Before the days of digital, any file that was important to you was printed on paper so you had a physical, tangible copy. You could touch it, feel it, and hold it. If you wanted to save it you filed it away in a big box somewhere safe. If you wanted to get rid of it you threw it away, burned it, ripped it up, or sent it through a paper shredder. Point being, those physical copies were not the easiest things to lose. But, with digital, that world has changed. Now your files are perfectly organized in little digital files on your computer. The problem with the digital files is that they are very easy to lose. All it takes is a nasty virus, a crashed computer, or the click of the wrong button and the files are gone. Vanished. If you don’t want to accidentally lose your files, there are a few precautions you can take to save yourself a headache.
The smartest thing you can do to protect your files is to create two copies and keep them in two different places. This doesn’t mean your computer and another place. Two places off of your computer. Keep one set of files on an external hard drive. These can hold thousands and thousands of pictures, files, and whatever else you can think of so it’ll take a while for you to run out of room. If you’re backing up pictures, get them on CD’s (you’ll want to create new copies every five to ten years. CD’s have a limited shelf life). You can’t accidentally erase files on CD’s, which is why they’re great for pictures. If your files aren’t just pictures then it is a great idea to get two external hard drives. Share them with a friend. You keep one with you and he can keep one with him. Switch them out and update them with your files every month or so. That way, the files are not only protected on two different digital sources, they’re also in two different locations.
External hard drives and CD’s are a great option for files you want off your computer, but for the files on your computer you may want to consider online backup. With online backup you won’t lose your files if your computer crashes, if your house burns down with your computer in it, or if you accidentally delete the files off your hard drive. Websites like carbonite.com are perfect examples of online backup. With this option you pay a certain amount per year to upload your computer files to their web storage locations. The rates are not expensive considering the value of the files you’re saving.
Regardless of the storage option you choose, you won’t save or protect any files if you don’t back them up. Too many people go months and months without backing up their files. Then, without warning, a virus hits and they lose all their files. That is not a good place to be. When you lose them you either don’t get them back or you shell out hundreds of dollars trying to save them. If you value your files, back them up every time you add something new. You’ll be glad you did.
We live in a digital world and most of our lives are stored in digital files. It is devastating to lose those files. It doesn’t matter if they’re pictures, an unsung novel, lyrics to a new song, or just family memories written on a digital journal. Everything is important. Everything hurts to lose. Save yourself the nightmare and protect your digital files.