Making Backups - Techniques and Solutions

Introspective look into data loss problem, and solutions to avoid this type of eventuality.

Techniques and solutions to avoid data loss.

Episode #1-02 released on September 26, 2010

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This is Technology Questions Answered, Produced by Zed Axis Productions, Hosted by Steve Smith, Episode 2: Making Backups - Techniques and Solutions
Recorded: September 26th, 2010, Available on iTunes and our web-site at

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Welcome back ladies and gentlemen, this is episode 2 of Technology Questions Answered, and today's topic is backups. There are many reasons to make backups, one of the most notable reasons would have to be, to prevent the loss of unique or irreplaceable data on your computers. We store a massive amount of data on hard-drives. Many hard-drives fail for many reasons in only the first two years. You can imagine that things like homework, business documents, your contacts, photos, music, videos, etc... can just be lost. Also, our computers are sensitive to distortions of electrical power, a lot of those distortions are caused by heat, storms, shorts in the walls of our homes, transformers, and lightening strikes. It is important to make backups, and may I insist you make several types of backups to cover all your bases.

For obvious reasons, I will use the most improbable event that could happen. Your house is destroyed by flooding, earthquake or fire. Your insurance company can replace all your belongs, not your data. But what about those photos you took of your house, for your insurance company. I hope they weren't inside the house when it got destroyed? If they were, it would be difficult, almost impossible to have everything replaced. You'd basically start new with nothing. Now, if you made backups you'd be no better off if they were in the house beside your computer.

This is one of the many reasons I decided to make this podcast, to help people solve issues that you'd never think about. They are many solutions to this problem, and I will give you as many as I believe necessary. We will start with the basic types of backups we can make.

Internal removable drives, practical, cheap, and easy to use. You can keep two hard drives in your pc, on for your computers normal functions, and a second that you can remove when you leave the house. We use this type of technology, in our own business place just to make sure we can work on any computer with the same data. You just have to make copies of all your important files so you lose nothing, if they computer fails, or gets destroyed, lost or stolen, you didn't lose anything.

Another solutions is external hard drives, and these have several types. The most common are USB. There is also E-sata and firewire, they all work in the same way, plug and play. You plug these drives into your computer and copy your files onto the drives. I implore you to take these drives outside the house when you leave the house, or have two drives, one for the home, and a portable like a USB jump drive and copy the data on that, as well. Some routers have USB ports as well, such as the D-Link DIR-655, you can make the drive accessible to all computers on the network, allowing all the computers to backup the data to one or more drives.

You could also burn all your data to CDs, DVDs, or Blu-Ray Discs. Although considered a classic solution when it comes to our computers, this is a good way of keeping multiple copies, and is very easily stored in a friend or family member's house. You can even keep them in your safe deposit box. And if your worried about protecting the data on the disc you could encrypt it using True Crypt, you can also use Nero's SecureDisc(TM) included in Nero Express. It protects the discs using a password, and you can't see any of the information without it.

There is also another solution to all these. Don't want to burn discs, too lazy to make backups, need copies of documents to be automatic, and make it portable without carrying a single drive, disc or PC with you. Its called Cloud Storage. Most of us use MSN to chat and email, but most do not realize that there is an extra tool called MSN Sky Drive, the actual program in our computer is called MSN Live Sync, and it backups any document you tell it to back up. Every time you log on it makes sure that it has the latest copy of each document you asked it to back up.

There are many other programs that do the very same thing in Windows, like iDrive, X-Drive, Memeo, Carbonite, etc... If your using Ubuntu, there is Ubuntu One that also backs up each time a document is modified, and Apple has the .Mac program that does this as well.

If you wish to make yourself a small project though, you can use N.A.S., otherwise called Network Attached Storage. This usually comes in RAID to protect the files from hard-drive failure by making the data redundant. These are extremely practical servers for personal use. You can even use a cluster of these in workplaces to have multiple backups. If you lucky enough to have a server, or a few, you can do off-site Cloud Storage yourself, one example would be if you had a server in your house, and your uncle did, too, each machine would talk to each other transferring data to back up on the other server. If one house got destroyed, all the files would still be safe, you could back this all up to servers like Memeo, Inc, or Carbonite and that would make enough copies of the files that nothing could potentially be lost. Of course, if you want to make your own server, you may want to stay tuned to later episodes, as we are actually making a PC based, home server, which we will be running some Linux, and we will be explaining how to build on, or convert an older machine to one.

So listeners, till next week, stay safe, and stay tuned, our next episode will be on Anti-viruses, why we have them, what they do, and why they only serve to tell us that we are infected. If you have any questions or want to find a list of sources, software, hardware suggestions you may find them on our web-site at, as well as a list of important pod casts that you should also listen to. This has been a podcast, hosted by Steve Smith, Digital Technologies Consultant for Zed Axis Productions, Stay Safe and Online. This has been Technology Questions Answered.

Host : Steve Smith | Music : Steve Smith | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Productions

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