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Tips for Using Backup and Restore to Avoid Data Recovery

While no New Jersey data recovery service wishes to lose business, we prefer it if our services are only required as a last resort. That’s why the experts will always tell you about the importance of backing up your computer data. If you don’t already have a backup strategy in place for your home or business computers, it’s never too late to formulate and implement one. Today’s article provides some tips to help with your backup strategy.

The Different Types of Data Backup

It’s possible to employ a range of backup types in your strategy. Which type you will use depends upon how much data you need to regularly back-up.

However much data your store and process on your computers, the first backup you ever do should be a “full” backup of all the data on your computer. This includes backing up the entire operating system and all programs on your computer as well as your documents and other stored files. If your computer is not brand new and you have a lot of programs and stored data, this full backup will be quite lengthy and you’ll need plenty of capacity on your backup storage media. You should also do further full backups as part of your strategy. A good rule of thumb for most home or small business users is to perform full backups on a weekly basis.

An “incremental” backup is used when you want to backup only files which are new or were not included in any previous backup. This kind of backup is fast and doesn’t consume a lot of storage space, but incremental backups do need to be carefully managed. You will need to be sure you can easily locate each incremental backup in the event that you need to restore your data. You might choose to perform incremental backups each day between your weekly full backups.

You can also use a “differential” backup as your daily solution. This is similar to backing up incrementally except that a differential backup will copy all files that have changed since your last full backup. So for example, if you do full backups every Saturday and you create a new file on Sunday, that new file will be backed up each day if you perform daily differential backups. Once you do your next full backup, the file from the previous Sunday will not be included in further differential backups. This kind of backup is a bit slower and uses more storage than an incremental backup, but also gives you a little more insurance in a data recovery situation.

Which Data Backup Types to Use

It can be tricky to determine the best type of backups to use in your strategy. If you are not keen on the idea of carefully cataloging and sorting your data backups, your best solution might be to use only full backups. Although they take time and use a lot of storage space, they do make it very easy when you need to recover lost data with a restoration from your backup. All you have to do is identify the last full backup you did and restore from that.

Performing full backups every day may not be practical though, so if you do create or change a lot of files each day, you will need to add incremental or differential backups to your strategy. In this case it’s probably best to stick with differential backups rather than incremental. If you should have to restore data, you would only need to restore from the last of your full backups before loading the most recent differential backup. If you use incremental backups you must restore the latest full backup that you did and then every incremental backup in the correct order to get all your data restored.

All these decisions can make a suitable backup strategy hard to contemplate. One way to relieve yourself of the complexity is to combine full backups to your own local storage with a second backup process using an online backup service. Online services can manage a lot of the complexity for you and can automate your incremental backups so you don’t have to worry about them.

Test Your Data Restore Processes

Whatever strategy you use for backing up your data, you should test every so often to make sure that you can actually restore your data if the need arises. Nothing could be worse than diligently backing up your data only to find that you can’t get it back when you need it. This has happened to numerous small business and home computer owners who’ve subsequently had to make use of professional PC or Mac data recovery in New Jersey.

There are many reasons why a data restore might fail. For businesses using tapes to store backups, testing should be a priority as tape drives can be affected by dust and dirt over a period of time and the tapes themselves can also wear out. CDs and DVDs too can also become damaged, making the data on them unreadable. It’s far better to do a test restore from these disks occasionally than to find a disk is unreadable when you actually need to recover the data it contains.

Testing that data can be restored will also reveal any problems that occur with restore functionality. Again, it’s no fun finding out that a bug in your operating system prevents you from getting lost data back when you need it. For this reason it’s especially important to test a data restore from your online storage service if you use one. This will ensure that there are no encryption, functionality or security issues which would cause problems if you have a real need to recover your data.

Make Data Recovery Your Last Resort

Implementing an effective backup strategy and occasionally testing your ability to restore data is the surest way to avoid the need for data recovery. Even so, circumstances beyond your control can sometimes intervene. Dave’s Computers are always ready to help if you have to resort to data recovery measures. Fill out the contact form on Dave’s Computers Website and the team will contact you within 24 hours. Alternatively you’re welcome to call on 908-428-9558.

by David Molnar