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Backup Your Data Even At Home

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data backupData Backup and Recovery for Home Computers – Disaster Recovery in the Home.

If you have a home computer then it is inevitable that at some point something will happen that causes you to lose what’s saved on it, and if you’re primary computer is a laptop then the chances of losing your data are even greater. If you woke up tomorrow morning and everything that was stored on your home computer was gone would you have a way to recover it from somewhere? If you’re like more than half of the people who own a home computer then the answer to that question is probably no. Disaster recovery planning in the home is equally as important as it is for businesses in that we all need our data and can rarely afford to lose it. It is important to note that when we speak of disaster recovery we are not referring to the type of biblical disasters that most people think of when they hear the word. A disaster in computer terminology is anything that causes the loss or destruction of data and can include any of the following:

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Hard drive failure
Operator error
Destruction of data caused by viruses or malware
Electrical Damage
Software errors
Flood or fire
While a computer repair will in many cases be enough to get the computer running again, the data stored on your hard drive such as photos, banking information, documents, taxes, email, etc. will often have been wiped out in one stroke and without some form of off-site backup you may not be able to get it back. When you consider that a standard PC or Mac hard drive has several 3.5″ platters inside spinning at 7200 rpm’s that each contain over a billion magnetic tracks and a magnetic read/write head that rides a thousandth of an inch off the surface of the disk and will damage it if it ever comes in contact (also known as a head crash) it is remarkable that hard drives failures don’t happen even more often than they do. The only way to protect against this is by implementing some form of backup system. The two most common forms of backup for home computer users and the pros and cons of each are as follows:

External hard drive. You can buy an external hard drive and configure it to back up your computer for $100 or less. Pros: You only have to buy it once. Cons: It will be physically attached to the computer so it really only protects you from hard drive failures. Being physically attached to the computer means that any damage or theft that occurs to the computer can also occur to the external drive.
Online backup system. Pros: This is the best form of backup for a home computer since it runs constantly backing up your files as you create them and stores the data in a secure off-site data center. This is much like having the most current copy of your data locked up in a safe deposit box at the bank. Cons: You will have to renew and pay for it again every year.
As owner of a computer repair service center and IT consulting business we see damaged hard drives every week and in many cases we are able to recover the customers data from the damaged hard drive– but there are also many cases where there are mechanical failures and we can not. In these cases the only option is to send the drive to a national data recovery center (clean room) which can end up costing thousands of dollars and doesn’t have anywhere near a 100% success rate. In this case most home computer users are unable to justify the cost and begin trying to accept the fact that their valuable data is gone forever. The right time to begin planning for backups and disaster recovery is right now: before any data loss event occurs. Whether you are able to do the installation yourself or you need to consult a professional, every home computer system needs some form of backup system with which to prevent the loss of your data. If you need help choosing a data recovery solution and getting it set up and installed on your computer it is important to remember that help is just a phone call away.

Jason Roskopf is a Milwaukee computer repair and IT services expert and co-owner of the “IT Connect” Waukesha computer repair service centers.