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What to back up?

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#1 DonL100


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Posted 17 December 2014 - 03:00 PM

Hi! I'm new at this, I'm 74 and want to know what should be "BACKED UP". I'm confused! I opened a suggested Backup Program to backup my computer....950GB is says. I can't put that on a DVD (4.7 GB). What is an "essential backup" ? Probably passwords but what else? Thanks, Don

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#2 hamluis



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Posted 17 December 2014 - 05:47 PM

Considereing the numbers and types of mishaps that most users have...backing up anything less than everything on the system...returns using a computer daily into a never-ending crapshoot, IMO.


The proliferation of malware today means, IMO, that anyone may have to trash everything on a given system....tomorrow.  If you don't have everything backed up, then you have to start from the beginning.  Considering that many users don't have install disks and the recovery mechanixms implemented by some OEMs seem to be highly unreliable...it seems prudent to me that a user should back up everything considered valuable.


It something is on a system and it's not deemed valuable/useful...then I have to wonder just why the user put those files on the system.


The idea of putting a "backup" of any kind on a DVD...just does not fit the size of operating systems and the realities of files in today's world.  We have flash drives that can store much more data safely...than anyone could hope to put on a DVD.



#3 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 06:38 PM

To add to what Hamluis has said, the mininum you need to back up is your own work.


By this I mean anything you have created or saved on the computer - things like all your docs and spreadsheets; photos, music; hobby files; contact lists; links, log-ins and registrations for downloaded software; and so on.


If a hard drive fails or is terminally affected by malware they are not terribly expensive to replace. Re-installing your OS and applications is normally considered tedious in the extreme but is not usually expensive. Replacing the photos of your grandchildren that were on the hard drive may be impossible - or very expensive.


How much space you require for this depends entirely on how much data you have.


At the other end of the scale, you can make an image of your compete hard drive. This will require that you need storage at least equal to the capacity of your hard drive - some would say double so that you don't need to delete the last image before you do the next one and I would agree with this point of view. Going the image route means that in the event of a serious problem you can reload the compete hard drive from your backup and have it back running quite quickly.


One final point for you to consider. It is a good idea to have two backups !  You keep one reasonably to hand for quick access, and you keep the other somewhere else against the risks of your house burning down. Don't laugh. A transport company I used to work for had a fire which destroyed their offices and main warehouse. They suffered about 12 hours reduction of control of their fleet of trucks due to effective off-site backups.


Chris Cosgrove

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