Simple Backup

It happened again today. A friend called me asking for help in reviving his PC that will no longer boot. He believes he caught a virus. I plugged it in, and sure enough, it won’t boot.

“Do you have your important files backed up?” I ask.

Queue the awkward pause. I got my answer.


Unfortunately, I’ve seen his scenario play out half a dozen times over the past year. A family shares an older model PC, usually running Windows XP or Vista. Files are saved haphazardly to a local drive. Malware and viruses enter the computer and eventually slow or shut it down. Or worse, a hard drive bites the dust.

And nobody backed up files to an external drive, CD/DVD, or online.

So this post is for my friends and readers who are in a similar situation. Eventually your hard drive will crash or you’ll catch a virus, or your children will delete the folder where all your financial data was saved.

I could tell you about nifty online back solutions or explain how I use a couple of small programs to copy files from one drive to another. But I’ll save that for a later post.

If you do not have a backup solution, stop what you’re doing and order this 500 gig drive from New Egg. Or this 1 TB drive if you have a lot of videos, music or other files that take up more space. This is not the most elegant or even the most effective backup solution. But it’s far better than nothing at all.

About a year ago, I advised my father to pickup an external drive and it’s saved his behind a number of times.

If your hard drive dies, and you end up paying someone to extract your data off it, you could be looking at hundreds if not thousands of dollars. And that’s the best case scenario.

About 10 years ago, I lost a years worth of pictures around the time our second child was born. I’m still kicking myself because I knew better.

Don’t let that happen to you. Grab a drive and backup your files today.

3 thoughts on “Simple Backup

  1. A year ago someone broke into my house. Luckily I wasn’t home and they didn’t do any damage. But they did steal my computer and ipod, among other things. The external drive that I bought never got used regularly. Then I bought a Passport drive, and that didn’t get used regularly either.

    About 6 months before the break in, one of my important files was corrupted. It wasn’t backed up, and I lost years of contact info changes for former clients.

    Swearing it would never happen again, I signed up for SugarSync.

    It saved me. I purchased a netbook since I wanted one for an upcoming trip anyway, and needed to sort through the insurance stuff before replacing the laptop. With a download of SugarSync, all of my files are back. I repeated the process when I replaced my laptop.

    Sometimes, all the money in the world can’t get you back your files…sometimes the computer is just gone.

    Find a way, but back it up.


    1. Sugarsync, Dropbox and they like are very good alternatives. I’ve had more difficulty explaining to my less technical friends how these services work. I use Dropbox for the files I need to access on my PC, iPhone and iPad. But I use Crashplan to backup all my files. Backing up data online is probably a safer option for most.


  2. Being on eof the people you’ve saved from back-up failure I could only smile wryly when reading this. I back things up carefully now of course. Although in my case I had everything backed up and accidentally deleted everything when working on my computer. You really should hang out with more people who know what they’re doing instad of lunheads like me.


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