Comp-U-News from Comp-U-Talk

November 2006

You can't solve a problem on the same level that created the problem. ~Albert Einstein

You know how they say you should practice what you preach? Well, I learned that lesson again last week. (Yes, I've learned the lesson before - if it wasn't so painful, it would be comical.) So here's the warning: If information is important to you, back it up! And if you are lucky enough to have an automated backup system, don't assume the backup is working flawlessly every night. Check the backup occasionally to make certain it is actually functioning correctly! Trust me, I know! Last week, I lost a server. And then I lost my mind. Only part of the data was backed up and I get to reconstruct months of data.

That's the long way of saying, yes, I know, the link to check your on-line usage is broke. That's because I get to reconstruct the page by pulling information from the accounting system. It would have been so much easier to just restore the files, but the backup was flawed.

So how do you backup important data? If you are a home user or small business owner, you should be burning data to your CD or DVD drive or copying data to an external drive. If you are a medium sized business or have extra money to spare, you should consider some type of an automated backup system, either a tape drive or external drive.

Newer computers come with the ability to burn data to a CD. There are two main types of CD burners. The basic CD-RW (Compact Disk-Read/Write) and the DVD-RW (Digital Video Disk-Read/Write). The CD-RW will hold approximately 700 Megs of Data while the DVD-RW will hold approximately 4500 Megs (aka 4.5 Gig). Most computer vendors also include software to assist in writing data to a CD or DVD disk. The most popular include Roxio, Nero and NTI among others.

While CD and DVD Drives are normally adequate for home use, tape drives and external hard drives are more suited to those with more than 4 gigs of data and/or those who want the backup to happen automatically, without user intervention, on a set schedule. Of course, you pay more for those options. While a DVD-RW drive can be purchased for under $50, an external hard drive can easily cost twice as much and a tape drive can run anywhere from $200 to well over a thousand dollars.

If anything I've said here has sparked a small fear, then that's good. Fear is the first step to correcting what could potentially be a complete disaster. If you are uncertain as to how to proceed, then let's visit. The staff at Comp-U-Talk is fully qualified to teach you how to use the equipment you already own, or help you determine what is the most viable course of action given the amount of data you are safe guarding and the size of your budget.

And just in case you need an extra incentive, this link will tell you how many shopping days (hours, minutes and seconds) 'til Christmas.

To Safer Computing,