2010.1 November - Oh My God! Can You Recover My ....?

This is the most disheartening type of call we get, because in most cases the answer is No.

With increases in the storage capacity of the devices used today, losses of data are becoming tragic. And the real tragedy is that this sort of disaster is completely preventable.

You should ask yourself:

What happens if I lose my hard drive or my computer?
Most people operate with a single machine, and keep all their information on the hard drive. Hard drives fail, and computers get stolen. Are you willing to lose everything if this happens to you?

Can I use an external back-up drive?
Most external backup drives today have capacities which far exceed the capacity of your computer's hard drive. Many have fallen into the habit of keeping their information on the backup drive to free space on their computer. If all of your music, videos, photos, games, etc are on your external drive, where is your backup?

Is the data on my USB Memory Stick (SD card, Compact Flash Card) secure?
No. This type of memory degrades over time, particularly if the information is erased and written over many times.

Are you safe from disaster? You should follow one simple rule: No matter what, I have another copy of everything.

To protect yourself, develop a plan to maintain multiple copies of all of your information. A single backup copy is not sufficient, because if you lose your original, you now only have one copy.

For complete protection, follow these simple rules:

  1. Keep everything you are currently working on on the hard drive of your computer. If you wish to make copies on a thumb drive, do so, but the original should be on the hard drive.
  2. Copy your hard drive to an external hard drive daily. Start the copy as you leave the office for work, or when you go to bed for the night at home. You will need two external hard drives.
  3. Once a week, you take the external drive you have been using to another physical location, where you have been keeping the second drive. Bring the other drive back, and use it for the next week. This way you retain a remote backup which is never more than one week out of date.

Should disaster strike, protect your backups until you have restored your computer. If one of your backup drives fails, replace it immediately. Yes there are more stringent and complex methods to prevent disaster, but these steps should protect most people from tragedy.