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I do now, are you doing it?

I was reading at Canadian Retail Solutions press release about backing up data.

They say “…CRS is committed to spreading the word about the importance of data backups, through education….[they] will be releasing a series of articles ….communicating the importance of data protection… options for data backup, and how to prevent the need to ever use your backup….”

Most of us depend completely on our computers and have usually fine tuned our machine to a point where, well its just easy to use. Generally people do back some stuff up when the occasion arises – like you might on reading this article. But few of us regularly back up our systems so that we would just have to buy a new machine and copy back the restored data.

I was talking to a colleague who had all his data on one machine, with no back ups. One day his accountant, paid by the hour, was at his machine copying some data but managed to delete everything. He then paid his accountant 20 hours worth of time to input the data again to get back to where he was. Another friend had a son who was at the deadline to hand in his dissertation for university, only he when he switched on the computer the disk was ‘fried’.

We all know more than one horror story regarding backups, so why are we so sure it won’t happen to us? – you might want to comment on that!.

I now do and have developed a routine which has worked in real life. Let me briefly tell you our backup strategy – it may work for you too. I use Linux and Windows and it has worked on both.

  • Download Clonezilla and burn the iso file to make a bootable CD/DVD.
  • Buy a big (750-1000G) external USB drive and plug it in.
  • Boot into bootable Clonezilla (you may need to alter the boot sequence in your BIOS and if you don’t know what I mean by that then get help before going further).
  • Clone your existing set up to the USB drive, (do this once a month if you change your settings regularly).
  • From now on save everything to one area (‘My Documents” / ‘Home’ / whatever. Now comes the essential bit.
  • At the end of each week copy that location where you save stuff to, or any other important areas to the USB drive. (Even better automate it if you know how.)
  • Take the USB drive home till the end of next week. (It won’t do you much good if its at work and the office burns down!)

Now if your system dies you just buy a new computer boot into the Clonezilla drive and restore the old computer settings to the new one, copy back your regular backups folder and away you go!

The hardest bit of all this is getting around to it. But in the long run you will be soooo glad you did.

So what do you think to that for a plan?

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