Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Computer Backups: An organizing project you can do while sheltering at home

box that says World Backup Day

This post is a day late; yesterday was World Backup Day. But I’m being gentle with myself during this time, and not fretting about that. And anyway, you want to be doing backups every day, not just on World Backup Day.

And I guess I had this subject on my mind, because I had an odd dream last night. I was working in some nondescript corporate office, had my computer stolen, and immediately thought about when I did my last full backup!

I’m not going to suggest specific backup products; you can find a lot of advice about that from others who have more expertise than I do. But I will emphasize that you want at least one of your backups to be offsite (in case of fire, theft, etc.) and you want at least one of them to be automatic, because otherwise you’re tempting the fates. And yes, multiple backups are a good idea. I use a cloud backup program (offsite backup, automated) and a program that backs up to an external hard drive (much faster recovery time). But if you have no backups now and get one backup process running, you’ve already made a huge improvement!

And remember you want to back up any critical files on your cell phone, too.

So if you don’t already have backups running, consider taking some time to remedy that. You don’t want to be like Matt Dempsey, who tweeted back in 2017:
Having my work hard drive/computer die yesterday has forced me to look at the bad backup decisions I’ve made. Damn
And if you’re already running backups, are you also testing those backups? If not, that’s a step you might want to take.

You might also think about any non-digital documents that you’d be distressed about losing, and consider getting them in digital form to then be included in those backups you’re running. This warning comes from a tweet by author Susan Orlean:
Had a small flood in my office. Some handwritten notes are now abstract watercolors. Fortunately I’d typed them up, but yikes.
Finally, I’d like to mention a different kind of back-up. If you’ve ever published things to a website that just might disappear, make sure you’ve backed up those documents or images, too, if they are still important to you. I know one magazine writer who didn’t do this, and she lost her work when the magazine folded and didn’t keep its website around.

No comments: