Why bother backing up my files?

Last Update: May 09, 2013
For most of you that back up your files regularly
  • This is more for your amusement than anything else but it does have a serious message, and for those of you who do not back up your files regularly – please read and beware.
  • We were at my daughters place for a while and I was busy working on my laptop. I had some problem with it before we went visiting and the screen had failed to show anything. About a 100 Euros later the screen was replaced and I was in action again.
  • This was early boot camp time so a lot of work being done and thus a lot of files being set up, web site content being written (copy kept in files till ready), drafts, lists of possible topics – you know the sorts of things we do each day. Research on keywords download of results.
We then moved back home which involved a small flight.
  • So picture the scene if you will. I am sat at my small dining table at home just after returning home, with my laptop in front of me and I am listening to a training video from WA, with my headset plugged into the laptop. My wife is watching one of her TV favourites.
  • Before going any further I should point out that my wife is severely challenged from a hearing perspective and when she watches TV she uses a streaming device for the audio to go into her hearing aids. When she is doing this she is cut off completely from me unless I am in front of her. This means I am kind of super sensitive to any noises as I know she won’t hear them.
Back to the scene.
  • I am well into this training video when out of the corner of my eye I think I see some movement outside the house and hear a noise – I thought. So quickly pause video, take of head set and stand up to look. Then I sense something behind me and turn and leave the table to go out of the French window on to the patio to investigate.
  • What I did not know was that the headset lead had somehow got round my leg – don’t ask because I don’t know now either. The upshot of this was that I dragged the laptop with me as I left the table and the laptop, being unable to fly (is that in Windows 13?) crashed onto the floor.
Disaster Strikes.
  • The noise turned out to be a load of goats who were chomping their way past our house in the field next door as they are wont to do – so no problems there then.
  • Untangling the laptop with a heart that had just dropped through the floor I was amazed to see I could still use it. Breathe a sigh of relief and carry on.
Next morning
  • You guessed it- switch on laptop – nothing. Try all sorts – nothing. And to this day it has refused to come on – well can’t really blame it as I would feel pretty miffed if I had been thrown on the floor like that.
  • Enough of this hilarity – now the serious bit – what about my files? No access equals no files – right – can you imagine! I had been in WA for nearly ten months at that time and all my work is on there – oh no!
Disaster Averted?
  • Okay enough of the suspense, this is not a script for a movie. As I said we had to fly home from my Daughters and I had backed up the laptop prior to flying, as we usually take the device and it’s back up in separate bags in case we lose one of them. So whew - I was able to use the files from the back up device. Of course I had lost that bit of work between reaching home and trying to make my laptop fly.
Serious lesson folks.
  • Disaster can strike at the most unusual of times and in circumstances you would not dream of, like mine, so always take regular backups – please. If you don’t you could lose a lot of your creative thinking instantly and this is the hardest thing to replace – believe me.
Anyone need advice on how to back up, just let me know as I do it even more often now!
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Recent messages
kipper30 Premium
Hi Hudson, thanks for a very amusing read, and for providing me with a call to action. Foolishly, I've never backed up anything, although I know I should. Just something I keep putting off, primarily because I don't know how and don't want to take the time to learn. There always seems to be something more urgent and demanding of my time.
However, now's the time. Any advice on how to back up would be appreciated. Thanks. Kip
Hudson Premium
Hi - thanks for your comment. If you type backup into the search bar here in WA you will find some very good Tutorials from Welshy, Labman and Kyle which are all very good.

I personally have a 232 GB external Buffalo (that's the make), hard drive which cost me about 45 Euros, and I copy all files in Windows under the desktop, (and I mean all files but that is probably an overkill) and then save them on the hard drive to a new file with the date as the name. I keep at least three generations on this drive before deleting the first one (so four copies at any one time). The frequency of back up depends on how busy I am but at least weekly.
Hope this helps and for more detailed methodology please see the Tutorials,

kipper30 Premium
Thanks so much Hudson. I'm going to do it right now!
Freedomseekr Premium
Glad to hear you didn't lose all of that hard work...good thing you backed it up! You just never know. Just a couple of years ago our first computer got pretty much fried from some sort of virus since our antivirus program was not working properly. It would turn on and then freeze making it impossible to login or do anything with it. I did back it up about a month or so before that happened, but we did lose some of the family video files that weren't on the backup.

We had also just put a bunch of our family pictures on file and thought for sure we lost those, but thanks to my brother-in-law who fixes/builds computers we were able to get those back along with the school work my husband was working on for his online college classes. It was a very nerve wracking experience, not knowing if we'd get any of it back or not!

Thanks for the reminder, I do need to backup mine yet for this week!
You can expect to hear from me. I don't back up and I could use some advice. This has been on my mind for the last couple of months.
DarleneN Premium
A cautionary tale! Glad you were able to access the files you had backed up at home! I use Mozy Home to back up my computer. $5 a month for peace of mind.
kaliinozarks Premium
I teach computers and I repaired them for 20 years and I always preach your message - Backup, Backup, Backup. No one listens until they have a disaster.

Rule of thumb, create 3 backups and rotate them. Murphy's Law says when (not if, but when) your computer fails, your backup device might also fail. Then you resort to backup 2, which should have been the day before, if it fails, then you go to backup 3. Odds of all 3 failing at the same time - pretty slim.

Keep one backup offsite in case your house has damage (even a leaky water pipe can destroy PC's and backup drives. Although I haven't used it, the Cloud should be a good alternative.

Good post. But watch, someone in the group will post they lost all their work, and although I can empathize, I won't really feel all that sorry for them because they didn't listen to you today!

normanh2 Premium
Sounds like a great system and would be very interested to know what you use to do this. I was using Norton Ghost but it appears to no longer be available.
kaliinozarks Premium
I have two external hard drives, then I use my old computer as a server and backup. My laptop has everything on it, so if I lost it - life would be over as I know it (LOL). So on Monday, I backup on the first external hard drive; Tuesday the second; Wednesday the old computer; then I start the process over again. I make sure to take one of the hard drives out of the house. I haven't experimented with the cloud yet, I am still uncertain if I want all my personal information (tax returns, etc), floating around on the internet.

Anyway, it seems to work and it's cheap (fits my budget)

By the way, I am now following you!