Nilesh’s Weblog

September 4, 2008

Personal Data Backup

Filed under: Personal, Updates — Tags: , — deshnilesh @ 12:05 am

We all know, a back up strategy is must for data on a PC, we need to back-up regularly this is advised time and again but most of us won’t take it seriously and some day repent for it.
If you ask yourself “Do you have a backup plan/strategy” the answer would be mostly “No”. However, I feel that everyone has a strategy and is trying to backup the data consciously or un- consciously. Remember you copying few files at 3-4 locations just to ensure that the file is now lost due to overwriting. This act definitely is a data backup, but not a good strategy for long term backup.

What are backup types? Broadly we can classify all backups as Temporary backup and long term backup. There would be different strategies for organization and personal data. We will just focus on personal data backup as for organizations they will definitely have proper tools and procedures for there data backup as lack of it may cause them there fortune.

Everyone should have backup strategy for recovery from following –

  • Unwanted saves/changes to files
  • Virus attack
  • Hard-disk crash
  • Accidental Deletion of files

I would suggest following approach –

Unwanted Save / Changes to files –
What are the files you work with most? I believe these would be Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and image files. For Microsoft Word we have an inbuilt version control feature which can be availed for version control. Setting the version control on in word will save the files in such a way that if you want to undo changes made few days ago then you just need to select proper version of the document and recover it. You can visit About.com to learn more about this feature. Unfortunately for other files you don’t have any other option but to make temporary copies of the files you are working. You may use a different name or copy them to a different location as per your preference.

Virus Attack –
First thing get good antivirus software even then if your machine is infected then you may have to format your PC, in few cases you may not get chance to recover important data to some drive. An option would be to have separate partition for OS and data. For example, your Operating System (OS) would be on C: drive and the all data copied to D: drive. So in case if you have to format your OS all your data is intact, you however may want to get the data scanned by some good antivirus (you can also get it scanned free using housecall service)

Hard-disk crash / accidental format / Accidental deletion of files
OK, your data is now safe if you have it on different partition, but what if the hard-disk itself gives away? You are then left with nothing but agony as all your data is gone and there is very little chance that you can restore. To save yourself from this situation you need to backup your data on some other media like Zip Drive, ThumbDrive / FlashDrive, CD / DVD or an external hard-disk. If you are using a external hard disk or thumb drive, you may want to use some synchronization tool which will ensure that the data folder and the backup folder are in sync and nothing is missed out.

The option to store your data online can also be explored. The only dependency would be an internet connection but then you have your data on the go. There are couple of sites offering this service for example esnips and Microsoft’s SkyDrive,

We can summarize it as – “Keep copy of important file while making major changes. Have a good antivirus program, ensure all data is copied on a different partition and periodically copy the data to another media or store it online.”

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