If you are a ‘serious’ PC user, the consequences of a system crash, hard-disk failure or theft can be catastrophic.
Of course, it is always possible to buy a new computer but the loss of valuable business information could easily lead to business failure.
Whatever the ‘experts’ might suggest, recovery of a corrupt Windows system is fraught with difficulties and often involves the complete re-installation of both Windows and applications software while attempting to preserve the user information and restoring it to the correct location.
At best, a tedious, time-consuming and high-risk process.
Actually, the solution is surprisingly simple though rarely practiced by individual and small-business users—you need to do regular backups.
In my view, a sensible strategy is to backup the entire system on a regular basis rather than messing about with the ad-hoc archiving of selected files.
In practice, most problems arise from the corruption of Windows or other software rather than the loss of data.
For backups, I currently use pocket-sized 80 Gigabyte USB disks which are available on eBay or Amazon for about £50.
Instead of Windows Backup, I use the more-sophisticated Norton Ghost (about £37 from Amazon) which can be set up to perform a full backup (say) once a week with regular backups of changed files during the working day.
The software will keep track of the backup ‘sets’ and delete the oldest when it reaches a specified number.
For my own small business, I leave one USB disk permanently attached to the main computer with another in a fireproof safe.
Recovery from a serious crash would take less than 30 minutes though individual files can also be recovered in a few seconds.
Norton Ghost can also backup to various other devices or over a network.