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Protecting Data: I was working on a Sunday afternoon putting together information for my next book and working on some graphics to upload to the blueprint BOOKS website to list a couple of white papers.

When Word shut down, my graphics program aborted and I got the blue screen of death. Well, this has happened in the past and when I rebooted, everything came back up and I only lost a few tidbits of text.

This time I was completely wrong – the system had a major crash, my hard drive had totally failed. I still thought this may not be such a big deal as I had some backups. The only problem was the question as to when I had last backed up the system. Was it yesterday or was it a couple of weeks ago?

Finally the computer rebooted, it took 40 minutes to boot up completely. I was now praying that I could recover something! Now to open Outlook. It took another 30 minutes and now I knew I was in deep trouble. Now my life was passing quickly before my eyes.

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Protecting Data: I thought I was prepared but obviously I was not prepared enough. I did have a good plan in place for such events and I had implemented most of it. My biggest problem was not checking up on the backup process to make sure it was doing everything I wanted automatically – I simply trusted the system. So what can you do to minimize damage from a hard drive crash?

  • *Use a USB drive or some other device to do a full back up each week
  • *Do an incremental backup each day of the week
  • *Keep you contacts and calendar in several places such as a Treo, Plaxo, or other online service
  • *Keep details on projects on CDs – just remember to update the information on a regular basis
  • *Remove old projects and information from your system by burning them to CDs or using other methods
  • *For accounting information, print your reports once a week and place in a binder
  • *Use your backup system to recover documents or if you do not have a backup system in place, you can always “print” your work as you complete it (not really recommended)

Now is the time to put a plan together for backing up your data. I never worry too much about programs as I can always reinstall if I have to. Although there are excellent ghosting software packages around that will save you the trouble.

Protecting Data: Today I get my new hard drive installed and will be spending the next day or two reinstalling my programs and getting back to normal. I will certainly make sure all my backup systems are working and that I check to make sure everything is in place.