Backup Your Work

Hard drives crash.  Flash drives go missing.  Files get overwritten.  Bad things *will* happen to your files…it’s only a matter of time.

If being in IT for the past 23 years has taught me anything it’s to plan for the worst possible thing to happen at the worst possible time.  Eventually you won’t just accidentally delete a file, you’ll accidentally delete a file at the very moment you need it most.  The same logic applies to every file, every hard drive and every flash drive you own.  So how do you beat Murphy before he beats you?  Save first.  Save often.  Always backup twice.

Save first.  As soon as you create a new document, the first thing you should do is save it.  Doing this causes most programs to save any additional progress automatically to your saved file as you continue working on a document.  This works for most applications in the Microsoft Office Suite and many others.  Even if the program crashes, or the power goes out, you’ll still have a copy of your file to work from.

Save often.  Each time you make a major change to a document, hit some milestone in your progress, or just have a passing thought of impending catastrophe, you should save your work.  Manually saving, often and regularly, protects you in programs which lack autosave features; it also ensures you capture any important changes which would be difficult to reproduce.

Always backup twice.  Not only should you ensure you are saving your documents as often as possible, you should make copies.  Not just one copy, but two.  Most of us save documents on the local computer under My Documents or its equivalent.  Some of us also back those documents up to a flash drive or the J-drive…most of the time.  A few even backup again to a completely different medium.  Those last few diligent souls have probably lost an important file, or a hundred, in the past and learned their lesson.

Best practices call for a local copy (My Documents or a cloud-synced local folder), another copy on a network share, local backup drive or flash drive, and yet another to off-site permanent storage such as OneDrive for Business.

Luckily we all have access to 1TB of off-site permanent cloud storage through our Office 365 account with OneDrive for Business.  Not only does OneDrive allow you to back up your files, those backups can be automated using a local OneDrive synched folder and they are accessible to you from any device with an internet connection.

Ready to create your backup strategy?  Contact the Help Desk for assistance using “Windows Backup and Restore” or “Apple Time Machine” with an external backup drive, using J-drive and configuring your OneDrive.  Or, if you’d like to get started immediately with OneDrive, click ‘Learn more’ to learn about syncing files to your personally owned computers and mobile devices, or click “Install OneDrive” to find out how to sync files to your campus owned desktop or laptop.

 Chris Spires
Director of Client Services