Noob Talk is our series of tips, guides and explanations for the regular computer user.  If you’re an IT person, these articles aren’t for you.  But if you think every Apple computer is an iMac, this will probably help you understand a little more about the computer world.  Our Client Services Manager, Christopher Coughlin, writes the Noob Talk series.

Why you should backup

We need to know that someone has our back during a catastrophic computer failure. Whether it’s a spouse, a best friend, or an external hard drive, you need that extra peace of mind.  Backing up your information is a fail safe in case your hard drive dies. There are multiple options for doing this, and we will get into those shortly, but first we need to know why this is so important.  A great deal of what you have on your computer is irreplaceable. Photos of your baby’s first steps, your business plan, journals, videos — once they’re gone, they are gone for good.

You might be saying “Well, I have an Apple computer, so why does it matter?”  A hard drive is a hard drive… they will eventually fail.  It’s kind of like riding a bicycle: 90% of the time, everything goes smoothly.  But during that extra 10%, you could fall, twist your ankle, or somehow get hurt… so wear a helmet.  Backups protect you during that 10%.  If you hard drive decides to hurt you, your backup will act as your helmet and save the day.

Tragedies, while seldom, do happen.  Fire, flooding, dropping your computer — all more common than we would like.  Then there are the everyday hazards your computer faces: small scale floods (coffee anyone?), viruses, accidentally deleting your wedding photo album, and various other problems. The most common is actually just a simple failure. Hard drives have moving parts, and are subjected to huge stress everyday. If you could look inside your hard drive, it would look like a record player that spins 7200 times per minute! Most people leave their machines on 24/7… the odds are not in your favor.  So, how can you improve your odds?

Backup solutions

Get an external hard drive and save all your important files! Depending on how you want to do it, you can either choose which files to save, or back up your entire system. If you use Apple’s Time Machine, it will backup all of your programs, documents, and operating system… everything will be ready to go if your current hard drive takes a leap off the deep end. External hard drives, however, will only get you halfway there. We recommend multiple backups: one onsite (at your home or office), and one offsite at a safe location. Fires, theft and the like do happen. You want your data to be safe, even in extreme scenarios.

With a service like Crash Plan Pro (a solution MacWorks offers), your computer will automatically backup in the background.  You don’t have to worry about it and we monitor it for you.  It’s affordable, is offsite (offering piece of mind), and backs up regularly.

Backup is insurance for the digital age. Whether it’s personal treasures like photos and music, or that 100 page business plan you’re presenting to investors on Monday — you need to know your information is safe *when*, not if, your hard drive crashes.