The Golden Rule of Computing

One thing that we all do is to take our computers for granted, be they desktops, laptops, tablets or even smartphones. These days they hold the content of our lives and they just work, don’t they! Just like the car, we get in whenever we want and turn the key and it always starts. We set out on a long journey without checking the oil and coolant levels and the tyre pressures, yes they’ll be fine. At least with the car, it has a service interval so things will be right maybe every 20,000 miles (bit like a clock that has stopped, it’ll be right twice a day)! With computers, no such thing; Houston, we have a problem! Generally, the problem is you!

So the Golden rule is “Backup, Backup, Backup” What would you do if your PC, Smartphone, Tablet etc was say lost! Would it be a bit inconvenient or would it be a disaster, no contacts, no photos, no documents etc etc.

Years ago making backups was not the easiest thing to do and quite often needed the skills of an IT geek but these days it’s so easy it’s unfathomable why people don’t backup their computers. If nothing else, learn how to backup your device, so that when things go wrong; it’s only a minor blip and not a life changing catastrophe!

Most modern computer devices have a basic backup facility built-in, all you have to do is activate it and tell it where to put the backup and this will happen automatically. It’s mainly designed to backup the “System” files but does backup your personal files too.

2 basic backup strategies :-

  1. Personal files, e.g. photos, documents.
  2. Disk Image.

Personal files is fairly straight forward but disk Images maybe sounds a bit bit geeky. Backing up personal files involves at the basic level copy n paste but a disk image is not any more difficult if you use something like “Macrium Reflect Free” or “Acronis True Image”.

I tend to favour “Disk Images” because they are so easy to do but are not perfect! I could go on and mention Incremental and other types of back ups but from a personal level, the main thing is to get your stuff backed up as often as possible. Creating a Disk Image is childs play but be warned, a disk image is a facsimile of the “current state” of your computer so if you have problems with Malware etc you are basically creating a copy of your Hard Drive (HD) which will include any problems that you have with your set up. But you’re a sensible person and have Antivirus /Anti Malware software installed, don’t you 🙂  The main advantage of a “Disk Image” is that in the event of a a HD failure, all you need do is fit a new HD and restore the Disk Image and you will have your computer back to the state in which it was when you did the Disk Image. The thing to bear in mind is that if you created a disk image a few days ago and your HD fails today, any changes made between the time you made the disk image and the time your HD failed will be lost.

Backing up your day to day files, photos can be done using a scheduled task to backup certain files / folders to and external USB hard drive or even a network share. Windows users have this facility built-in and have the option of using Onedrive, similar to Apple’s iCloud and Google’s Drive.

So, what you waiting for? Apply the Golden rule and get backing up. One day, you’ll be glad you did!



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