One of our customers had a hard drive crash and had not backed up anything. Although we have a good record of data recovery on failed hard drives, sometimes the data is just not recoverable. That was the case here. He lost everything.
Another of our customers is a real estate agent. They share a group of computers. She had a bunch of important documents stored on one of these computers. Someone else in the office, apparantly with a grudge of some sort, deleted all of her data and emptied the recycle bin. We weren’t called in until a couple of days later to try and recover the data. We were able to recover some of it, but most of it was lost. Had we been called immediately, we could have recovered more. And, of course, she had no back up at all.
Whether you use a shared computer or your own computer, you should have some sort of backup of your important data.
There are many different types of backups and many different ways to back up. Our favorite type of backup is the image backup. This type of backup takes a complete snapshot of your computer. If your hard drive crashes, this picture can be put on a new hard drive and installed on your computer. Then the computer will boot up as if nothing bad ever happened. You don’t have to reinstall Windows or all of your programs. This type of backup needs to be saved to a second or external hard drive because it is big.
The other type of backup is a file backup. This type of backup backs up important files. If you have a hard drive crash, you have to install the new hard drive, reinstall Windows, and reinstall all of your programs, but your important data is safe.
There are many ways to create a file backup, both manual and automatic and many different types of media you can back up to. Everyone should be doing a file backup at the very least. Important data to back up includes e-mail, contacts, calendar, documents, spreadsheets, financial data (Quicken, Quickbooks, Peachtree, etc), photos, music, and much more. Any piece of information that you don’t want to lose.
This is a very large subject and I can’t visit every possibility in this article, but I wanted to mention a few important things.
The ultimate backup strategy is to have an image backup to a secondary drive (internal or external) coupled with a remote backup (back up over the internet). This is complete protection and provides the quickest way to get your computer back online when the hard drive dies. It is a total system backup locally, but still protects you with remote backup in case both your computer and the local backup are destroyed, in a house fire, for example.