NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, August 2006
Why are Backups Important?
By Gene Barlow, User Group Relations
Copyrighted July 2006
gene@ugr.com (click to email author)

Backing up your computer's main hard drive is the most important task every user needs to do on a regular basis. Still, I hear end-users say they have nothing of value on their computers, so they really don't need to do backups. This is not true. I hope this article will help you understand why backups are important to do.

Most users think that the display, keyboard, and computer box are the main parts of their computer system. While the computer hardware is important, the real heart and soul of your computer are the many files stored on the hard drive. These files are what make the hardware run and do useful tasks. Without them, your computer would be useless.

Your computer's hard drive contains two general types of files on it - program files and data files. It is very important that you backup both of these types of files, but you will want to back them up for different reasons.

Program files include your Windows operating system and all of the application programs you run on your computer. Without them, your computer would do nothing. If your hard drive should fail without a backup, then you would have to spend days or weeks reloading all of these program files on your hard drive. This is a lot of work and you may never get your computer to run again like it did before the hard drive failed.

Data files are the files you create using the programs on your computer. These are the most important files you have on your computer. They are the email messages you send, the documents you write, the financial records you keep, your digital photographs and music files. So, when your hard drive fails on you, you will lose all of these important data files. This can be a major disaster for you. Let me tell you about a real situation that occurred this past year.

A member of a user group in California had been taking lots of pictures with her digital camera. She saved these on her hard drive in albums ready to show her family and friends. Her wedding pictures were also saved on her hard drive. One morning, she could not get her hard drive to work. It had failed on her without a backup. She took the hard drive to a company specializing in recovering data from failed hard drives. They analyzed the drive and told her they could probably get most of her photos back and their fee for this service was $1000. She was shocked at this high fee, but all of her photos were very important to her, so she ended up paying this fee. A good backup would have saved her this expense.

Computer hard drives are very reliable today, but they still fail for many reasons. The hardware can wear out and stop working. A more common reason is that the programs on your main hard drive become corrupted and no longer function. It is not a question of if your hard drive will fail; it is more a question of when will it fail on you. You need to be prepared with a backup for when your hard drive does fail on you.

Backing up your computer's hard drive is a fairly simple concept. To backup your main hard drive, you copy all of the files on that drive and store them on another device that you can save away from your computer. Then if anything should happen to your main hard drive, you put a new hard drive in your computer and copy all of these important files to this new drive. You can be up and running again in minutes with a good backup.

Backing up your hard drive is very easy to do with the latest technology. To help you understand more about how to do backups, I have put together a training session titled the Perfect Backup Approach. You can find it on my web site at http://www.ugr.com/tutorials.html. Take a few minutes to watch this tutorial and you will have a much better understanding of how to do backups using the latest technology today.

To help you get started to backup your hard drive, we are running a Summer Special that includes the best backup software available today, Acronis True Image 9.0 Home edition. You can order this top rated backup software product for just $29 on our web site at http://www.usergroupstore.com. The order code for this special is UGSUM06. It normally sells for $50 in computer stores. To make the deal even better, we will include a copy of our Perfect Backup Approach training CD at this special price. Don't wait too long as the summer is coming to an end and this special will not last into the fall.

To make it easy for you to start to do backups, we have prepared a technical paper titled, Using Acronis True Image 9.0 Home edition that you can find on our web site at http://www.ugr.com/newsletters.html. Read and follow this article as you install and start to do backups and it will guide you through each of the steps in doing backups. It couldn't be easier to get started.

That completes this article on the importance of backing up your hard drive. If you have questions on this article or other questions about True Image or your hard drive, send a note to gene@ugr.com and I will try to assist you.

This is one of a series of monthly technical articles that I distribute to those that have subscribed to this newsletter. You can subscribe at http://www.ugr.com/newsletters.html. Watch for them and learn more about your computer and its hard drive. If you do not want to receive these newsletters, simply reply and ask to have your name removed from the list and I will do so immediately. User group newsletter editors may print this article in their monthly newsletter as long as the article is printed in its entirety and not cut or edited. Please send me a copy of the newsletter containing the article so that I can see what groups are running the articles.

Gene Barlow
User Group Relations
Voice: 435-652-3005
PO Box 911600
Email: gene@ugr.com
St George, UT 84791-1600
Web: http://www.ugr.com

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