It is the First Day of the Month: Back Up Your Genealogy Files

BackUpYourGenealogyFilesIt is the first day of the month. It’s time to back up your genealogy files. Then test your backups!

Actually, you can make backups at any time. However, it is easier and safer if you have a specific schedule. The first day of the month is easy to remember, so I would suggest you back up your genealogy files at least on the first day of every month, if not more often.

Of course, you might want to back up more than your genealogy files. Family photographs, your checkbook register, all sorts of word processing documents, email messages, and much more need to be backed up regularly. Why not do that on the first of each month?

4 Comments

Reblogged this on the ties that bind and commented:
This is a great idea. I back up my computer, but not a regular basis. That is a recipe for disaster. Starting now once a month backup!

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How do you test your backup? I am running the backup software that is on my Windows desktop computer and it appears that backups are being made. How would I test them? I may not have room to install everything again on my desktop. I would also like to understand how I would test my Roots Magic backups. If I already have a working copy, where will the backup go and how will I know it worked? If you have already addressed these questions, please let me know how to find your article.

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    You can test your backups at any time by restoring only one or two or a few small files. You could restore them to their original locations although I prefer to restore them to a directory that I call “test.” If you can restore one or two, I’d guess there is a 99% probability you can restre all files.

    The exact instructions for restoring a small number of files will vary from one backup product to another.

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I have found that most backup programs only backup documents and pictures…which probably includes most of what we want done. However, some programs save their data documents somewhere besides the “My Documents” and the “My Pictures”, etc., directories, and they DON’T get backed up! Very frustrating when one’s hard disk crashes and one attempts to recover them. And the backup files usually don’t have a nice readable list of files backed up, either.
I do try to manually back up the files like this (that I am aware of) to a place where the backup program will find them. But that can be a chore! In the earlier versions of Windows there was a type of directory called a Briefcase, that would automatically update itself from these hidden places, but I am behind the curve on Windows 7 and 8. Another item on the To-Do List.

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