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This is a tip to save you money, time and concern of not being able to recover data on your computer when, and if your hard drive crashes. After ours crashed I read a article on computers which stated; the odds of a system crashing are 1 in 12.
I have been with out my computer for two and 1/2 weeks due to the hard drive crashing. It is amazing how much I depend on my computer.
Our computer is a desktop, which we have had less then a year. Something caused it to crash and we did not have a external hard drive installed.
We picked up our computer last night with a repair bill of close to $300.00. In that bill was a charge to try to recover data from the crashed system. Some was recovered, but alas we lost a large quantity of stored information.
This has been a expensive lesson! Hopefully you can learn from our mistake. Spend the extra money and get yourself the external hard drive to protect your files, pictures, etc.
By Bobbie from Rockwall, TX
Good idea but also get yourself a couple of gig sticks. I have two 8 gigs and add important info to them all the time.
There are a couple ways to back up files on your computer. Whether they are financial statements, financial records, personal letters, prized pictures or favorite songs you have options.
The first option is if your computer is equipped with a CD /DVD burner to burn your files each month. You can pick specific files or backup your whole hard drive as long as you are making a back up. It would use less space/discs to backup just your documents. The exception to this rule would be if you don't have the original Windows install discs. In this case the first time you make a back up you should probably back up the whole hard drive using the BACKUP and RESTORE center in the CONTROL PANEL.
Your second option is to sign up for a virtual directory out on the internet and back up all your files there. A virtual directory is basically like having a hard drive out on the internet where you can put any files you desire.
CAUTION: having your files and records stored on the internet makes them more accessible to hackers and thieves. Not a big deal for picture and music files and maybe letters, but not necessarily the best place for financial records.
Third option is a flash drive or a portable USB hard drive. This requires a little investment money wise. A Flash drive, if it is big enough, can hold almost all your important files especially if you use a compression program like WinZip or WinRAR. With a portable USB hard drive, you can back up your entire hard drive, and still have room to make monthly backups of new files for a couple months. Use a compression program and it may last a year or more before having to delete some information.
Your fourth option is to have a secondary hard drive installed in your PC. Use it strictly for backing up important files. Though not as easily accessible as a portable drive (which you can plug into any computer and access) it keeps your files safe, and you can copy modified files to this hard drive at any time to make sure you have current back ups.
I should also mention with Vista and possibly Windows 7 you have an accessory built into the operating system that backs up your windows files, and possibly your personal files as well. It is called System Restore. I haven't messed with it much but it appears to make a copy of your hard drive. The only problem is it makes this copy ON the hard drive. If your system gets corrupted, it may save you but if your hard drive dies, it is all gone.
You may have other options, but off the cuff this is all I can think of. Be advised if you do keep sensitive financial documents on your computer, get a firewall program to help protect them from people on the other side of the internet.
By Suntydt from Tazewell, TN
Once my computer started automatically jettisoning information. The only way to stop it was to quickly press the OFF button. When this started, I hired a computer repair person to take a look at it. He did a few things and the computer has been running just fine - and then, it happened again almost a year later.
I backed everything up onto my external hard drive and performed one more action. I accumulate recipes and information on an almost daily basis and backing it up daily to the external hard drive is a chore. So I made a special folder on my desktop to solve this situation. Into this folder I copy anything that I have saved on my desktop since it was last backed up.
So if the computer starts to act crazy again, all I have to do is rescue the folder and not worry about the rest of the info on the hard drive.
By cookwie from Richardson, TX
I do basically the same thing. I keep flash drives. I keep one for household things to keep, one for computer things to keep (one thing on this one that I keep is a list of any sites that need a User name and/or password and what they are). On a separate and larger one, I keep all my photos and recipes (since most recipes also come with a photo of the food).
Once a week I transfer everything I have downloaded during the week onto the flash drives, then delete it off the computer. This keeps the computer from getting filled up with my "junk". Then if I want something, I just plug in the appropriate flash drive and do what I need to do. I have a small folder that I keep all my flash drives in, but I've seen others who keep theirs on a key chain hanging next to their computer.
I also label each drive with a small stick on number, then keep a card in the case telling which number drive holds what.
I don't care how simple your outfit is, just make sure you have it backed up on 2 locations. External hard drives have to be connected to USB port and can go bad.
I have used and still use "Carbonite". It cost about $60.00 a year. But when my computer crashed, I had to buy a new motherboard. Within 3 hours of turning on my computer everything was back, including all my private folders including all my photos.