Everything’s not lost…

Computers are smaller than they were in 1999 but this means they’re easier to steal too. Backing up your data is essential!

The other day I’d been thinking about how I could possibly top my blog about lions (I can’t) and had a brief notion that I might try and write something about how important it is to back up your computer, lest it gets nicked and you lose all your data.

Today I’d been sent to a burglary in Walsall and after the victim realised their laptop was missing, the first thing they then said – as many people I’ve met in the past have done – is that all of their holiday photos were gone.

As such I resolved to sit down that very evening and give a few tips on how to back up your computer to ensure that if worst comes to worst and it does get stolen, or even meet a sticky end with a glass of Tizer, that you’re not at a sentimental loss.

Here we are then – the fruit of my typing, a blog post all about just that very subject!

First things first though, your house should be nice and secure because you’ve followed the tips on our Safer Homes website and made sure that you’re not an easy target for the thieves. Your laptop isn’t left in view, you close the curtains when you’re out and you might even have put up a dummy CCTV camera or two.

Furthermore you’ve registered the most valuable of your possessions on Immobilse. You have a record of serial numbers etc so that if we need to we can record them on our crimes computer and identify recovered goods as your own.

Assuming then that having take these steps, some desperate burglar still climbs into your home with a swag bag and does take your computer, what can you do to ensure that they don’t take your data too?

Your operating system likely has options to back up the data automatically to an external source. Here’s how to do it on Windows XP, Vista/Windows 7 and for all you counter culture free thinkers, OS X.

There are also a variety of free and not so free programs that can be downloaded through the interweb tubes that do similar things but in different ways, giving you more control over what is saved and when the back up takes place.

Backing up doesn’t have to be done through a special program though – the most straightforward way is simply to insert a disc, USB stick or external hard drive and copy any files you need to.

Once you’ve done so you need to do what I do – hide said device or disc somewhere that no one would ever think of looking so that you know it’s safe.

Cursed burial grounds, magical lands found in wardrobes and Walsall Police FC’s trophy cabinet are all good places to hide your back up, in the middle of the floor, under the cat or in the kettle are not.

Getting into the habit of backing up your data regularly is always a good idea and as I’ve mentioned, many of the programs available can be scheduled to run automatically so that you don’t even have to remember to do it yourself.

If physical computer dongles aren’t your thing but clouds are, another good option is to use a service such as Dropbox or Norton 360, both of which allow you to upload data to their servers where it is safe by virtue of being stored in an air conditioned bunker somewhere three thousand miles away.

Burglaries are one of the worst call outs that we get and it’s horrible to see people when they realise that they’ve lost all of the photos they’ve taken of their children over the past three years.

Don’t let it happen to you – please back it up!

P.S. There won’t be any new posts over the next few weeks as I’m off on my jolly holidays, usual service will resume upon my return. In the meantime please keep yourselves entertained by checking out one of my favourite websites, Cats For Gold.

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