|Volume 6 Issue 3||March 2012|
|In This Issue|
|Plugging In An External Drive Automatically Backs Up My Computer, Right?|
Many people think that buying an external drive and plugging it in is all they need to do to have a complete backup system. Read on for my advice on this.
|Plugging In An External Drive Automatically Backs Up My Computer, Right?
Over the past few months, a number of clients have bought an external hard drive, plugged it into their computer, and then expected that it would automatically back up their computer with no further effort on their part.
By "automatically," they meant "perfectly, completely, and on an ongoing basis, i.e., forever."
In many cases they got this idea from the many poorly-explained bits and pieces of information out in the world relating to the idea of backing up a computer. In fact, they believed this so firmly, that they were genuinely surprised by what I told them.
The short answer: No, no, no, no, no!
The medium-length answer: No! That's a necessary step, but it's not sufficient!
See my related newsletters:
An external hard drive is a great component of a backup system for your computer. When I explain the different "destinations" we might use to back up the computer, most of the time my clients choose an external hard drive (or USB flash drive) over an online service.
However, hard drives (and flash drives) don't actively (nor automatically) do anything to back up your computer. They are passive receptacles for computer data.
What makes a backup actually take place? Here are the typical ways it happens:
Some manufacturers include backup software with their hard drives. In many cases this software is so limited, it simply does a terrible job. Really bad. Embarrassingly bad. Is it better than nothing? Sure. Would I ever choose to use such badly-designed software over the many other really good backup programs out there? Never.
How to contact me:
phone: (617) 484-6657
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I love helping people learn how to use their computers better! Like a "computer driving instructor," I work 1-on-1 with small business owners and individuals to help them find a more productive and successful relationship with their computers and other high-tech gadgets.