A system crash can wipe out your entire photo collection, or perhaps that manuscript you’ve been working on for months. Your term paper, or dissertation can be gone in mere seconds.
Tax statements, gone. Genealogy charts gone. Anything that you’ve created that is special, can disappear without a trace by a simple mistake.
Or if you live in an area that is prone to unstable weather, regular power outages and brown outs are your computer’s worst enemy.
What would you do if all your life’s work evaporated from your computer?
I’m going to teach you how to minimize the chances of this happening and to create a backup system to recover quickly if disaster strikes.
You will need two things for this exercise:
- An external Hard Drive
- An Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) – Not the brown package delivery trucks
There are many types and brands of external Hard Drives. Follow these guidelines to make sure you get the right one for your situation.
Your Hard Drive must be able to hold multiple copies of the contents of your computer. A USB Flash Drive is probably not large enough for this operation.
How big is big enough? To find out, open your file manager and investigate how much data you own right now. Here’s how to do that: (video demonstration)
If you are on a Windows 7 Computer, a) Click on START, and b) Click on COMPUTER.
When you see the file manager open, right click on (C:) drive to get a popup menu with multiple choices.
At the bottom of the list, click on PROPERTIES.
Here, you will see a graphic representing the contents of your main Hard Drive. Take note of the total capacity of your Hard Drive, and the “used space” in GBs or Gigabytes. If you only see “free space” or “space remaining”, subtract that number from “total capacity” to get the “used space”.
Once you know the USED SPACE, multiply it by 5 and THAT is the approximate capacity you will need to make adequate backups of your computer.
For example, most computers and laptops (as of this writing) come with a 1TB hard drive. That is 1000 GBs. The data that is contained in a brand new computer is approximately 70GBs. That number does not contain any of your personal data. Let’s say we add 30 Gigabytes of personal stuff to round it to an even 100GBs. You will need a minimum of 500GB hard drive to make backups of your computer.
I say buy the biggest (capacity) Hard Drive you can afford. You’ll spend $80 to $120 for this.
The second thing you need to implement a complete protection system is an uninterruptible power supply.
Power surges can be prevented by a simple surge protector. BUT, a surge protector will not guard you against black-outs or brown-outs.
Power outages are the number one cause of computer failure and data loss. If you were working on something and the power went out, you’d lose what you were working on for sure. If you’re lucky, the computer will continue to function properly when the power returns. Unless – unless your computer was in the middle of an update, a power outage could be devastating. Your operating system could stop working altogether.
Brown-outs are the worst. They, not only contribute to data corruption, but could have an adverse effect on your computer’s electrical components. A brown out could force you to buy a new computer – and your personal data could be lost forever.
A UPS prevents all of that.