OMG! My computer crashed!

By Julie-Ann Bradwyn

HOW many times have we heard someone say “OMG, my computer crashed and I’ve lost everything”?

Any number of reasons can be the cause – from hardware failure to a power surge, virus the cat knocking the laptop off the desk.  I’ve heard just about every reason and no matter why, it has usually ended in tears.  The loss of emails and most of the electronic documents that we all accumulate over the years we can survive, but it is the loss of critical financial records and the irreplaceable photos of holidays, christenings, weddings and loved ones that really hurt.

Yet it is all so unnecessary and so easily avoided but few people know how.

These days, there are a number of options.  We can all buy a cheap USB stick just about anywhere, even from the local supermarket, to back up our data files on to, but truly, how many of us are diligent enough to do it on a regular basis?  Not I.

Then the other alternative is to buy a portable drive that is attached to the computer.  It has a greater storage capacity than a USB stick and is more robust.  Plus they often come with a program that copies the data from the computer and can be set to do it automatically.  The downside can be that they may only copy your data files, not your programs.  That can be a trap that many people fall into.

If you want to really play it safe, go the extra mile and buy some specialist backup software that you can set to run at a time of your choosing that copies both your datafiles and your programs.  It’s just too easy but so few people know it exists and how accessible it is.

You load it onto your computer like any other program, pick the frequency and time that you want it to run and then voila…., it creates a mirror image of your computer onto your external hard drive at the time you’ve selected.  Too easy.

Mine is set to run every Sunday night at 7:30pm.  By that time, I’ve settled down with a glass of wine to eat dinner or watch TV and I leave the software to do its thing.  It’s a great feeling to know that if my laptop crashes, all I have to do is get the backup loaded onto a new computer or the repaired old one and all of my photos, financials, programs and digital certificates will be back again.

Don’t be frightened off by the upfront cost either – $200 to $300 should cover a drive, the software and also a technician loading it if you aren’t confident to do it yourself.  You can even sometimes download a trial version of the software to try it out and see if you like it before buying it.

Backing up is something that we should all do and we all know it, but did you know how easy it can be?  There’s really no excuse not to.

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