Priceless Data

Recently I was called to help a local business with trying to recover some important files. Unfortunately I was unable to recover the files and the cost to that business to recover from that loss could easily be $5000 in time. Shortly after that experience I was looking at my business and web development files and I estimated that if I lost all of those files I would be looking at roughly two months worth of work that would need to be recovered. That would not recover all of my lost data but would get me back to the point that I could continue. A rough estimate of cost would be $3000 to $4000 dollars. The other night I spent an hour or two looking through this years worth of photos to put them together as a present for family. There is no way for me to place a price on those photos and the memories that they captured. They are priceless. Matthew and EricaOne thing about computers, they can automate tasks very well and considering the cost of hard drives that are available now there really is no excuse for not backing up data. For myself I have three different types of backup of my business and personal data like photos. I use a regular batch file to do a copy of the data to other hard drives on the network, I use MozyPro to backup all of my data online and offsite in case we have a fire or flood here in our house, and roughly every six months I backup all of my projects and photos to DVD.

If you are using Windows you can easily create a batch file to run a simple xcopy command to backup your data to an external or another hard drive on your network. For example I have a batch file called weekly.bat stored in my document folder that is scheduled to run once a week. The file has one line in it that looks like this (I used some default names in this line, you will have to edit it for your computer).

xcopy /f /e /y "C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\My Documents\*.*" "\\BackupServer\Weekly\My Documents\" All that happens is the Windows scheduler runs the batch file weekly.bat once a week with that command in it. The xcopy command creates a copy of my files on another computer on the network that I store backups on. You could easily do a similar batch file for copying to an external hard drive, you would just have to change the path of where you want the data copied to. It might not be a perfect solution, but it works well. I don’t delete the past weeks copy before the new one so if I had deleted a file from the documents it would still be in the backup.

For more information on the xcopy command visit the Microsoft website. Some information about the switches I use with the xcopy command:

/f : Displays source and destination file names while copying. /e : Copies all subdirectories, even if they are empty. Use /e with the /s and /t command-line options. /y : Suppresses prompting to confirm that you want to overwrite an existing destination file.

If you don’t have an extra computer and hard drive you can use the same method with an external hard drive. I have read good things about the Western Digital MyBook External Hard Drives. I have one on my wish list for 2008.

If you don’t want to muss around with batch files and old DOS commands you can use Mozy Online Backup. They offer 2gb of space for free for home users and their package for home users start at $4.95/month. I was hoping to have a new December promotional code for MozyHome but I have not been able to get one yet. If you need to backup your business you will need to use MozyPro. That is the package I have and it is very economical at only $3.95 for a license and storage at only $0.50/GB per month. A ten GB/month backup is under $9.00/month. $9.00/month x 12 = $108.00 versus $4000-$5000.00 to restore the data after an accident and that is the data that can be restored. You can’t retake the photos and the memories they captured, they are priceless! What a small price to pay to know your data and photos are safe.

Categories: tools