people, computers have become a daily necessity. We use them for work, for correspondence and for entertainment. Many of the files are important documents and losing them would cost us time and money. Backups are the best way to prevent their permanent loss.

Don't make the mistake of believing that backups are only for computer geeks or large corporations, or a task that can be performed 'when I get around to it'. On the contrary, backups are a necessity for everyone. Even if your computer has been running reliably for years, it will fail one day - either through virus attack, user error or just age.

When that failure occurs, one of two things will happen. If you have a backup, you'll restore it back onto your repaired computer or a replacement. If you don't, you'll be pulling your hair out over the lost files, music, digital photos and all the other stuff you store on your machine.

There are a number of things that can cause data loss. There's the obvious hardware failures, where something in the computer breaks down but there are also things such as floods, fires or even your dog bumping the power off button at the wrong moment. You could also be the victim of a virus or spyware that wipes out all your files.

Having that data stored in a backup is often the only way to get it back. And even if it can be recovered by a data recovery service, it can cost thousands of dollars for them to do the work.

What Do You Need To Backup?

Most people don't actually have to backup every single file on their computer. This can require a large amount of storage and can take a long time. The critical things to backup are all the files you have created and any software that cannot be replaced. Financial records, word processing documents, legal files - the list goes on and on.

But backups needn't be.

The easiest system for backing up your data is to just use the software that's included with most modern operating systems. Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux all include quite capable backup software. You just need to select the files and folders you want to backup and get it started. Many of these programs will even let you schedule the backup to run at a time you won't be using your computer.

For a modest sum backup software can be purchased that will only backup files changed since a certain date, or since the last backup. Alternatively, new files could be copied daily to a backup folder where they can be backed-up by your backup program. To ease the task of identifying which, use the Search option to list files 'newer than X'. Once the list is complete, copy them into the backup folder and run the program for just that folder.

Some files are a little tougher to backup, such as email. Some email software stores the messages on the server instead of on your computer. In those cases, you can usually save the messages into a file on your computer that can then be backed up.

You can backup your information to almost any kind of removable media - removable hard drives, writable CDs or DVDs or even the USB memory sticks that are so common these days. In a pinch you may even be able to fall back on the old floppy disk. Documents don't take a lot of space and often fit into a small storage area.

Daily backups are one more thing to do in a busy schedule. But the day you lose that file you need and can't restore, you're going to be a whole lot busier.

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Data backups are just one component of an thorough computer security plan. Learn what else you need to know to protect yourself from other internet security problems at the Security Manor website. Visit for more helpful information.

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