The Perfect Backup Scheme

Got a pretty important question to ask you, and that is this; "Do you do a computer backup of your wood carving projects"?  You know, the ones you've worked on for hours and hours to get just right.  That special project you did that has you mighty proud...

Most people are gonna answer "No".  I'm hoping you're different though.  I'm also hoping that you have that backup located in a secure spot too.  Let me explain what I mean.


By now, most people that use computers know the importance of doing a backup of their hard work and yet it's surprising how many still don't have a process in place to protect those efforts!

But I'm going to assume that you're one of the smart ones Matt, and that you do do that all important backup!  The main reason, of course is that in the event of a hardware (hard drive) failure, you have a way to get your data restored.

OK, that's a good start.  But where exactly do you have that backup stored?  In the drawer, or sitting along side the computer?

Hmmm? What if your computer was stolen or you had a fire - do you have a fall-back method to recover your data?  Again, most people are going to answer "No".

Think of all the hours you have in your projects.  Wouldn't you agree that a small investment to protect your work is in order?  This is especially true if you use your patterns and projects as a means of generating income.

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If your computer doesn't already have a CD/DVD burner installed, you should give serious consideration to the idea of buying a
Sony DRX840U 20x External Dual-Layer DVD Burner that plugs into your computer.  You can burn your patterns and projects to disk and then store those disks in a safe location AWAY from your computer.  Store them at a friend or relative's house, at work, or even in your glove compartment.  My point is this; if your computer should come to some foul accident, you don't want your backup to suffer the same fate.

A less expensive way is to buy a
USB flash drive.  These are dirt cheap and hold quite a bit of data.  If your backup requirements are relatively modest, this is a great way to backup files and keep them in a safe location.  These devices are even small enough to carry around in your pocket.

Another method is to use an online backup service.  This is only useful though, if you have access to a high speed internet connection.  If you do, it's a great way to backup your data - even among multiple computers.  Some services are often free if your data requirements are not too large.  One service in particular
www.idrive.com will allow you to store up to 2Gb of data free.  This service works with both PCs and MAC platforms.

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Alright, I think I've given you enough to think about this time around...  NO, NO, wait -  I almost forgot a very important step.
BE SURE TO TEST your recovery and restore function.

Do a test and make sure that you can restore the files you back up.  I can tell you (from hard gained experience) that if you can't restore your files, doing a backup is pointless.  Make sure that the files you backup are readable and that they are intact and not corrupted.  Years ago I thought I was doing a good job of backing up my files until I needed to restore a file I accidentally deleted.  When I went to reload the file, I found that it was corrupted.  When I did a further check, I found that ALL of my backup files were junk.

Luckily it was only one file that I needed and I was able to recreate it without too much trouble.  I then went back and fixed the problem with my backups so that all of the files were usable.  I was lucky that this small incident alerted me to a potentially HUGE catastrophe.  It only takes a few minutes to check and it can save you days of turmoil.