Face it: some sort of data loss is inevitable. Whether it’s a single lost file or a dead hard disk—whether it’s tomorrow or twelve years from now—it will happen. On that happy note, there is plenty you can do about it.
First and foremost, there’s no better method of disaster recovery than having a good backup copy of all your data. Any stolen or damaged hardware is easily replaced, but the data stored on your hard disk is not. Unfortunately, hindsight is 20/20, and if you didn’t back up, there’s not much you can do about it after the fact. So, we’ll begin our discussion with some preventive maintenance before covering any disaster recovery techniques.
There are more ways to back up your data than to store it. The sole purpose of a backup is to have a duplicate of every single piece of data on your hard disk that can be easily retrieved in the event of data loss. Imagine if your computer were stolen and you had to restore a backup to a brand-new computer. Could you do it? If the answer is no, you’re not backed up.
You need to be able to complete a backup easily and often, to store the backup in a safe place, away from the computer, and to retrieve all your data at any time without incident. If it’s too difficult or time-consuming, odds are you won’t do it—so make it easy for yourself.
A bare-minimum backup could be little more than a single floppy disk with your last three or four important documents on it. It’s ...