12Ghosts™ Power Tools for Windows
Planning a Backup - Tips & Tricks
Do I need a backup?
Yes, of course! Disks do crash, computers stop working, viruses destroy everything. Chances are that you delete a file, or part of a file, that you need later.
Need a proof? Here are quotes from real-world e-mails our support team received within just two weeks:
"I don't have the unlock code any more, can you help
We receive e-mails like the above, asking for a new license, every day. They are not made up!!! From our point of view, it is a fact that people lose files!
Sorry if this sounds overbearing: Do a backup rather today than tomorrow, rather twice a week than twice a month. Always backup before you leave your computer and always after you spent a serious amount of time working on documents. Automate your backup so you can't forget it. Backup several versions of a file to protect against your own mistakes (like deleting a paragraph - Save - "Oops!"). You can do all this with 12-Backup as well as with many other backup programs. We'd just suggest doing it at all!
Do more than one backup! A disk can be bent or put near a magnetic field. A CD can get a scratch by a toddler of a friend, or melt under a hot cup of coffee (yes, I know...) The memory of a USB stick can fail. People tend to lose backups, just so, you and me, normal people.
"Hey, where is this backup we did last year!?"
Others may learn it the hard way, don't let this happen to you! Even if you've never needed a backup in the last ten years doesn't mean you never will. There is a certain probability, so backup now!!
There are so many stories about lost data, and almost every computer user can add his or her own. The most stupid may be the one of the guy who decided to create a movie database. It's said he had about 10,000 films typed in, one by one, with actors, descriptions, and everything. One day his computer crashed and he lost the database completely - and without
backup. The upright guy started all over again on a new computer, had typed in half of it, when it crashed again. Still without a backup and deeply frustrated he gave up the movie business. Stupid? You bet!
Ask yourself: How long will the re-creation of all data take that you changed since your last backup and how much do you earn during this time (or how much is that time worth to you)? It's a simple calculation after you've worked for one hour at the computer. Does backing up cost time? Not if you do it automatically. How much does a CD-R cost? Less than 50 cents. Be smart, do backups!
How do I set up a fail-safe backup?
Have backups on different media
Look, if you can lose data on your main drive you can lose data on your backup drive, too! Why not have different backups on 12 CD-Rs, one for every month of the last year? The more backups the merrier. Install a CD or DVD burner (costs $50), a second disk drive ($50 and up), and think about a USB memory stick (less than $50.). They are really cute!
Keep more than one backup
Why? Imagine the original of a file is destroyed and you backup that to your only backup disk - oops! Next, imagine you have a rolling backup of four disks, the original of a file is destroyed again and you start backing that up, before you'd notice, to all four disks - oops! It never rains but it pours. Use at least eight rolling disks, one for each of the last four weeks, one for each of the last four months. Four weeks, four months, piece of cake. (You think more than four is even better? You preach to the converted. But hey, don't lose tracks, dawdle, forget, start to hate it... Better "only" four than none.) Keep one disk in the next room, one at a relative's home, and one in a safe deposite box. If you lose a file you will lose the time spent on that file. Save your time, make backups!
A streamer is nice but not very handy. You may backup your complete installation with all Windows and application files once a month. Use a partition copy program like Norton Ghost or Partition Magic. Restore is an all or nothing. You only want to do this in case you lost all data on your disk, but not to restore single files.
Every 30 minutes
Create a one-to-one copy of all changed files on a second disk drive. This saves you from a crashing disk drive, as well as from inadvertantly deleting a number of files. 12-Backup helps you to backup and verify a complete folder automatically every few minutes. Set it and forget it. Should it be necessary, it is easy to restore a complete folder to exactly what it was by simply copying the backup to the original location. A second disk costs about $50, 20 GB is probably enough. We recommend one that is very quiet while still fast, for example the Seagate ST320011A or similar.
After every change
Create several copies and versions of all your important data. This saves you from inadvertantly deleting a file, or deleting important parts of a file (select a paragraph, hit delete, save...) HyperBackup is the ideal companion to help you create several versions of your important documents automatically, the moment you save it. Set it and forget it!
Backup to a USB memory stick every other day
Those memory sticks are just great: they are small and handy and connect through USB (supported out-of-the-box by Windows ME/2000/XP). You can add it to your key ring so you will have your valuable data with you all day. Starts at $30 for 32 MB, and about $75 for 128 MB. There's a cool wrist watch with USB connection from LAKS.
12-Backup has a tremendously easy feature to help you backup to a memory stick: Click on the "To..." button and select the drive letter of the memory stick. It even shows you how much space is required for the selected period of time. Note that you may exclude files by type (Options) to save space.
Backup to an optical drive once a week
No memory stick? The old ZIP drive or LS-120 is as good. Optical drives have the advantage that you can backup to different disks every time. Use four rolling disks every week, and keep one each month for four months. Four weeks, four months, piece of cake. 12-Backup has a tremendously easy feature to do a backup to a new disk: Click on the "To..." button and select the drive letter of your optical disk. It even shows you how much space is required for the selected period of time. Note that you may exclude files by type (Options) to save space.
Create a CD-R every four weeks
Right, each week would be better! That's what I keep telling myself... We are all humans, we all have a lot going on. Better once a month than never ever.
Again, 12-Backup can help you to identify which files to save on your backup CD-R. 12-Backup's normal backup filters files by file type. So don't add the original folder to the CD-R image but the backup folder which is much smaller if you excluded large or temporary file types. Keep one CD in the next room, one at a relative's home, one in a safe deposite box.
When you start mailing disks to yourself, clearly, you are paranoid: Congratulations! You must have liked this article!
12Ghosts™ Power Tools for Windows®
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