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Peforming a regular computer backup is vital, whether you’re a high-profile business, or a grandma with cherished photos of your grandkids. As Sandwich Generation caregivers, we often stay so busy juggling duties, we tend to forget to do some kind of backup, whether online backups or backing up onto a cheap external hard drive. As I promised you in the last post, here are the steps I personally take to do my monthly backups.
First I purchased an external hard drive that plugs into my main computer using a USB cord. I really like the Seagate Free Agent, which is a cheap external hard drive that works well, but there are lots of other great drives out there as well. I made sure I got one with plenty of memory to hold all the documents I wanted to back up. (I went to the original icon of My Documents – not the shortcuts – right clicked on it and chose Properties. That showed me the amount of gigabytes my documents were taking up.) Then I added more gigabytes to allow for backing up my Outlook files and a couple of other programs I have – 250 gigabytes total. If you work with a lot of large photo files, you will probably need even more than that. One of my friends just bought a hard drive with a 1000 gigabytes! WOW!
I plugged the external hard drive into my PC. It was plug and play for my Windows PC. It takes a little more work for Mac. I right clicked on My Documents, moved them over to the new hard drive, and selected COPY. When that was done, I went into Outlook, scheduled it to backup directly to the hard drive. I did the same with two other programs. That worked fine for me originally and if you don’t get fancy with your file names, it should work for you as well.
Lately, I’ve had some problems with files not copying because the file name was apparently too long. I discovered a nifty program called FolderClone . They offer a free trial to see how you like it, which I always appreciate. This has solved 99.999% of my problems and is a very easy program to work with.
There are other programs out there that can do the backup for you. If you own a Mac, I love the backup program, Time Machine, that comes with it! I have tried some of the more inclusive programs but they were a little more headache. I finally gave up and settled on this routine as a good compromise. I have all the original disks to my programs, so if my hard drive dies again, I just have to install all the programs, then add back in my documents. It’s not perfect but it’s simple and it works.
All of that was the easy part. The hard part is making sure I do it on a regular basis. I’ve added it to my calendar in Outlook, but it’s really easy to ignore those reminders, especially when caregiving duties keep you busier than busy! Between aging parents and grandkids, I’m the first to admit I often push this off too much. I’ll keep doing my best and encourage you to do so as well .