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153 - Revisiting the Subject of Backup

My very first bulletin (one year ago, this week) was about the importance of doing backups of your valuable data files. That week, the topic was prompted by a sale on external hard disks. Here's an excerpt from that bulletin. I wrote:

"In Sunday's Denver Post, there was an insert advertisement from Office Depot. On page 6, they offered a 40 gigabyte external hard drive at a price (after a $60 rebate) of $119.99. This is an excellent price."

Well, there's a sale advertised this weekend again, and it will illustrate that computer hardware prices just keep getting better. On the back page of the Sunday advertising insert for CompUSA, you will find a

Compared to one year ago, that's a 50% higher capacity, faster reading (7200 verses 5400 rpm), faster connecting (USB 2.0 connections are FORTY time faster than last year's USB 1.1) for $40 less. Not bad!

Here's the recommendation -
If you have not already done so, now is the time to get moving on this. Installing this hardware is at the low end of the stress curve, so don't let your concerns about getting it started stand in your way. For XP users, it should just plug right in. For older machines, it's only one step harder than that! I am always available to answer your questions or even do the installation for you, if you prefer.

I have two tips for doing this -
First, CompUSA has a bad habit of advertising items for sale and then not having them "at this store" when you go in to buy. The tip is, call ahead to the store to be sure they have one in stock. It might save you a trip.

The second tip is, the rebate procedures are printed in very small type and they must be followed to the letter. I suggest that you make copies of everything you send to them, including the UPC (bar code). If you have to check into it weeks later, they will ask you for everything again.

What follows here is mostly a repeat of the rational I published a year ago, about why you need to do backups and why using an external hard disk is the ideal way to go about this. I just didn't want anyone to miss this great sale price, if you've been procrastinating on this! Have a great week!

Background Information and Rational for External Hard Disk Backup -
Today's personal computers are extremely powerful and offer a dazzling array of application software, well beyond word processing, email, and spreadsheets. Images and sound files are routinely integrated into both personal and business documents. The Internet is used for shopping, checking movie schedules, reading the news, and storing and playing music. You can now research virtually any subject you can imagine. This translates to dramatically increased demand for data storage.

How big is this change? It wasn't that long ago that the standard disk drive offered to new computer buyers was 40 MB (megabytes). At the time, that capacity was thought to be more than enough. Today Windows itself exceeds that amount of disk space. It is not uncommon for new machines to come with 40 GB (gigabytes) of storage. A gigabyte is 1000 megabytes. And that's the problem.

Why is it a problem? In a word, BACKUP. As we began to do more and more things on our computers, we became more and more dependent on uninterrupted access to the data we store there. Ask yourself these questions. How painful would it be to lose all your email addresses? Do you have family pictures you would not be able to replace if you lost them? How about your business records? Could they be replaced quickly enough? How long would it take to get your folders set up again, just the way you like them?

Backing your computer files up has become a serious problem, one which the computer industry has virtually ignored. Why? Because in truth, before today's external hard disks, they had no practical solution for backing up. I can assure you that the day your hard disk dies, or becomes inoperable from a virus or a messed-up install program, the realities of having no backup will hit home with a thud. A BIG thud. Please take this advice seriously.

Backing up has to be practical -
Backing up has to be practical, or it doesn't get done. By "practical", I mean:

It's available now -
There is finally a practical way to back up today's massive hard disks. The solution is to backup to one of the truly affordable external hard disk drives. The unit detailed in the opening section of today's bulletin, and below, has all the preferred features at a really great price. Computer Skills Group has no interest or affiliation with CompUSA and we provide this information purely as a service to our customers. I believe that all of your current machines already have USB, meaning this external disk should just plug in.

I am strongly recommending that you consider purchasing one of these external disks, if not during this sale, then as soon as your budget will permit. Prevention is sooooo much easier than repairing the problem and this is the right solution.

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