[tweetmeme source= “catherineosborn” only_single=false]There’s nothing that strikes fear into the heart of a freelancer quite like that ominous clunk of a hard drive that’s decided it has had enough of this world. And all the while we have hard drives with moving parts, it’s not a problem that’s going to leave us.
Six months ago, I replaced my desktop PC and, not long afterwards, my external hard drive. Thank goodness for regular backups and a pair of hard drives that decided to die two months apart and not in a suicide pact. I have, however, since updated my backup regime to cope with such an eventuality, a good thing too as my 6-month-old PC sounds as though it may need to go back to the manufacturers.
There is no fail-safe method for protecting your data but you will save yourself a lot of pain if you back up your data every day that it changes and to a separate physical device from the one where it normally resides.
To minimise the impact of a catastrophic failure without breaking the bank:
1. Purchase an external hard drive (external HDD). Buy the biggest size that you can afford, even bigger than the storage space on your PC – you may upgrade your PC or at least its hard drive before you know it! I own this one and it is under £50 now, with free delivery.
2. DON’T start copying things randomly. Go to this fantastic website and download the Freeware version of Syncback – if you love it, as I’m sure you will, you can always make a donation or upgrade to one of the paid versions of the software.
3. Install Syncback and start creating profiles to copy your data to the hard drive, starting with ‘My Documents’. Set it up to back up at the same time every day, preferably when you have finished working and when your PC and hard drive are still switched on and connected to each other.
Don’t forget to look out for data files that may be hiding on your C: drive – search for Outlook and Windows Live Mail files, for example, and then create a new profile to back up the parent folder to your hard drive.
You now have a daily back-up routine!
4. Consider backing up your files to a second hard drive for extra security, perhaps on a weekly basis. Or even look at online services – that way, your data will even be safe if your house burns down or is burgled! I am currently using the 2Gb of free disk space provided by Dropbox and I’ve just signed up for a free trial with Mozy.
If you’re unconvinced of the benefits of online back-up, why not check out Mozy’s cautionary tale of two air crash survivors?![tweetmeme source= “catherineosborn” only_single=false]