Computer Backups save you money!

Backing up the data on your computer is just as important and keeping the oil changed in your car. If you do not do either of these you are destined for trouble. I can speak from personal experience on both.

I work in the IT industry and have decided that the first three rules of owning a computer (whether Mac or PC) are: 1. BACKUP, 2. BACKUP, 3. BACKUP!

This literally means that you need to keep 3 different backups of all of your important data in one form or another. I especially focus on my photos, documents, quicken, music, bookmarks, etc. None of this can be easily replaced in the event of a crash. Data recovery from a crashed hard drive STARTS at around $2,000. Ouch.

Your next question is: OK, so how do I create / keep all of these backups?


  1. Have an external hard drive that you connect to your computer and make copies of all of your important files at LEAST weekly. Macs running Mac OS X Leopard (10.5) have a free built-in program called Time Machine that does this automatically. You just connect the external hard drive and tell Time Machine to start using it. PC's are a little more tricky. The best I have found for PC/Windows are Retrospect or Allway Sync. Retrospect, a commercial product that you can buy separately, comes with Iomega network hard drives (at no extra cost) and is very good. Allway Sync is $19.95 and is pretty easy to set up and is the cheapest solution I have found.
  2. Burn extremely important files to a CD / DVD every quarter. Store in a safe place. Preferably not in your home such as a relative or safe deposit box in case of a fire or other disaster. If these are not an option a fireproof safe is an OK choice too.
  3. This third backup can be in a variety of forms. You can use an online backup service, a portable USB flash drive, another computer you own (if it has enough free space), or a second external hard drive. It should be updated monthly at a minimum.
Having 3 backups in the above fashion will ensure that you will have all of your important data safe an secure (and no more than 3 months old). Having to rebuild your Quicken files from scratch or worse losing all of your photos that can never be replaced is a rough and expensive headache. Spending ~$250 in hardware/software to prevent this now will save thousands in data recovery costs later. Take the steps to keep your digital informaion!

Is your data backed up now? Is it up to date?