Why Backing Up Your Computer Is Like Flossing Teeth

Should you back up your computer?

The short answer to that question is:


The long answer to the question “Should I back up my computer” goes a bit like this:

A few years ago I noticed my hard drive was starting to make a lot of noise.

Now, that hard drive always made a lot of noise. This is not uncommon, some drives do make more noise than others. Usually it is not a problem. However; this was more than normal. Not the best sign.

I knew there was a more serious problem when  I began to get errors when starting the computer. If your computer is telling you it has to check the disk and you did not have problems when you power off, you may be buying a new hard drive very soon.

I was planning to buy a laptop soon, so I waited. I waited just a bit too long. I did buy the laptop, but as I started to transfer all my data to the laptop, the hard drive failed.

A great photo of some hard drives and USB external drives
Hard drives and USB External Drives

The good news is I did manage to get quite a bit off that drive eventually. The bad news it that I still lost some important files.

Yes, most definitely you should back up your computer often and reliably.

It is a matter of when, not if, your hard drive will crash.

It does not matter if you use Windows or have a Mac. It is a fact of physics that sooner or later that hard drive on your computer will get to the point that it does not work. The hard drive relies on mechanical means to store data and it will wear out. Imagine how long your car would last if you revved the engine all the way and kept it there for hours. That is how fast your hard drive spins. It will die. Some are better than others, but they all have a limited life.

Many people have no clue until the drive is completely dead that their hard drive is failing.

They lose all their photos. All their music files. All their records. Everything on the computer.

Other people make a serious mistake when they think they are backing up their computer.

They buy an external hard drive.  Sometime the drive is bought because of lack of room on the main drive in their computer. Other times, the drive is bought with the idea of backing up the computer on it.

They plug in the USB hard drive and transfer all their data to it. The important word in that sentence is transferred. They don’t back up the data and make a copy of the data. They transfer the files and still remain with just the one copy of them. They are not any better off than before they bought the extra hard drive. If the new drive fails, they still lose everything.

I openly admit that I am somewhat hypocritical about backing up my computer.

I don’t backup my computer very often.

What is really sad is that I have gone though the pain of having my hard drive crash (I should know better). I should know better. In fact, I have an excellent backup system just waiting for the final touches in order to back up every bit of computer information I own, I just have not spent the time to finish it.

I am too busy telling others to back up their computers. It’s a bit like flossing your teeth. You know you should, but never do.

Actually, some of my most important files are backup. It is just my backups are incomplete and disorganized. I make copies of the same files over and over and still fail to back up others.

What is the best way to back up your computer?

The best backup system is the one you use regularly and allows you to get your stuff back when you need it. The one that works the easiest for you is probably the best for you.

There are many, different ways to back up your computer. They all have advantages and disadvantages. What are they?

I’ll address the different ways of backing up your computer in another post.

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