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    Before and After Plans for a Hard Drive Crash

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What If Your Hard Drive Crashed?

Its just a matter of time before you experience a hard drive problem. Are you prepared to loose your data? If your hard drive crashed right now do you have a backup plan or an action plan to follow?

Most people only think of backing up their data AFTER they experience a problem. Don't set yourself up for a data loss disaster. Have a 'BEFORE' Plan ready, too.

 Your 'Before' plan should be based on these basic considerations

                        How often you will back up your data
                       What data you will back up
                       What back up procedure you will use

Backup frequency is your personal choice

How often you back up your data can only be determined by how important you feel it is. Answer this question "If my hard drive crashed right now, I would be alright if I had the data from at least (time) ago".

Of course you would want everything but if you could have the data from 1 month, or 6 months ago would that be sufficient? Whatever time is sufficient mark it on your desk or wall calendar and set up a meeting date with yourself on your PC to remind you.

You change your smoke detector batteries when you turn your clock back and when you turn it ahead right? Well back up your data then, too.

If you don't change your clocks then pick some holidays or special dates that happen close to the time you want to back up your data so you won't forget.

Decide which files you can't do without

What data you back up depends on how you use your PC. Some of the key directories, if you are using Windows, are the My Documents, Favorites and Desktop directories.

How many people use your computer? If you have a different profile set up for each family member, for example, the three directories above can be different for each profile and each one would need to be backed up.

You will also want to include your email data. Don't forget to write down the email accounts you have. You should also write down any username and passwords so they are not lost. You should look at every directory to see if it has information that you would need.

Make a list of all the software programs you are using. If you have the physical CDs put them all together in a safe location.
If you are running software that you installed from downloaded files, burn them to a CD-R and add it to your collection. If you use a CD-R or DVD-R you can update it as you download and install new applications.

Don't forget the CDs for your peripherals like your scanner, digital camera, PDA etc… Collecting these CDs may remind you of additional data that you need to back up.

Do you have the right tools to Backup your vital Files?

What procedure you use to back up your data can be determined by the amount of data you want to back up. Your data might fit onto a CD or DVD in which case you just need to burn it and you're done.

If it spans multiple DVDs then you might want to consider getting a second hard drive to copy your data onto. If you are not comfortable with adding a second internal hard drive or you are using a laptop then you can purchase an external hard drive to back up your data.

The information you have on your hard drive could disappear in a flash. If you don't want to spend up to $3,000 to have a data recovery(*) company retrieve what information they can After your hard drive crashes, then take a few minutes right now and create your back up action plan.

If you ever have a data emergency, your action plan will be your insurance policy. If you adhere to it, your valuable data will adhere to you!

                                                                                       ... Richard Rossbauer
(*) Read More helpful tips about Data Recovery

Richard started his "Firewalls and Virus Protection" website and "Security Alert News Reporter" to help everyday Internet users navigate safely through the Cyber Space that has become a 'Cyber Jungle', loaded with ambushes and booby traps. He promotes his "Computer Security Awareness Campaign" thru his website at

Be sure you save program Serial Numbers and Passwords in a safe notebook or journal. NOT JUST IN YOUR COMPUTER HARD DRIVE.

Save you records in a saecure remote place

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