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source: Taber Andrew Bain

Quick Tip: Backup, Backup, Backup

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blue screen of death
source: Taber Andrew Bain

There’s nothing worse than the feeling of turning on your computer and receiving the “blue screen of death.” Whether you’re a Mac or PC user, there is always the possibility of your hard drive crashing or your computer getting lost or stolen or some other disaster that leaves you without special pictures or important documents.

The key, of course, is to backup. Regularly.

You need to have a system in place to make sure your files are backed up, and if you don’t yet have one, you need to get one, preferably today or this week at the very least.

I’ve heard countless stories from moms who’ve lost an entire year’s worth of pictures, and that’s probably the most heartbreaking loss of them all. Our kids are only small once, and the pictures from their childhood will be treasured for a lifetime.

So what’s the best way to backup your pictures and documents? I’m not sure there is one best way, but here are a few different remote services to consider:


Several months ago, a friend introduced me to Dropbox. At the time, I had gotten behind in actually backing up my pictures and documents, and I was also struggling to share files between my desktop and laptop (at some point, emailing files to yourself just gets old). Dropbox solves both of these issues, and I actually now keep all of my files in my Dropbox folder so that they’re automatically backed up and available on both computers. There’s even a public folder that allows you to share files with other people without giving them access to your main files, which is great for files that are just too big to email!


Mozy was the first online backup solution I came across, and I used it faithfully until we moved to a house that only had satellite internet, making picture backups painfully slow. At $5 a month, this service is inexpensive enough to justify the cost in almost any budget. Even better, if your data consists of mostly documents and spreadsheets rather than pictures and music, you can set up a free account with 2 GB of storage space.

External Hard Drive

Another option is to simply purchase an external hard drive like the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex (500 MB) and store all of your photos and documents on that. If you’re worried about the security of your files, this keeps them local to your computer/hard drive rather than “in the cloud”, but if you’re worried about fire or other disaster, you still run the risk of the files being destroyed

For my documents, any one of these services is enough security for me, but when it comes to my pictures, I want to be sure, so I always upload them to my Flickr Pro account, create a DVD to be stored in my parent’s fire-proof safe and add them to my Dropbox account. I really can’t imagine losing the pictures of my girls, and this way I can sleep at night without worrying about them!

Do you backup regularly? Have you ever lost important files because they weren’t backed up?