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[ The PC Guide | System Care Guide | Backups and Disaster Recovery | How To Back Up ]

Backup Timing

Selecting a time of day to perform backups is a matter of personal choice. It depends, as usual, on how you use your PC, and also on how long it takes for you to perform backups. Most people prefer to do unattended backups, and therefore, set their backups up to run when they are not around. The most common times to run backups therefore are:

  • Overnight: My personal choice, and the preference of many other people, is to start a backup before going to sleep, have it run overnight, and then see the results in the morning. This makes sense because the PC isn't being used, and a full backup of a loaded system, including time to perform verification, can take several hours.
  • During the Day: If you work during the day you can set up your home machine to perform backups while you are at the office. This is really not much different in concept from the overnight backup; both use slack time where the PC isn't being actively used, to perform backups. I don't do this myself because I run routine maintenance on my PC during the day.

Warning: I only recommend backup overnight or while away from home for backup systems that are established and known to work well. Do not attempt your first backup on a new drive overnight, because if there is some problem, you won't find out about it until 8+ hours later. A misconfigured or defective tape drive can sometimes "shoeshine", meaning it constantly runs the tape back and forth over the surface of the tape head. This can be very damaging if allowed to continue for hours at a time!

Most backup software can be set to run at a specific time and day of week as well, if this is convenient for you. Remember to watch out for interference from other software.

Next: Backup Software

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