Computer Backups and Cobian

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By Ryan Williams, - I am often asked what is the best way to backup work and home computers. Today, just about everyone understands the importance of backups. If you don't, consider this: 100% of hard drives will fail at some point. They are mechanical devices with moving parts. They will fail.

In my opinion, the only way for a backup scheme to be successful over the long run is for it to be automated. A program you might want to consider for this is Cobian Backup. Cobian Backup is a FREE simple backup program developed by Luis Cobian. The program can be executed as either a normal application or as a Windows Service. (Normal applications have to be initiated by a user, either by logging onto the computer or by manually launching the application. Windows Services, on the other hand, do not have to be initiated by the computer user. As long as the computer is turned on, the program is running.) The program can schedule automatic backups for files and directories locally, to shared folders on other computers or to FTP servers, and it can use file compression and encryption.

You can download Cobian Backup here:

I recommend backing up to external USB hard drives or file servers. For laptop users, I recommend having two backup jobs scheduled. One to backup to a USB drive in your office during lunch, and one to backup to a USB drive at home when you bring your laptop home in the evenings. This way you have multiple copies of your data in the event something happens to either location.

The most important thing is to get at least one backup every day with the process being automated. There are other automated ways to backup office computers which require a network administrator to implement. However, even if you have one of these solutions in place, I still recommend having personal backups of your own. You cannot have too many backups, and I have had to fall back to them too many times to leave anything to chance.

If you have never implemented anything I have recommended in this blog, please do this. Backup your computer daily. Hard drives do fail. I see it all the time.

Happy teching,

Ryan Williams

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