I think / hope, we all know how important it is to have a good backup. You make backups for disaster recovery after a hard drive crash, a stolen laptop or computer or in case of a virus.
Make it every day.
On computer networks the backup runs automatically every night, servers are running 24/7 and at night users are not logged on.
On your laptop or desktop computer you need to make backups manual, you turn the computer on when you need it and after your work you turn it off (save electricity, save the planet). You need to make you backup manual and it is a good behavior to do it as last thing of the day.
Where do you write your backup to?
The easiest thing to write your backup on is a USB stick or a USB drive. You plug in your USB stick of drive and copy the data. If you are smart, you are using multiple sticks of drives, each day you use another stick. If you have three sticks, you are overwriting the first stick, the next day the second stick, the next day the third stick and after that again the first stick again, etc. In case of a damaged USB stick or drive you always have the other ones.
You can also use a NAS drive which is in your network. Keep in mind the three USB sticks and write your backups to different drives on your NAS. If one drive fails, you always have the other.
If you are using the NAS for your data, write the backup to another NAS or other data device so you know your data is backed up.
Keep your backups safe.
In case of a serious problem like a fire of water damage, you will be happy if your backup is not lost. Don’t keep your backup with your computer!!!
So you take your backup with you, but now you have the problem that everyone can read your backup.
Encrypt your backup devices with encryption software. Microsoft has Bitlocker as a free product on Windows 8 and Windows 10 (and also on some versions of Windows 7), but there are many other products to encrypt your USB stick of drive.
How to make a backup
The easiest way is copy and paste your data to your backup device, but this takes also the most time (it will copy and overwrite all files).
I use an old, but still working, tool from Microsoft called SyncToy
You can download Microsoft Synctoy here
. SyncToy will first look at the changes and copy only the changes or new files.
If you are using SyncToy, chose for “contribute” so the files you delete on your computer will not be deleted on your backup.
Microsoft does not guarantee the working of Synctoy on systems newer than Windows 7, however I have used it on Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 without any problem.
Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, etc.
This looks really the easiest way of making backups. You store files on your computer in your Dropbox (Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, etc.) folder and the computer will sync them on the internet.But ...... most of the time when you delete a file, it is gone.
PLEASE WHATCH OUT !!!!
A couple of my customers had have a virus / rootkit which automatically encrypt all files and only if you are paying money you can decrypt them. You file will be encrypted and automatically synced on the internet …… you will not have your original files anymore and have a really problem, so before you decide to use a (free) cloud solution, be sure you can use "Previous versions".
Microsoft One Drive, Google Drive and Dropbox have a "Previous Version" function.
Making a Cloud backup the way I do it.
It sounds a little bit crazy, but I work in my c:\prod folder. For the backup I sync it to my OneDrive folder on my local pc (you can use also Google Drive or Dropbox) and I let this folder synchronize to the cloud.
The first sync on my local pc is done with the Microsoft Synctoy with the Contribute option on (no files are deleted on my OneDrive folder).
Making an archive.
If you are have a good backup procedure, you can keep a backup device for a longer time. For example each month a new stick or maybe better, at the end of the dive season backup everything to a stick or drive (better make the backup several times on different devices in case of a crash of your backup device) and keep it.
Now you can clean up your old seasons and start with a clean system the next year.
I normally keep 3 seasons on my computer and if I need older information, I look at backup sticks.
Work with a structure.
How better your data is organized on your hard drive, how more easily you can create a backup.
The ScubaStudents program places all information in the c:\prod folder. I you look in this folder you will find the database and different folders for students and staff members. Making a backup of the prod folder is making a backup of all ScubaStudents files.