Backing Up Your Data

Bad things happen to all people, not just good people. One of the bad things that happens is data loss — one important file, several files, or everything can disappear into cyber-limbo. Here are some common ways it happens:

  • You can simply make some mistake — accidentally deleting data that you can’t get back because you already saved over the file, for instance.
  •  Something can go wrong with your program — an unusual condition that results in your data being changed in a way that you cannot undo.
  •  An interruption in electric power can cause your data to become corrupted or unusable.
  •  A malfunction in Windows can cause your data to become corrupted or unusable. Changing a Windows configuration setting or installing a security patch can do this (this is rare).
  •  The hardware in your computer can fail. Hard drives live only so long, and they usually die suddenly and violently.
  •  If your data is on a laptop, remember that over 500,000 laptop computers are missing or stolen every year in the United States alone. Where is yours, my dear Watson?
  •  A natural disaster such as a flood, fire, storm, or spilled coffee can damage your computer and the data within it.
  •  A virus can erase your data or cause a malfunction that results in your data becoming corrupted or unusable.