Develop a good habit: Back up!

by Cindi Hartman
Training Program Manager

Computer hardware and software are amazingly reliable; so much so, that many people tend to ignore recommendations to regularly back up important files.  It’s very easy to fall into the bad habit of just going about one’s daily routine and ignoring basic maintenance tasks, because disasters simply don’t happen very often and backing up seems like a waste of time.

Inevitably, however, a disaster will occur:  a computer will be lost or stolen; hardware damaged in an unfortunate encounter with the spilled contents of a coffee cup; a natural disaster, or in many cases, your longtime, once-reliable friend eventually succumbing to age and obsolescence at the ripe old age of three or four.

Whatever the reason, when you have to replace a computer or an internal hard disk, having only the original software programs on CDs or DVDs is not enough.  Reinstalling the programs with the original default settings, updating to the latest version and installing any drivers is only your first step. You also need to be able to restore all of your individual work files and any customized settings so that you can get back to work where you left off as quickly as possible.

There are four rules for creating reliable backup:  Create more than one backup, use more than one type of media, store your backups in more than one location, and back up frequently!

In my daily work, I back up my work-in-progress files to at least three locations: an external hard drive that lives in my office, a USB flash drive that I keep on a key chain and take with me, and I use an online backup resource.  If and when I experience that inevitable hardware failure, and even if the disaster is on a scale that wipes out not just one piece of hardware but up to two of my backups, I won’t have to do much to continue working.  I’ll just get a new computer, reinstall my software, update to the most current version, restore my backups, and be off and running with all of my work ready and waiting for me to proceed as though nothing had happened and a smug, self-satisfied smile planted on my face.

Step-by-step instructions to back up Case CATalyst files are covered in the Basic Skills CBT.  At my workshops, I often tell people that backing up files in Case CATalyst is as easy as “A, B, and I don’t even need C.”  At the Manage Jobs screen, I press Ctrl+A to mark all files in my user and Ctrl+B to open the Backup command.  Case CATalyst remembers the last location where I backed up my files and the backup options I’ve previously selected so all I have to do at that point is press Enter and voila – my backup is created.

So if you haven’t been backing up, or haven’t backed up lately, do it now! That way, when that inevitable day comes and you need a backup, you can relax and enjoy that smug, self-satisfied smile.