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September 29th, 2011 by Lynda S. LaRoche

Tech Tip: Backing Up

November 12th, 2007 by

Contributed by David Diedriech, Technical Training Coordinator

Backing up your data is the best way to protect yourself against viruses, accidental deletions and overwrites, and other scary computer troubles. The minutes you spend in backing up your files once a day or once a week can save you from hours of frustrating labor reconstructing lost databases, expense records, papers, and research notes.

Backing up is Easy to Do!

Don’t avoid backing up your data regularly because of the mistaken idea that backups are difficult. Some surprising truths about backups include:

• It’s as easy as saving or copying files to a folder. If you don’t know how to save a file to a folder, ask!

• It’s fast. Backups do not take hours to do since you only copy the unique data you’ve created.

• You don’t need special software to do it. All you need is an external drive or storage device (see the list below.)

What Files to Back Up

You should back up any data that you do not wish to lose, or is critical to your job or class. You do not need to back up program files, as they can be re-installed from original CD’s. A few examples of types of files to back up:

• Reports, term papers, letters, or other important documents

• Excel spreadsheets

• Databases, such as Access or FileMaker

• PowerPoint presentation files

• Pictures

• Music files

To make backing up your data easier, you may want to organize your files into one or more discreet folders.

Backup Drives or Devices

The best way to keep your personal data safe is to keep a backup copy of your files in another location. If the document is really important, you may want more than one backup!

Important note: if you are in a DePauw Computer Lab, remember, once you restart a lab system, EVERYTHING IS ERASED! Always save your working copy somewhere else.

Below is a list of some locations for you to back up your critical data:

• Network drives – automatically backed up by IS staff

• I drive: for a specific class (group projects, websites, etc.

• P drive: your own personal storage area (50MB provided)

• Optical (CD-RW, DVD-R) drives

• Large capacity (680MB/CD, 4GB/DVD!)

• Almost all systems have them

• Other “new” methods: USB(flash drives), FireWire drives

• Small, portable, fast!

For more information on backing up your data, visit Microsoft’s website at http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/update/backup.mspx