If your computer crashes, who’s got your back?

backup

Backup (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

It’s everyone’s worst nightmare: a computer crash.

OK, so maybe it’s not the absolutely worst thing that could happen to you, but I bet it ranks pretty high on the list of things you prefer to not experience.

My computer crashed last year when I was half-way finished writing my book. In the middle of capturing some ideas, my screen went blank and never turned back on. Ever. It was dead. Gone. Kaput. I had five years’ worth of work on there that I couldn’t get to. Nothing from the hard drive could be retrieved. That’s how dead it was.

Despite that death sentence, I only lost the last twenty minutes of my work….instead of the thousands of files that I’d worked so hard on for the previous half of a decade. How was it possible to retrieve those files if my hard drive was completely gone? Voila – I pay for an automated backup service. For about $60 per year (only $5 per month), the service runs in the background. If I’m connected to the internet, it’s backing up.

I can’t emphasize enough how important having an offsite backup is. I meet people all the time who say, “Oh, I back up on my flash drive.” Is that done throughout the day…and every day? With a service like Carbonite or Mozy or CrashPlan, it’s backed up constantly without you even thinking about it.

Still others say, “I’m covered. I back up onto my external drive.” That’s a start, but is it automatic, or do you have to remember to do it? If there’s a fire, flood, or theft, and the external drive is no longer reachable, can you gain access to your files from any computer with an Internet connection?

I’m very grateful that the only tears I shed last year were from having to fork out money unexpectedly for a new laptop and updated software. When my relatively new laptop crashed just last month, it was a pain in the rear since it needed to go in for 24 hours of treatment with my tech guys, but once again I only lost a few minutes of work – instead of years’ worth.

Are you backed up?

 
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