Back Up Your Precious Data
Updated 3/3/2011 by SuperMediaStore Staff

Back Up Your Precious Data


When devising a backup strategy, you have to ask yourself: "Just how important is my data?" Are we talking goofy Internet video clips forwarded to you by a co-worker, or vital files such as family photos and financial documents (taxes, account balances, etc.)

For home archivists, a CD writer and an endless supply of CD-Rs are your best defense in any backup battle. And, no matter the quality of your media, if you drop your discs on the floor or the family dog confuses it for a Frisbee, you're in a heap of trouble. To avoid such data disasters, it's important to keep a working copy of your files as well as an archive copy. Use the working copy when you need to revisit files and keep the archive copy tucked away for safe keeping.

And while handling your CD-Rs, keep in mind that the most sensitive part of your disc is actually the top, which contains the dye layer. If you scratch it off, your data is doomed. When labeling your archive copies, remember that markers and adhesive labels tend to degrade rapidly, taking your data with them. If treated properly, some higher-grade CD-Rs can last as long as 70 years!

DVD-R drives can read information stored on a DVD or CD, giving you the best of both disc worlds. A DVD can store at least 4.7GB of data (seven CDs' worth) and can even store a full-length movie with better quality than a VHS tape. If you need a way to back up that real-time documentary of your new baby, a DVD is the way to go.

If a computer crash is the most terrifying scenario you can think of, then backing up your data on a writable disc or external hard drive could be enough. But what if your home burned down? If your data is truly priceless, then storing backup copies somewhere outside your home is worth the effort: better safe than sorry. If your level of concern is somewhere in the middle, then consider removable data storage media, such as an external hard drive. It creates a mobile backup solution that can be transported off-site for increased protection and security.

  • If you work from home, it's a good idea to back up every day, and perform a full backup at least once a week.
  • Test your backup process (and your ability to restore) at least monthly or quarterly.
  • Store one copy of your full backup outside of your home or office for security and safety.

There are different software programs designed for backing up information. This type of software can provide one or all of the following features:

  • Full system backup
    Creating a backup copy of all your files on a regular basis.
  • Custom backup
    Creating a backup copy of specific files based on your own preferences.
  • Complete system restore
    If experiencing configuration problems, a complete system restore enables you to recover a fully usable system.
  • Custom restore
    A custom restore can reinstall your applications while restoring all your preferences. This method gets you up and running after a crash.

Many CD and DVD writers come loaded with this software. Consult your local technology retailer for more information. You can also drag important files into your CD-burning software for instant security.

Having copies of your important files is pointless if you can never find them. That's why accurately and legibly labeling your backup discs is crucial. LightScribe Direct Disc Labeling technology allows you to create your own lasting laser-etched labels on CDs and DVDs. No messy, data-corrupting markers. No incomprehensible smears. No sticky paper label that could peel off and jam your drive. Just professional-looking labels burned right onto your disc, so you'll always know exactly what is on your archived discs.

This article is provided to inform and inspire, and is not intended to replace professional guidance and services. Your system and software may be different from what is described and LightScribe is not responsible for troubleshooting or system failures.