Tips for Backing Up Data and Preventing Data Loss

Data loss can affect anyone…

It is especially problematic for those who have valuable information stored on their computers, such as business documents, financial records, or personal photos and videos.

Every hard drive will mechanically fail at some point and need replaced. Sometimes there are warning signs, and sometimes there aren’t. Also, malware and viruses can damage or delete critical system files. Oftentimes the only solution is to reformat the drive and reinstall the operating system. In these cases, everything on the drive will be lost.

We often perform data recovery for our customers in Lexington, KY due to hard drive failure or virus infection, and they usually regret not having a backup system in place when their valuable data is no longer accessible.  A little bit of planning now can prevent serious frustration and stress down the road in the event of hard drive failure or operating system corruption.

Here’s what we recommend to prevent data loss:

1. Back up your data

An excellent preventative measure is to buy an external hard drive. An external drive can be attached to any computer at any time simply by plugging it into a USB or firewire port. 

Many external drives also have the added benefit of one-touch and/or scheduled back ups – you simply specify the folders and the software will take care of the rest. Macrium Reflect software is a good free backup software if your external hard drive doesn’t come with it’s own software, or if it’s not user friendly. A 250GB hard drive will provide ample room for the average user, and is a good website to shop and compare drive prices, sizes, and ratings.

If it’s a desktop computer, an alternative is installing a second internal hard-drive in your computer (which we can do). The second drive will not be affected if the operating system (which is on the primary drive) is corrupted by malware or if the primary hard drive experiences mechanical failure. And the additional hard drive can be transferred to a different computer whenever you choose.

A third, easy option is to save your files on a clearly labeled USB flash drive, but these are easier to lose and don’t hold as much data as external or internal hard drives. It might be a good idea to stick a return address label on your flash drive, with your phone number, in case it is lost.

2. Back up your files regularly, no matter where they’re stored

Make sure you have regularly scheduled backups that suit your needs and adequately assure minimal loss of valuable time and information. An internal hard drive can have regularly scheduled automatic backups, but if your external  USB hard drive or flash drive isn’t plugged in, it’s not backing up!

If the data is extremely important, it makes sense to increase your odds of being able to retrieve files by having a third backup; you might even want to think about storing a backup in a fireproof safe.

3. Keep hard copies of your documents

While it won’t prevent you from losing electronic files, having a hardcopy will at least ensure you have the contents of the file — and that is better than having nothing at all!