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Are you backing up your valuable data?


You know that old saying only too well - You never appreciate the value of a backup until all your data is lost. How many of us do in fact carry out a regular weekly or even daily backup? For those of you fortunate enough to have a PC connected to the establishments network whereby automatically every evening at around 9:00 pm the good old faithful backup routine kicks in, does mean that you know your valuable data is covered and the responsibility lies with someone else.

For us free-lancers with our dusty PC's stuffed in the corner of a bedroom doubling up as a makeshift office, usually as you are heading off with great haste to meet a future customer that will guarantee the phone bill being paid, does it spring to mind - oh yes, I must backup my data and then just as quick as it sprang to mind, once again that fleeting idea rests firmly at the back of a long list of more important priorities - or are they?

OK, so you do backup on a regular basis, fresh conscience and you can sleep at night, however are you the one that then places your backup alongside your machine simply as a reminder that you have actually done it (a little smug are we)? What happens if unfortunately you experience a break-in or even worse a fire? This makes the whole process of backing up a waste of time and energy, therefore you need to re-think your backup strategy.

The telegraph have produced an article covering the art of backing up but also suggesting something that is fairly cheap but a medium with large capacity and at the same time easy to use - is this the answer to our nightmare of bad backup routines?

The suggestion is to use DVD, as they are the same size as CD's thus making backup copies easy to transport. There are a variety of different DVD formats available and that is why take-up has been somewhat slow because of the confusion these different formats create. This also is because there are so many different ways of writing information on to disc and they are not inter-changeable, meaning other systems may not read that disc.

Here are some of the formats that are available:

  • DVD-R write-once disc, capable of storing up to 4.7GB.
  • DVD-Ram, a re-writable cartridge that can store up to 5.2GB of data, although this will be soon 9.4GB.
  • DVD-Rom, compatible with MPC3,CD-DA,CD-I Ready, CD-I Bridge, PhotoCD, CD-Rom Mode 1 & 2, CD-Rom XA Mode 2.
  • DVD+RW one system of re-writable disc being developed by Phillips, read by the majority of existing DVD machines.
  • DVD-RW another system of re-writable disc.

If you are evaluating alternative backup routines or have good sound working procedures, please add your comments below, I certainly would not wish to enter into the arena of offering practical backup advice as I still use the good old method of grandfather, father, son routine and this works for me!


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