Before reading this article, give me the answer of one question: Would you prefer to drive car without seat belt and insurance? I hope answer is “NO”. Your life and livelihoods is more important than few bucks. But that is the kind of risk you are taking by not backing up your crucial data.
Data loss can happen in many ways, like power surges, a virus or even a thief could wipe out your data in a second. Among all, most common cause is physical failure of the media the data is stored on. You must be saving your data on your PC’s hard drive, and that hard drive will not live forever. Once the hard drive crashes, its very difficult and expensive to retrieve that data.
Nobody wants to loose few month’s worth of emails, important memories that are stored in computer, no body would like to loose those baby photographs or those poems that you have written in spare time or all the financial account data which you took so much pain to built.
If you don’t want to loose your data best and only one solution is Data backup.
Data backup involves storing of files from your computer in another location. In this way, if there is ever any loss of data on your primary machine, you still have your data in backup in order to restore those files.
In this digital world loss of data is a nightmare. Data recovery from a crashed system is very difficult, time consuming and expensive than restoring your files from backup.
Back up does not take much time, as it is easy to put your files onto another medium and is not too expensive; depending upon what medium you use to backup your data. There are many options for data backup, and you will have to choose the one that is best for you.
Even if you are backing up, you have to make sure you are doing it right, you should know the version of the software and the operating system you are using.
You can copy your files to:
A floppy disk
This is least recommended method; floppies fail rather quickly and are not reliable. Use them only for temporary storage or data transportation, if there is no other way. Capacity of floppies are also very less. For copying a single file floppies are okay, but for all your files you would require too many floppies and it will take too much time to back up all your data. If you have a very large file then copying it across several disks can be a problem. Now days many computers no longer come with floppy disk drives.
High-capacity removable media
CD or CDRW drive or Zip drive provide a great way to back up you files. They hold a large amount of data, for some users only one CD is require backing up whole data. Nowadays most computers come with CD/DVD burner and software. CDs can have files copied to them once and provide a permanent copy of your files. CDRWs (CD Rewritable) allow data to be erased and write again several times. “Zip” is high capacity removable media format that is similar to a floppy disk—except that once zip disk stores the equivalent of at least 70 floppy disks worth of data. Like floppies, you insert a zip disk into the zip drive and it becomes accessible to your computer, you may copy data to or from the disk as you do with a floppy.
A USB memory key/stick/ flash drive
These are compact memory drive that acts like a portable hard drive, letting you store and transport your most precious computer data. They hold incredibly large amounts of information and are small enough -- about the size of a pack of gum -- to slip easily into your pocket, conveniently around your neck like a necklace, or on your key chain. They come with their own software (included on the key/stick) that will allow you to password protect your files.
These should be used for temporary back up of data only.
Tape drive back up device
These have been around for a long time. Tape Drive Backups allow the user to backup their data and store it remotely. They are often used for "Disaster Recovery". They can be internal to the computer or external.
There are many other methods and software which are available in market for data back up. I have mentioned most common methods of data back up.
One more important question arises:
How often should you backup "my data"?
It depends on how important your data is, how much time you spent to create that data. In my views weekly backup is minimum. When you're working on projects that are especially important or time-consuming -- the next chapter of your book or dissertation, for example -- consider making a backup copy after each editing session.
For data back up you can use combination of methods. The best combination is what works optimally for you, giving you the most protection for least amount of time. All you need is a regularly scheduled routine that fits your work habits and that you can stick to. If some disaster occurs to your data, you will be glad you did backup.