I have written several times about the need to make frequent backups of your data. That's true for all computer users but especially true for genealogists. We often spend hundreds of hours and a significant amount of money collecting data. It's a shame to lose all that when your hard drive crashes.
Reminder: all hard drives will crash sooner or later.
I'm delighted to report a great success story. Newsletter reader Eileen Souza sent the following message.
Dick, I can't thank you enough for your article on backing up to an online service, particularly www.mozyhome.com. This was the best $4.95 per month that I have ever spent.
On Tuesday my external hard drive crashed. This drive contained all my family photos, all my financial records, all my emails and contacts and over ten years' worth of family history research.
Normally, I would have been devastated; but over a year ago, after reading your article, I started backing up this drive to MozyHome. When the crash occurred, I just ordered a new 500 GB hard drive ($99) that arrived Friday and a special restore of my 31 GB of data on MozyHome to be burned to DVD and delivered [via] FedEx next day ($85), which I will receive Monday. Mozy's service is excellent.
While waiting for my data to be delivered, I have been able to download my email, contacts, finance records and various other files that I needed before Monday. So far, all restores have been successful and I have not lost any data. This is a marvelous service.
Since my Western Digital My Book 500 GB external USB drive failed, I have been doing some reading. This type of drive does not seem to have a long life. Mine lasted almost two years. I saw many reports of one year. These drives have dropped in price and are especially good for storing media files. A 1 TB drive can now be had for as low as $114. I guess I want to say, you should be prepared for the short life span, so be sure to back them up.
Again, thank you so much for helping me to prevent what could have been a terrible tragedy and keep up the good work informing us about genealogy and technology.
Thanks for letting all of us know, Eileen. It's great to hear of a success story.