How To Back Up Computer Data

The potential for losing computer-based data is increasing rapidly, so take extra steps to protect your files from loss or corruption.

If you do much work on a computer, you know that along with convenience comes the risk of losing data due to a variety of problems. Power outages, equipment failures, down time, and hackers, along with viruses, can send all your hard work spiraling down the cyberspace drain.

Don't wait for the next accident of fate to catch you unprepared. Take the necessary steps to protect your work and keep it safe from disaster.

1. Back up your word processing documents frequently. Some experts recommend doing this every thirty minutes or so, while others say every hour or two is adequate. Depending on how much you use the Internet, you may want to back up your work by clicking "save" rather frequently; better safe than sorry. This is especially true if the document is lengthy or important. Don't take a chance on losing hours of your valuable time.

2. Store your files on reliable disks. Some disks that you purchase from the store may be unformatted, or they may not work for one reason or another. When you get them home, try several to see if they will hold the data that you try to save to them. If they don't, return them to the purchase site for an exchange or a refund. Don't wait to try your disks when you need them, as they may not work for you.

3. Use both the hard drive and a disk. Don't depend on a single storage site for saving your work. Either might fail at some point, and you would have nothing to show for it. Save both on the hard drive and on a disk. Label the disk clearly and right away to avoid later confusion. Store your disks in a dust-free environment, preferably with a cover, to keep them intact and easy to use when the time comes.

4. Print a hard copy. In addition to the hard drive and a disk copy, print out a tangible copy of the document or file contents. Keep it in a safe place that you have designated for that purpose. It doesn't help to save something in print form when you don't know where to find it when needed. Label files clearly and create an organized filing system to help you find needed copies later.

5. Maintain your computer equipment and programs. Find out how to clean your machine about once a year. Better yet, hire an expert to do it for you. This might include the keyboard and monitor as well as the interior mother board and computer chip. Cords and auxiliary linkages, like a computer, should also be kept in quality operating condition to reduce the risk of malfunction or breakage.

6. Install reliable anti-virus programs. McAfee and other programs can detect and remove dangerous viruses from your computer. Scan all programs and emails that you are uncertain of to remove any possible threat of contamination and data loss. Have this function checked when you take in your computer for annual maintenance.

Protect your data in these and other ways so you don't end up losing hours of hard work.

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