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Welcome to Our Newsletter

There's to much information to fit into one newsletter. This is the first of a three part series on the same subject. The first in series is how and when to back-up your files. The second is back-up devices. And the third is how and what to do to restore your files.    Click Here

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Feature Article

Advice on backing up your computer files.

We regularly receive calls from panic stricken customers with computers that have suddenly crashed and fail to start up. Surprisingly, many have not backed up their data recently, and some, never at all. So we thought that you might find this month’s Newsletter interesting, and, hopefully, prevent you losing your data in the future.

Do you need to backup your data, and if so, what data should you back up? Modern hard drives are extremely reliable, but because of this fact, it's easy to be lulled into a false sense of security, and believe Hard Drive failures only affect other people. However, at some time, a Hard Drive will fail, usually with no warning. A famous quote says "there are only two types of hard drives - the ones that have failed and the ones that will fail."

To help you decide whether you need to backup your data, and what data you should back up, just imagine what would happen, if say, tomorrow, when you switch on your PC, Windows does not start up and your computer monitor displays an error message telling you that it cannot boot up from your hard drive. Is there anything on your hard drive that you cannot afford to lose? For example, family photos, Emails and Email contacts, your collection of music that you have spent months loading into iTunes, videos of holidays, or your business accounts. How about that family history you collected over the years and put into a database? Maybe you have a document for work, such as a presentation or a spreadsheet that you created at home and don't have a copy on your work PC? Think about that saved game of your favorite game where it took you weeks or months to get to that level etc.

Most of us would be painfully affected by one of the above scenarios. If you are one of us, then you do need to backup your data.

Generally Windows, and application programs, such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, cannot be backed up, however, their data files, such as Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations can be backed up.

On your main Hard Drive, usually Drive C:, the folder named "My documents" contains most of the User's data, including My Pictures, and My Music. If you have several User accounts, such as Mom & Dad, David, Mary and Roger, the Users data for all accounts will be found in the "Documents and Settings" folder on XP. For Vista or Windows 7, it will be “Users/profile name/Documents”.

However, some applications save their data in other folders. We suggest you prepare a list of the data you wish to backup and then find the location of each piece of data to ensure that you back up everything you need.

We also suggest that you calculate how much data you need to back up. This will help you decide which type of backup device is best for you. A general rule is to choose a device that can hold more than double the amount of data you need to backup.

How often should you backup your data? This depends upon how important the data is, and how often it is updated. If you only write a couple of letters a month, and you only upload photographs from your digital camera after you return from your annual holidays, then backing up your data once a month may be sufficient. However if you run your business accounts on your PC, and make invoices every day, then backing up your data once a day would be sensible. What is the best backup device for you? This depends upon the volume of data and the frequency that backups are required.

Next week: Back-up devices.

As always, if you need help with any computer issue or have a question about your computer, please call.



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