Backup your PC, now… right now… JFDI

As I sit here at my desk with the external hard disk at the ready, I ponder what everybody else does when backing up their PC. As far as I am aware the percentage of you guys making regular back-ups is as close to zilch as is humanly possible.
Every year I get calls from people who are looking to me for help to recover their data. (the ones who know I like to play at fixing things).
Sometimes it is a simple computer crash (a file gets corrupted or something) and sometimes it can be recovered (either by going back to a previous version or using windows recovery) but not always.
More often that not, the PC won’t even start up as Windows is corrupt somehow and so it now entails taking out the hard disk and plugging into an adaptor to make it think it is an external hard drive, then the much needed files such as the iTunes folder, every photo you have taken since the year dot, all files that you have been working on including scanned documents can be copied onto another external hard disk for copying back later.
Rarely, but it does happen, the hard disk just dies, then nothing can be done. (pass the tissues).
So, what to do?
Well, there are many many different ways you can make back-ups, none of them really taxing. Mostly I recommend just plugging in an external hard disk and dragging and dropping the files you want to save to their respective folders. You make a folder structure in anyway you wish, per year, per month, per user login, per type of doc. The most important things is that you make the back-up in the first place. Note, I also back up my USB Keys onto my external hard drive too.
Windows has it’s own system of automating backup and is quite good and fairly simply to set up, just follow the wizard’s instruction and hey presto. (see what I did there).
Plugging in an external hard drive is fairly simple. just go out and buy a 500Gb or a 1TB hard disk for less than €100, plus it in, wait for the extra drive letter to appear in the list of drives, and start dragging your files across (If you are adventurous, you can open 2 examples of Windows Explorer so you can see the files to copy and the destination drive side by side).
You can use third party programs, to make a ‘ghost’ or disk image of your data if you wish, this way you can set your computer back to the way it was, including all the installed software from the last date of back-up.
You can use any or the many free (for basic cover) Cloud services (Dropbox, Windows Live, Google Docs, Evernote, Amazon, etc) or use one of the paying ones:…
Find a comparison chart here:…
Whichever way you choose and whichever time span you choose between back-ups is not important, what is important is that you just do it.
I know, you only think of doing a back-up just when you sit at the computer to do something specifically and thus don’t have time to start fiddling around.
So I say this to you: Make an appointment in your diary to spend 30 minutes backing up your data once a week or month, whatever the time-frame, you choose, but just do it..
It helps if you change your mindset, think to yourself; OK, I will start the copying and then go and stick a wash on or make a cup of tea or read a chapter of the latest book and check on it in a while.
You won’t regret it. I promise.
Call me if you need help
With love

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