WHY BACK UP?

I was not supposed to turn on the PC today, lest I procrastinate again in finishing the remaining chapters I am supposed to review in Med-Surg. But hey, here I am typing away the minutes I supposed to spend reading my book.



Every PC user's doomsday can be summarized in two words. PC CRASH. Your PC crashing could be equivalent to having a minor heart attack: experiencing palpitations, having cold clammy skin and feeling an impending sense of doom (while imagining your most precious files being eaten away bit by bit, byte by byte). While many of us know from experience that backing up is one very important way of saving yourself from losing life-worth files and starting again from scratch, a few of us religiously take the effort to actually get on with doing it.

In our house, they usually call me when the PC malfunctions or acts as if it would enter a very long coma. What I would normally do is get on another working computer, log on to Google and search the words that pop out of the error screen. The advices from forums or support websites usually restore our PCs to good working order. However, what I dread the most is when the problem is on hardware. While it is bad enough that the PC does not boot-- it is much worst when it ends up with the 'Blue Screen of death' or it does not even start.

Most of us have experienced that time, when out of nowhere, the PC suddenly goes haywire. When I tried to turn on the PC this evening, the lights just flickered and it went dead. Yes, the panic mode sunk in. Of the two years that we have been using this PC (this is supposed to be the high end, crash proof one), it has never acted this way. And so I frantically turned it on and off, like most of us do when the computer starts acting weird, but it just kept doing the same thing. But alas, like any normal PC, it turned on after some random switching. Which lead me to write this post on backing up.

It does not occur to us to do back-ups until the PC is halfway on the path to the point of no return. It did not occur to me to back up until the PC acted as if it could be dead tomorrow. Like the old adage: we do not realize a thing's importance until we lose it. Or in this case, until we lose the chance to do it.

From an internet article I read, hard disks normally falter after two to three years of use. Some are even dead before their first birthday. That's why backing up is not just a task to get on after the computer first crashes, or when we get the time to do it (which God knows when). It is a necessary activity that we need to have a consistent schedule of.

I am not so much of a techie, so the kind of 'backing-up' I know would be to save my files from my hard drive to an external drive (external hard disk or flash drive). For today's dire PC situation, I used Nero BackitUp. It's practically easy since all I had to do was select the files I needed (most of which are movie files) and it does the job for me. Other programs for this purpose are also available. Time Magazine also featured a website which allows one to upload a huge amount of files for free, which could prove useful for this kind of task. If you are an XP user, creating restore points is also effective in bringing back your PC to health.

So before you turn off that PC tonight, put a 'noticeable' reminder on your desktop to get started on backing up. Or better yet, set a consistent schedule. No one knows when the grim reaper will visit your hard drive.

2 comments:

Lala 09 said...

P.

nag-aaral pala pag gabi ha.. hmp.

Anonymous said...

In the world of high-tech engineering, the general rule is that electronic devices follow an exponentially decaying failure probability distribution. This means that if a device works properly during and beyond the duration of a quality assurance test, there is a very high probability that it will not fail in the near future. The dominant factor when attempting to predict the lifetime of any electronic device is the actual lifespan of its constituent materials.

But what about those hard disks that fail within a year you say? The lifespan of any device can be drastically reduced by improper use. Hard disks may be damaged when they are subjected to shock, vibration, and abrupt power loss (especially when writing data). A hard disk is like a vinyl record player. It has a spinning platter which holds the data and a read-and-write head that does what its name implies. Anything that can cause the head to make improper contact with the platter may cause damage. This can be anything from the external causes mentioned above to faulty software and poor computing habits. The peril may be lessened by investing in an uninterruptible power supply and keeping your operating system healthy.

We should all backup our data. But backing up should only be secondary to consciously prolonging the life of the vessels that hold our beloved data.