It is important any computer user to remember to always back up their data. Although technology is continuously improving, hard drives still fail and data is still lost. Hard drives are an amazing piece of mechanical engineering. They operate at high speeds spinning at around 7200 rpm. Although they have been engineered to withstand considerable levels of jarring and vibration, problems can still occur that result in irreparable damage to the drive.
Because of the nature of all storage devices, you should back up any important data you may have. There are many ways you can unintentionally lose information on a computer. A power surge, lightning, fire, equipment failure and malicious or innocent tampering with your computer can all cause data loss.
If you regularly make data backups copies of your files and keep them in a separate place, you can easily get at least of your information back in the event something happens to the originals on your computer.
Deciding what to back up is highly personal. Anything you cannot replace easily should be at the top of your list. Before you get started, make a checklist of files to back up. This will help you determine what to back up, and also give you a reference list in the event you need to retrieve a backed-up file.
Things to back up include the following:
- Digital photos
- Personal documents
- School or work projects
- Music collection
- Address book
- Email archive
- Downloaded software
There are many ways to back up your personal computer. The cheapest is often just to purchase a CD or DVD burner and a collection of blank disks. Another way, which can add another level of security to your data, is to purchase storage space on an offsite server, and update your files there on a regular basis.
You can individually select the files you want to back up each time, or you can use a back up utility. There are several programs out there that are suitable for regularly copying the essential portions of your hard drive. Windows XP includes its own Backup Wizard. It comes preinstalled on Windows XP Professional, but you will have to install it yourself of the Home edition. Once it is installed, you can find it by going to the system tools folder in the start menu.
Backing up your data regularly can prevent the need of a difficult data recovery process in the event of a system failure. When you consider the time and the effort you have spent acquiring or producing the data and programs on your computer, it makes sense to spend just a little bit of time each week ensuring that you do not lose it.