Are your computer files safely stored?


You get home after a nice night out with some friends, you decide you want to upload your new pictures to Facebook. You go over to your pc and press the power button, the green light goes on, and the computer fan goes on, a few minutes pass and you are still staring at a blank screen. A few moments later the pc beeps, then you get a message on your screen that says “No physical disk present.” Oh yeah, did I mention that this is the computer where you keep everything, pictures, music, videos, documents, etc.

So what do you do?

Let me say this, with today’s cloud computing, you have plenty of other options that you can apply. If you have an iPhone, you can sync your picture across multiple devices, including online servers. There is dropbox, icloud, and a host of other tools that allow you to save your work.

This article is meant for someone like me that has terabytes worth of data, data that you may not necessarily want online, or maybe you just feel more comfortable using physical hard disks. In any case, if you are someone that only takes pictures, and has a few docs, maybe you would be better off looking into one of those online solutions.

Enter Synctoy! Synctoy is a simple, free Windows based application, the application gives you the ability to create identical copies of your data, mirroring a folder or drive after another. It is super easy to setup and is definitely worth the few minutes it takes to setup and configure.

Last night I decided that it was time to run an incremental backup on my primary data drive. The way I have my drives setup is like this: at home I have 2 drives, both are two terabytes. I have a folder on one of my drives where I keep all the data that I like to backup. On the second drive I setup a folder with the same name, and every few weeks I run an “ECHO” backup.

Basically what an “ECHO” backup means is that the first time you run the backup, everything is copied from the original drive to the backup drive.  After that initial first time full backup, the system then checks and mirrors only changes on the original drive going forward. If you delete a file from the main drive, when you run the app it will see this change and delete the file on the backup drive. There are several other options such as never deleting anything and just copying new data, and a few others that you can check out. I always use “ECHO”.

I also have an extra portable drive where I do the exact same thing. Then of course I have my disaster recovery drive where I again do the same exact thing, the difference with that one is that I keep that drive at a different physical location than the others. Hence the name, “Disaster Recovery” drive.

Finally I also use the cloud option to store smaller amounts of data, for instance my own music, my friends music, pictures and other miscellaneous items I have deemed important enough for yet another form of backup. I don’t do all all the music or videos I have, though at one point when I was playing with the Samsung S3 I did upload all my music to Google play and I also have plenty of work on YouTube.

Don’t wait until your computer dies to consider looking into data backup solutions. You want to do this BEFORE a computer catastrophe happens! I can assure you after spending 16 years in the technology industry that drives and computers most certainly do die! On the trading floor, the life expectancy is set to about two years, thankfully this isn’t always the case, but after that second year it is not uncommon that we spend a lot of time on our knees replacing and rebuilding hard drives. Don’t even get me started on why we are not using any one of the many pc-less options!

So stop what you are doing, take a few moments and check out synctoy, or look into cloud backup options for your data. You’ll be happy you did it! On the other hand, if you don’t, and  your pc dies, you’ll wish you did!

Note the date on a post as it may be an old point of view. If you learn that your views are wrong, yet they remain the same, then you are a fool.

The opinions and views expressed are solely those of the author.