You’ve seen and heard it all before. Maybe you are even a victim. Vacation photos from your trip in Greece, a University term paper on which you spent weeks that’s due tomorrow, your entire digital music collection painstakingly ripped from vinyl, and even that funny cat picture you wanted to share with your cat loving friends – all gone without warning. This is the situation known as data loss.
There’s even the odd situation where you opened a spreadsheet file to encounter cells with only part of your budget and the remaining cells filled with random symbols and characters; or your mom tried to show you a picture of herself standing on a cliff overlooking a European town, but you only see her head and the rest of the photo is blank with some nonsensical color blocks. This is a different but similarly frustrating phenomenon called data corruption.
Both of these issues are the enemies of your data integrity. The safety of your digital life depends on your computers and smartphones running smoothly, but also on that dreaded word we all hate to hear – backup.
When was the last time you backed up your files? A month ago? Maybe it was a year ago. Perhaps you’ve never done a backup. Either way, you forgot, didn’t have the time, or didn’t know how to do it.
The loss of irreplaceable information is devastating, and you can never get back what you lost without reaching out to an expensive data recovery lab with a low success rate.
As with all issues in life, the one surefire solution is to perform preventative maintenance. So it all comes full circle to backup once again.
Backup doesn’t have to be complicated. Windows and OS X both come with automatic backup solutions built in to the system.
Apple’s Time Machine is very capable at keeping multiple snapshots of your files, and is intuitive to use, like most Apple software products.
While Microsoft’s Windows Backup is rudimentary, it will do for most people’s needs. Both in-house solutions come with automatic scheduling and only require an external hard drive and some setup time, but even for a novice, you should be able to get something like this set up in a couple hours as long as you read all the directions carefully.
Those of you who need a solution with more comprehensive options, here are some recommendations for both operating systems.
For OS X, a great alternative is Carbon Copy Cloner. It’s a powerful tool that can create a full bootable backup for your Mac, which means if your hard drive ever stops working, you can restore your backup to a new drive. There’s a bit of a learning curve, though, so if you are averse to that, stick with Time Machine. Visit bombich.com to try before you buy.
If you’re a Windows user, check out EaseUS Todo Backup. The free version does everything one could hope for with multiple options. It doesn’t even cost much to upgrade to the full edition, if ads aren’t your cup of tea. Get it from easeus.com if you’re ready to supercharge your backups.
Don’t delay your backups and get started today. A nightmare of losing everything could be just around the corner. All it takes is a couple hours out of your life to set up a backup job schedule, then the rest will be automated. Considering that the cost of entry is low and the only tangible price is time and effort, how much is having peace of mind for your data worth to you?
This article was cross-published on Thompson Citizen.