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Backing Up Your Computer Data

  Nearly everyone knows of or has heard about someone whose computer crashed. It's a frightening and frustrating experience. The loss is usually very personal - family pictures, financial files, email records, dozens of programs, and more.

That person probably thought that it couldn’t or wouldn't happen to them until it did.

Computer crashes for businesses can be even more devastating. Many times smaller businesses rely on just a few computers, each possibly dedicated to specific tasks. Crashes could involve losses of customer lists, sales records, inventory data, product data bases, even personal records of employees.

Recovery from losses such as these can be accomplished if backup policies are established and followed. Technology today makes backup relatively easy. Sometimes so easy that there's little or no excuse for not being proactive.

A computer’s hard drive can crash for any number of reasons. The issue is to be prepared if and when it happens.

It is not hard to put a backup system in place. When you buy most laptops these days, they come with free backup for one or two years. Every file is stored elsewhere for easy retrieval should you lose it. There are two ways of backing up computer files: online or software programs.

Backup Software Programs

Barracuda, symantec, and Norton are popular programs for installation on a home or desktop business computer. You can back up your entire hard drive or specific folders with this type of software. And you can schedule regular backups just like any other maintenance operation to protect your computer. The software installations are usually intuitive and easy to follow.

You can also use these software programs to backup your files to an external hard drive.

There is another alternative - backup off site to an online service.

Online Backup Programs

With an online backup, your data is uploaded to a secure server online. There are both free and paid services. Depending on the amount of data you are backing up, the free plan may work fine for you.

For a business, the paid service offers unlimited data backup for a low monthly fee and is probably a better option for the home computer user who has accumulated a lot of files.

At the time this article was prepared, examples of online backup programs with approximate costs included:

     • Mozy – free up to 2GB; $4.95 per month for unlimited data
     • Carbonite – yearly subscription of $49.95 for unlimited data
     • SOS Online Backup - $39.95 per year but not for home use
     • Fabric Ultimate Backup Home - free up to 2GB then $5/month unlimited data

Each program offers something a little different. The advantage of an online backup over more traditional programs is the theft-proof aspect. In cyberspace, your files can’t be stolen.

Another major benefit is that with Carbonite, for example, your files are being backed up nearly as fast as you create or update them, as long as you are online. Not only that, each folder or file icon on your desktop has a little round button attached to it that shows orange before backup and green when it has been saved to your online account.

Use online or software options for backing up vital information on your computer!
It gives you peace of mind in the event of a system crash.

                                                                          ... Richard Rossbauerer
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