What is a Good Backup Plan?

Dear Computer Lady,

I have XP, with 160 GB. I am approaching 85% full and need to make space. If I put files onto an external hard drive that is 500 GB, it will be an only file location.

Will I need to back up the back up?

Thank you, Sam in Berwick


Dear Sam,

Yes, you will need to backup your external hard drive.

Any time your files are stored in a single location, they are at risk.

An external hard drive is a good solution to your space problem, but if your files are located only on this drive, they would still be lost if that hard drive crashed or was damaged.

My ideal backup strategy usually consists of three copies of my files. Two copies in my physical location, and an additional copy that is stored off site.

When I help small businesses set up a backup plan, we identify the files that are important, we set up a local backup in the office (usually a network storage drive that is synchronized with the computers in the office) and then we create an offsite backup plan as well. Sometimes the offsite plan consists of the business owner bringing home a data stick or external hard drive at the end of every day, while other times it is easier to use a backup service like Carbonite or Mozy.

Since I work at home and don’t travel to and from an office, I keep my off site files with a backup service. That service has saved my data for me more than once.

I hope this helps you set up your backup plan.


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