Your Data - Don’t take it for granted!!!
Here in our particular corner of Pcperspective we focus on the Personal Computers Subsystem of Data Storage. Discussing the latest trends in data storage to the proven reliable older standards. Doing our best to assist in what ever way we can. Trying to keep up with the Technology, lending an open ear to whomever. Never losing track of the main objective “Having fun”!!!! Losing your Data is not fun!!!!
The whole Idea of storing Data on your Computer has come along way. Larger cheaper drives allow us to have larger collection of Personal data, Music, Movies, Personal Image collections. If you are like most of us, it is irreplaceable. What types of things that is stored on the P.C. keeps expanding. Small to medium business can keep their Data on a system the fraction of the physical size that was possible just ten years ago. Though they keep hard copies of Records. Computers have made it so much easier to access the data. The time and money lost if you were to lose your Data Base can be enormous.
This brings up the idea how do we keep the data from being destroyed. Even as amazing as an idea of stored data on a Drive or Disk the fact still remains they are prone to failure. It is going to happen. There are to many variables in the equation to keep your data on just one drive. No, we don’t need to store our data at a facility like “Iron Mountain”, but we do need to be prepared. We are not going to be focusing on the medium to large companies needs, as they know what’s at stake. This is more for the little operation.
With hard drives being so affordable, a modern system should not operate on a single HDD. A system would be best suited in many ways if your were to setup a drive for the Operating System and one for Storage. Though this would not be considered a means of backup. Having copies on more then one drive can offer some security. We have seen the prices of DVD writers at such a low most every one is using them now. They make a great medium to store personal data on. Even a Cd-rw can be used if no other means are available.
It is very understandable that not all can afford an army of drives to keep backups on. We will try and cover some ways to do it, from simple means to some more elaborate. Just one note here, even your backups should be checked and tested on a regular bases, as they too can go bad.
The most basic method that in most cases will take time and CD/DVDs is to just make copies of your Data on a Disk. Keep it cataloged and in a safe place. Though if you were to keep up with your data as you acquire it, it will not be as troublesome. Again checking your disks from time to time for problems.
There are many different types of applications that can be used to back up your data. Window does have a backup application include with it, it is called "NT Backup". These programs can write the Backup to many different types of media. Since most of us don't have designated backup device in the form of a Tape drive or something along these lines any safe media will work. There are many here are just a few. Note: Windows Xp Home does not install the NTBackup application. It is on the installation Disk at D:\Valueadd\msft\ntbackup.
Some of the most popular and easiest ways of backing up data at the moment are programs called “Imaging Programs”. What a great tool!! It can be set up to take specific images of data or an exact copy of a whole drive. They can be setup on a schedule. The image can be written to a Drive, DVD or spanned across a series of CDs. They can be used to backup your Operating system in the event of some type of failure within the OS. There are many companies that offer these types of programs here are a list of a few Applications. They can be found at very reasonable prices if you look.
External Drive Enclosures
An External USB/Firewire drives would be a method of backing up to a separate system. They can be found at reasonable prices and easy to setup. You can setup “My Briefcase” to synchronize the data automatically. Programs can be found that can do this also. One recommendation on External drive as backup is to not keep it attached to your system all the time. Keep it safe from the dangers that lurk in the form of Viruses and Hackers or other problems that can affect a whole computer system.
There are many levels of raid that offers redundancy. Raid 0 is not one of them you should never keep your data on a Raid 0 array without some type of regular backup plan. The other forms of Raid do however. Some levels of Raid just will not be suited for the average PC user. The upper level of Power user however has been known to run these levels of Raid. The simplest Raid level that offers data security is Raid 1. It takes at least 2 drives and of course a Raid controller to implement. One drives serves as a Mirror. While data is written to the main drive it is also written to the Mirror. The controller will keep track of the arrays integrity when something goes wrong you will be alerted of a problem and, given an option to rebuild. You can still operate off the failed array until another drive can be put into operation . Once again we should not take this method for granted either. Many things could happen that could affect all the drives in the array.