After using your PC for some time no doubt you would have accumulated some useful files. These files could be cherished family/personal photographs, music, videos, document, and some times applications. It as necessary for any computer user to have a back up strategy – a way of saving files outside the machines. This is because the cost of not having backups is the loss of critical files (or data). And most times these data cant be retrieved or recreated from scratch. Even if source of the files can be gotten from somewhere else, the cost (time, money and effort) of doing that my be higher than the cost of simply backing up your files.
I know you’d not entertain any idea that these precious files of yours could be lost at any time. Anyway it would be prudent on your part to keep your essential stuffs in a safe place. But before you do this there some questions that are worth asking and we’re going to look at some credible answer to them.
Why should you Back-Up your files?
Though files can be backed up to keep them from the reach of others, the main reason why you need to back up your files is that they could get lost for a number of reasons. Some of these reasons include the following;
A part of your computer system might develop a fault that could lead to data loss. For example a damaged hard disk can cause the erasing of all files stored. And also electrical power (voltage) surge can cause harm to computer hardware parts resulting in system failure.
As funny as it may sound it is a very serious issue. You need to protect your PC from intruders and thieves or any unwanted person. As is often said a computer system that can be accessed is not secure. There are situations when intruders might not be after the physical system, but can steal files and wipe your hard disk clean (deleting files). This can be done locally or remotely through the internet. So you should be careful who you give access to your PC to and the kind of website that you visit.
There are cases when a software functions in way that lead to the corruption of files on a computer. Malware or viruses could also infect and corrupt files in a computer system. An operating system can crash and render files unusable and irretrievable.
Human Error or Factor:
This is the central factor around which others revolve. Though there are cases where data loss occur as a result of circumstances beyond our control. Most times the human element is pronounced. For instance you might overwrite files with an old version or accidentally deleting a file from your computer. I have have a friend that intentionally spilled a glass of water on his PC, he had to go get a new one.
Sometimes all these factors occur in isolation, but most times one factor leads to the other.
What should you back up?
This would mainly depend on you and what you use your computer for. For a Personal computer it would include media (music, videos, photos, etc) and document files. And it might also include files that have been downloaded or files created while using any application. And if you do have a project you’re working on (writing a book or programming codes), these files should be backed up. For a Linux system it is not out of place to backup configuration files – like the entire /etc directory. In fact any file you think is worth backing up should be backed up.
How often should you back up?
This is another thought worth considering in your backup journey. A good catalyst that can help you decide is for you to consider how you’d be affected when there is a total loss of your files. Then you can consider the rate at which your important data changes. Sometimes most of your files never change, a few change daily and some weekly. In that situation it would be advisable to backup weekly. In a case where your computer is used for business it would be prudent to back up critical data files daily.
Label the backups for easy reference.
A good practice would be to label back directories with dates. For example, a backup of your music directory should read something like: BACKUP_MUSIC_27102016. And also routinely ensure and verify that your backups are intact and inspect the backup media for defects (replace if necessary).
Size of the files
It is important to know the amount of memory (size) of all the files you intend to backup. This would enable you to decide the backup media to use. It would be useless to use a CD-RW to backup a 2GB large files or a DVD for a 10GB backup. It is a good practice to compressed your files before backing them up – for security reasons and to reduce the size.
Anyway the only person that can evaluate and decide which backup strategy is appropriate for your situation. Suggestions presented in this post point you in the right direction.