Monday, September 12, 2005

Backing Up Your Work

Once you have your filing system set up in My Documents, you can move on to establishing a backup system to keep you from losing everything you created should your hard drive go down this afternoon.

The problem most people have with backing up is that they don’t know what files to back up and can never be sure they have gotten them all. The key is pretty simple—if everything you create is being saved inside your My Documents, then all you have to back up is My Documents!

Here is the process:
  1. Insert a flash drive into the computer.
  2. Double click on “My Computer.”
  3. Now you are going to double-click on the picture of the flash drive.
  4. Create a new folder inside the flash drive. Label it with the current month and year.
  5. Open the folder you just created.
  6. Double-click on “My Documents.”
  7. Hold down the Control key and hit the “A” for “all.”
  8. All of your documents will be highlighted.
  9. Click on any one of them and drag to the window for the flash drive.
  10. All of the rest of the documents will follow.
  11. As the files are copying, you will see a box with pieces of paper flying across from one folder to another.
I use the example of backing up with a flash drive because most everyone has that method available to them. If you have an external hard drive, backing up to it is preferable.

The important thing is to have a good system and use it. I would say backing up at least one per month is a must. How much more frequently you back up would depend on how much you save, how value the documents are, how replaceable they are, etc.

When you put this message together with the one we discussed last week, the bottom line is that you will have a system you can trust. You won’t find yourself printing hard copies of documents simply because you don’t think you would ever find it on your computer again. You won’t live in fear of what might happen if your hard drive died.

In the next couple of posts, we will look at some maintenance tips so simple that you will wonder why nobody ever told you about them.

In the end, it is the attention to detail that makes all the difference. It’s the center fielder’s extra two steps to the left, the salesman’s memory for names, the lover’s phone call, the soldier’s clean weapon. It’s the thing that separates the winners from the losers, the men from the boys, and very often, the living from the dead. Professional success depends on it, regardless of the field.
David Noonan

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