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[ The PC Guide | System Care Guide ]

Backups and Disaster Recovery

"What, me worry?" -- Alfred E. Neuman

One of the things that I harp on the most about when it comes to preventive maintenance and system care, is the importance of regular, reliable data backup. No matter how well you treat your system, no matter how much care you take, you cannot guarantee that your data will be safe if it exists in only one place. The risks are much greater than most people realize.

How important is your data to you? You can respond to this question with words, but the steps you take to protect your data are the real answer. I find it troubling when people lose large quantities of data--because they have no backups--and then they get very upset, talking about "how important that data was!" If it's important, why wasn't it backed up? If it matters enough to get upset over losing, it's worth protecting, and backups are an essential part of data protection.

There are many reasons that people neglect doing backups:

  • They don't understand how important they are, because they haven't had a disaster happen to them (yet).
  • They don't know how to do them.
  • They forget to do them because they don't have a routine for doing backups.
  • Doing the backup is a time-consuming chore and they can't be bothered.

This chapter takes a full look at the matter of backups, and discusses how to do them, how to set up a backup program, and what to do in the event of a disaster. Part of the focus is on making backups easy to do so that you will remember to back up regularly without it taking an inordinate amount of time and energy.

Warning: Recent research has uncovered a potential problem with corruption of short file name aliases when restoring files with long file names using some backup software. This phenomenon is discussed in the article Xcopy Xposed, which focuses on the problem as manifested when using the Xcopy command. You should carefully factor this potential risk into your selection of a backup methodology.

Next: A Mental Exercise To Underscore the Importance of Backups

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