Protect Your Design Stash

Have you ever had a that heart stopping moment when your computer fails to follow your orders? Has computer failure caused you to lose all of your design files? For all computer users it isn't a matter of IF your computer fails, but WHEN. So how do you protect your files and keep them safe from catastrophe?

Protect your files
The answer is backup, backup, backup. By keeping at least one set of duplicates of all of your important computer files you will save yourself a lot of heartache and anxiety. There are many methods to backup your files and have them available to transfer back to your computer after it has been restored to good health. Consider using at least one and possibly two mediums of back up of all of your important data.

Backup Media
Several forms of media are available to computer users. All of them have their positives and negatives so it's best to use two different forms to be safe. Some of the forms to consider are CDs, DVDs, Floppy Drives, Zip Drives, USB Drives, External Hard Drives, and Remote Online Backups.

CDs and DVDs
CDs and DVDs require drives that write to these media types. Most computers sold today have at least one of these available as standard drives. CD's and DVD's are very inexpensive, hold a large amount of data, and are easy to transport. But CD's and DVD's are not permanent in that over time they can and do fail.

Floppy Drives and Zip Drives
Floppy Drives and Zip Drives are quickly going the way of the dinosaur. As technology has changed in the last few years, most people have found that floppy discs don't hold enough data to be useful. They aren't even a standard feature on most computers on today's market. Zip Drives hold a medium amount of data on removeable discs, but again the advances in technology has provided better media forms.

USB Drives
USB Drives, go by several names, such as thumb drives and key drives. They are all the same. USB Drives are tiny portable devices that plug into your USB ports. They can hold a large amount of data and are very reliable. They are relatively inexpensive, and data can be moved on to and off of the drive easily.

External Hard Drives
External Hard Drives are devices that plug into your computer externally that can hold an extraordinary amount of data. Although they are getting smaller as technology improves they are still the size of a small gift box. You can find external hard drives that hold anything from a few Gigabytes of data all they way up to a Terabyte of data. Believe me a Terabyte of data is a huge number! External Hard Drives are small enough to be transportable, but aren't made to be portable on a regular basis. (There are also portable external hard drives on the market that bridge the gap between USB thumb drives and a full size external hard drive.) External hard drives are reliable, but like ALL forms of electronic media they can fail.

Remote Online Backups
New to the home user market is Remote Online Backups. Companies such as Carbonite, Mozy, IBackup and others offer offsite backup on their remote drives. I've only just begun to research these for my own purposes and I'm impressed by the security, ease of use, and price for these services. Currently I am using Mozy to backup my digitized files. They offer 2 Gigabytes of storage for free, this isn't time limited this is free. Others offer time limited trials of their service.

The advantage of Mozy is that it works in the background using times your computer and/or internet connection are idle to backup your data. Any changes you make in files and folders selected for backup will automatically be backed up the next time you are online. The Mozy program is small and does not appear to need a lot of resources.

The disadvantage is that the backups and restore functions are not immediate. Initial backup of data can take as long as 4 days depending on your internet connection and computer usage. After that the changes made appear to backup very quickly.

I'm still in the testing phase of my research, so I can't definitely recommend it. But if you are interested you can sign up for 2 free Gb at Mozy by using this link we will both get an extra 256MB of storage for free.

For a 30 day free trial of Carbonite visit Carbonite and enter the promotional code - BZZ

Have a backup plan and use it.
No matter which medium you choose for your backups, it's important that you do backup your important data at least once a week. My personal method is to back up a crucial data to CD daily, and then I save all of my data to an external hard drive weekly. I keep an extra set of all crucial data with a relative in case of fire or other disaster in my own home.

The time you spend on backing up your data now is worth it. When your computer crashes the next time you will be prepared and have your data available for use.

copyright 2007 Bonnie Domeny, Threadlove Embroidery