Will Claney, Tech Talk

Five bucks for peace of mind sounds like a bargain

Will Claney, Tech TalkCONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA — Backup is not a naughty word, but failure to do so will cause you to curse like a trooper after things fail and you do not have a recovery plan.

Consider the kind of bad day you would have if something awful happens, like a failed hard drive. Many of us spend hours and hours on our computers, setting them up, preparing and arranging lists and getting work done.

Do you recall the first time you set up your new computer? Do you relish the idea of doing it again? Would you care if everything – all your data files, photos, music, apps, programs and settings – was lost?

With backup and recovery, you’re back in business quickly with all your data, settings and application intact. “Just like it never happened.” (To borrow a phrase from Servpro.)

I am here to help you prepare for that inevitable crash or inadvertent loss of a file. There are steps you can take to be ready for the event – and skip the cussing.

Backup can be easy. Really. If you use Windows File History, it is a simple backup routine. It’s basic, but it does the job well. Set it up once and done. Google “how to set up file history.”

One caveat: You will run out of disk (storage) space at some point, so I recommend a monthly review of your remaining file space and provision more space as needed.

If you have an external backup drive like Seagate, with its proprietary backup software, I don’t recommend using Seagate or its software for backups as they are not reliable.

If you purchased a third-party backup app like 2BrightSparksor or Veritas, that’s good to excellent so keep it up. Backup varieties include cloud storage options like the No. 1 rated Carbonite, Idrive and OneDrive. All are great options.

One snag I should point out is that it is up to you to be the guardian and tech support person to make sure the backup is working.

Perhaps you do not want to be bothered with all the technical gobbledygook but still recognize the risk you are taking and would opt in for backups if the details were managed for you. There are Managed Service Providers (MSP), like ours, that offer full setup, monitor the process and have an endless supply of storage space for home use or servers. Hey, go spend five bucks and keep the cussing directed at the politicians. A small price to pay for having all your data recovered when your device fails.

By the way, DriveSavers, a fantastic data recovery company in Novato, charges about $2,500 for data recovery and takes about two weeks. The choice is yours: Cuss and lose everything, pay excessively in an attempt to recover files, or spend the five bucks.

Oh, I practice what I preach. I backup to a flash drive by drag and drop, to a network drive by File History and to an external drive by Veeam.

William Claney is an independent tech writer and former owner of Computers USA in the Clayton Station. Email questions or comments to willclaney@gmail.com.