Tech Tip: Regularly backup important files

Disaster can strike at any time and computers are just machines that are not immune to failures or technical glitches. In the unfortunate even that your data does become inaccessible you want to ensure that you have a backup copy that you can revert to. Most modern operating systems come with backup programs built in. Windows 7 has a Backup and Restore utility while Mac OS X has Time Machine. You do not, however, need any specific software to start backing up your files.

Data is stored on computers on rotating discs called hard drives or flash memory modules. Either type of storage can get corrupted over time, damaged in an accident or even lost. For this reason you should regularly copy important documents onto  alternative storage media. This could be a flash drive, DVD, an external hard drive or even online in the cloud. Whichever medium you chose, it is wise to keep it in a separate physical location than the original data to decrease the possibility of both your original files and backup files suffering the same fate.

Backing up files is just the process of copying them from one storage medium to another. Files can be organized according to your preference. It is a good idea to date your backups so that you will be able to identify your most recent copies and differentiate them from older backups. If you want to back up programs make sure that you copy their installation files and any other data or preference file the program may have created that you will need later. Also ensure that you back up all important files especially those that may be in stored in uncommon locations on your computer.

By backing up your files you have something to revert to in case you suffer from data loss. This will help you get back to work without starting over from scratch. It is especially important to back up regularly so that the copies of your data are not too dated and therefore more useful.

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