Back up frequently and often. That was a personal mantra in the days when system crashes, virus infections, and floppy disks. These days I still follow it, by burning files onto CDs; it’s better to have duplicates of the same file rather than losing them by a careless press of the button. Here are a few tips to help you while making a data backup.
A good thing to remember while backing up is to avoid proprietary file formats. These are formats that are copyrighted to a specific company, like .doc from Microsoft. It may seem unimportant at first, but it can spell a lot of difference. The extra knobs and frills added to your files as formatting can render it unreadable by other programs. Though this problem isn’t very common these days since most applications now try to give support to the most common file formats, it still happens. Better to be safe than sorry about that project you’ve been slaving to finish for weeks. In the case of large graphics I’d recommend saving in a format where image elements or layers can be separate from each other. After each major change, save a copy of the new image separately, just in case you have to go back and alter a completely different thing. It’ll save you from a major headache later. If the large file size daunts you, compress it and label with the date and what version it is. It can shrink by up to a quarter of the original file size. That way you know which zip, rar, or tar contains the image you’re looking for.
Speaking of file compressions, if you want to backup your data in compressed files, make sure to organize your files logically before tarring and zipping. I have to sort my files weekly to make sure my documents and pictures are in the right folders. I have my articles, personal e-mails, blogs, and images in separate folders, so that once I compress them I know where everything went. Label each clearly; this applies to CDs and any backup file you make. I still find zips and CD backups from two years ago in my computer, named only with the date I made them, and I have no clue what they contain. Spare yourself the trouble of opening and checking every one of them.
[tags]security, backup, tips[/tags]