Copywriter, technical writer, translator (FR>EN, ES>EN, IT>EN), journalist

Back up your important information

I used to carry a zip-up binder containing my calendar, contact list, task lists and so forth. While I liked the feel of paper, I didn’t like the weight and size of it, so I eventually switched to the Palm personal digital assistant – the one that really started the PDA craze.

It gave me a feeling of security paper could never give me, since by simply hooking it up to my computer, it created a copy of everything – every calendar event, every task, every contact. I still have that stuff today, more than a decade after I got my first Palm. It just transferred over from device to device with nary a hiccup.

Yet despite our digital age, far too many people continue to keep just one copy of all sorts of important information – photos, email, documents, calendars, you name it. The problem? Lose an agenda, have a hard drive crash, or experience some similar event, and there goes all sorts of information that really matters.

What’s really sad is that difficulties like this are fairly easy to prevent, simply by creating backups of your information regularly.

How you can use this tip

You can protect your important information (and improve your peace of mind) in several ways:

  • Do you use a mobile phone that you can connect to your computer? Try connecting the two to see if the computer makes a copy of your numbers and any other valuable information on the phone. If you lose the phone, you can get another one, download your information from the computer, and you’re back in business.
  • Consider backing up important computer files to the Internet. Backup services like SugarSync, Mozy and Carbonite can make copies of your information online while you work and save changes to documents, all in the background. The first upload may take a long time (mine took 26 straight hours) but my SugarSync backups became quick after that.
  • Keep an external hard disk where you can hook it up to your computer regularly. (Own a desktop computer? Just keep the hard disk plugged in.) Some operating systems, like Mac OSX, back up your information to the external hard disk every hour. If yours doesn’t, buy a hard disk that contains its own backup software. Such tools tend to be easy to use and work unobtrusively in the background.
1 Comment
  1. Thanks, Luigi. You have motivated me to solve my back-up problems. I have ArcSoft Total Media back-up running with an external hard drive, but it is far from reliable. I have also tried “Dropbox” without much luck dropping folders into the box. If I continue at this rate, I will lose all my files, but not from lack of trying.

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