October 17, 2004

Backing up

Backing up your files has got to be the most important protection you can have. You should frequently copy your files onto removable media such as writable CDs and DVDs, flash drives and memory cards, or even floppy disks (unreliable but better than nothing). If your computer were to suffer from failure of hardware (for example your hard disk) or the effects of a malicious program, a recent backup of all your important files could save you hours of work!

You could have a series of say five writable media (such as CD-Rs) for backing up your most important files as you work on them. The media would be numbered 1 to 5, and each time a backup was made the next medium would be used. This system has certain advantages:

  • If you are using rewritable media, you can overwrite the oldest backups and still have several recent ones.
  • The media that you are backing up to will suffer less wear than a single medium would when used frequently.
  • Even backups can fail (for example a CD-R with a label-side scratch, or a corrupted floppy disk) but with frequent backing up with this system you would be pretty much guaranteed a working recent copy of your work.

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