Data Backups

I’m gonna get all geekie and anal on everyone here.  I’m also going to preface the rest of this with a statement that I worked as an accountant for a decade and a half, self-employed for the last eight years, and despite numerous hard drive crashes, computers being stolen, yada yada yada et cetera et cetera, I’ve never lost any data.  I’m also gonna state that my older brother trained me, and he’s been a computer geek since the mid-70s, and he has also likewise never lost any data.  Basically, cuz we’re both real anal.  And he taught me everything he knows.  Or something like that.

I’d recommend you visit my website and read an article my geek brother and I wrote for a quick (?) lesson in backups in general to get you started.  If you need more particulars after that, give me specific questions and I’ll see what I can do to answer them for you.

Backing up data to an extra hard drive in the computer

It’s convenient, but that convenience only lasts until the computer is stolen or vandalized, or a power surge destroys the computer and both hard drives on it, or an Act of God such as hurricane, tornado, flood, fire, or your natural disaster of choice happens.  Or the second hard drive crashes. Then you’re up [email protected]# creek without a paddle.  Oh, and as another note, new hard drives fail, too. I’ve had several new hard drives that failed within the first couple of months.  That’s no guarantee, either.  And what if the motherboard decides to short out and destroys both hard drives?

I would never recommend backing up onto a hard drive that is permanently installed on the same computer as the original data.

Now, if you’re talking about a swappable hard drive that you remove to an off-site location in rotation with other swappable hard drives, that I’m fine with.

Someone said to me:

How do you back up? I’m using a cd-writer and rewritable CD-Rs. Why rewritable and not the one time burn CD-Rs? Because you can add more stuff to the rewritables. I’ve decided to back up my new writings at least once a week. With the rewritables, you can add a new file each day to the same disk.

I hate to throw a wrench into this, but that was misleading information.  Regular CDs, ie CD-Rs, the writeable ones not rewriteables, can be used in multi-session formats, which means that you can continue to add information to it.  But it’s multi-session that matters, not whether it’s a CD-R or a CD-RW (RW=ReWriteable) – that part is irrelevant for this purpose.  Whether you can use multi-session format, or are stuck with single-session format depends on the software you use.  Most CD burning software from the last few years offer multi-session, but older software doesn’t.

With RWs, or rewriteables you can erase what you write onto it and start with a completely blank CD, or only delete a few files, whichever you prefer.  So you can keep updating the file you back up onto it.

HOWEVER.  What if the file you just replaced was good, but the new backed up file is corrupt?  You’ve now just deleted a good backed up file.  That’s why I tend to stick with burning CDs onto CD-Rs, not CD-RWs, and keep my backups going back a fair amount of time.  Okay, I’m paranoid and anal retentive, but we’ve already established that.  🙂  We’ve also already established that I never lose data.  Hmm.  See a pattern emerging?

And yes, if you want to do a backup to CD, you must have a CD writeable drive, aka a CD burnable drive, not just a readable.  If you’re not sure what you have, ask the company you purchased it from or a geek friend, or see if you can find the info in your specs.  If you don’t have a geek friend, find one.  They’re real useful in emergencies.  🙂

I endeavour to spread anal retentiveness across the galaxy until it’s filled with entire populations of computer geeks and accountants.  🙂

Just call me stick-girl (as in, “she’s got a stick up her butt”).  Or diamond-girl (as in, stick a lump of coal up her butt and get a diamond in two weeks.)  And yes, other accountants tend to not appreciate my humour.  So sad.

Author: LMAshton

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