In today’s day and age we accumulate a few more pictures than we used to. By a few more I am referring to thousands. Thousands of pictures that we probably would be sad to see disappear. Not to mention documents, movies, and of course music. Some people take it for granted that their data will always be there. The steps necessary to insure you never lose your important data are small when compared to the alternative. When will it happen you ask? Who knows. Only Murphy from Murphy’s Law could answer that, and I doubt he will. Considering that conventional hard drives have moving parts it is only a matter of time before it fails. Add the chance of the operating system becoming corrupt, your data itself becoming corrupt, or some kind of malware infecting your computer and you have the makings of a classic sob story.
What kind of things can a person do to protect themselves from this tragedy? The most tangible solution is to copy your files onto a flash drive. Or for you avid collectors, an external hard drive. By only using these devices occasionally you can be confidant they will last a long time. Periodically changing them out isn’t a bad idea either. An alternative that is becoming more and more acceptable is cloud storage. By utilizing a large company with multiple storage locations you can be assured to have access to your fluffy cat pictures from any computer with an internet connection. What do you mean you don’t have fluffy cat pictures?
Another part of a disaster plan should include a way to recover your operating system. Some time during the Windows 7 age Microsoft stopped providing a CD that you could reinstall with. Some brands of computers have a way to reinstall from a protected area on the hard drive. This works great if your Windows installation becomes corrupted, but if your hard drive mechanically fails then you are stuck. Unless you have already used the computers own capability to create it’s own recovery media. Originally it was created on several CDs but now it is created on a flash drive. Windows 10 needs a 32GB but anything before that can fit on a 16GB. The recovery media restores the computer back to it’s original factory condition. This wipes out EVERYTHING and puts the computer back to the way it came out of the box. Not to be confused with a system restore, which reverts settings back to a saved point but leaves everything else alone. A system restore is useful if you have upgraded or updated something and then your computer isn’t working correctly.
By backing up your data and having the recovery media available, you can survive a complete system melt down without breaking a sweat. How much of a plan you need will be determined by the amount and sensitivity of your data. As with all things, balance is key.
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