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Sunday, 2 January 2011

New Year Resolutions - 2

Develop a Data Back-up Routine.

Computer technology has been a fantastic boon to genealogists. Not only can we run sophisticated family tree databases on our machines, we can also scan and keep photos, and store emails, bookmarks, To Do lists, ebooks, genealogy charts, worksheets and lovingly researched biographical stories of our ancestors. Love that machine!

So how are you going to feel if it all that data disappears in one fell swoop?

Technological blips happen. Not often, fortunately, but are you happy to take such a risk? If not, there's only one way to avoid disaster: back up your data. Regularly.

How you choose to do this is up to you. You might want to find an online back up service. Costs vary. Or you might want to buy yourself an external hard drive, one that connects via a USB plug. Again, costs vary, depending on the amount you want the device to hold.

More portable methods include copying all your files to CD/DVD or Memory/USB Stick. (The latter is my preference. For less than 10 Euros, my memory stick holds all my essential data and is small enough to fit in my purse.) It's a good idea to keep your data copy separate to your computer.

Once you've decided on HOW to copy and store your data, make sure you USE it! Regularly. Preferably every time you make any updates. This is one habit you won't regret. Even if you never have a catastrophic technological blip, you won't regret the peace of mind that backing up brings.