Category Archives: Backup Applications

Choosing Backup and Recovery Solutions for the Virtual Environment

One of the least popular action words in computing – perhaps not the runaway leader – but it’s up there – backup. 

One of the most expensive undertakings in computing – perhaps not the most expensive – but it’s up there – the painful crisis following a system failure without a – backup.

There’s no need to remind regular readers of the inevitability of a hard drive crash and of the necessity of running with a proactive backup strategy – they get it (I think   Smile  )

But, given the accelerating pace of change in the small business market – most particular in the use of  virtual machines, small business owners may well need a quick refresher in how to implement a strategy which ensure both physical and virtual environments are actively protected.

Here’s a timely guest article from Michael Krutikov, a Product Marketing Manager over at Symantec, in which Michael explains how to get it right.

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imageIn a virtual environment, each host server has the potential to become a single point of failure for business-critical applications. Because of this, businesses need to invest in practically invulnerable backup and recovery solutions that have been specifically designed for the virtual environment – as well as the physical environment.

You could, of course, use one backup and recovery solution for your physical environment and purchase a second for your virtual environment, but that can introduce a whole host of problems that you may not have the time or resources to handle, like the need to manage a second interface, the disruption to your team – who has to learn it – and the cost for a second set of backup hardware and licenses. Instead, most experts recommend streamlining your backup and recovery needs by finding a single solution that protects both environments and will:

  • Provide granular- and application-level recovery. To ensure that you can restore what you need, when you need it, make sure that your backup and recovery solution offers all levels of recovery, including full virtual machine, individual virtual disks, virtualized application & database servers, as well as files, folders and even individual emails. That way, you can get your most critical business components back up and running quickly.
  • Deduplicate (data deduplication is a specialized data compression technique for eliminating duplicate copies of repeating data), across both physical and virtual environments. When you deduplicate data across both the physical and virtual environments, you’re able to not only save large amounts of disk space as compared to compression or single-instance storage, but you can reduce backup storage costs and backup window times, as well.
  • Include storage efficient backup. This improved form of data backup will exclude deleted blocks from a backup to increase your storage efficiency.
  • Automatically convert physical backups to virtual machines. By choosing a backup and recovery solution with this feature, you’re able restore physical servers to virtual machines, and it eliminates the need to have an already-configured, physical server ready to go in case of a failure.
  • Offers physical server and multi-hypervisor support. Because many organizations are running multiple hypervisors, finding a solution that supports them all will simplify your backup complexity, and management – and help reduce your licensing costs.

To ensure that your backup and recovery solution keeps even new virtual machines protected, be sure to look for one that will automatically detect new machines as they come online. That way, your team won’t have to spend time and energy searching for new machines – or editing backup up policies when new applications move to different hosts.

Michael Krutikov is a Product Marketing Manager, supporting Backup Exec since joining Symantec in 2007. With a 14 year career in IT, he now works on marketing partnerships and programs built from thousands of meetings with partners and customers in a constant learning mission to deliver Symantec solutions that can better address their needs.

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Filed under Backup Applications, Guest Writers, Symantec, System Recovery Tools

Tomorrow Is World Backup Day – So, Are You Going To? Backup, That Is.

imageI have some bad news – sad news – for you this morning. Those graduation pictures you treasured, the pictures of your toddler’s first steps, this year’s income tax return which was just about ready to be filed, that resume you just finished updating – GONE – ALL GONE.

Your Hard Drive just quit overnight – never to be booted again. I know I should feel some measure of sympathy for you – but, I don’t.

I’m not trying to be a big meanie* here but, it seems to me, that you are the architect of your own misfortune. A little pre-planning to safeguard your irreplaceable data; documents, digital photos, email messages, personal and business related work, and important private data – could have saved you considerable distress.

If only you had a backup – but, you don’t – do you? I suspect that it’s little consolation but, you’re not alone. Despite the importance of Hard Drive and individual file backups, most computer technicians will tell you that typically, computer users’ do not backup their irreplaceable data.

It’s a little late to tell you this but, if you had been one of the few, out of the ordinary, computer users, who regularly and faithfully backup, you would have had some work ahead of you – but, you would have recovered your data.

All of the above of course, is an imaginary scenario – in fact, your system did boot up his morning. But, that’s hardly cause for complacency.

Redundant information: Just like death and taxes are a certainty, the fact that your computer’s Hard Drive will crash one day and refuse to respond, is every bit as certain.

If you don’t yet have a backup plan, it’s time you thought seriously about developing one. The effort involved in learning how to protect your data, by developing and implementing a backup plan in today’s computing age, is minimal. Much easier than it was, even as little as two or three years ago.

The best backup strategy includes imaging your Hard Drives and partitions, since that allows you to restore your important data, your complete operating system, as well as your installed applications, user settings, etc.

There are loads of free applications out in the wild blue that, used properly and regularly, will speed to the rescue. One of the best free program – one that I have no difficulty recommending is – EASEUS Todo Backup.

This is a brilliant application which will allow you to backup, recover your backups, image your Hard Drives, clone your Hard Drives, and a host of additional features. All of this, in a “follow the bouncing ball” simple, user interface.

If there’s an easier way to backup critical data, I have yet to find it.

The user interface has been designed so that a user with minimum computing experience, should have no difficulty.

image

The following screen captures illustrate the simple process of backing up a particular folder.

image

In this case, I choose the task name, selected the folder to be backed up, selected the backup media/location, and …..

image

Done!

Bonus: You can copy backup images to your personal cloud for data double protection. More info here.

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A ton of options so that you can set the parameters of the task to suit your particular needs.

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Recovery, is point and click simple.

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Additional functions and features are available under the “Tools” menu.

In the following example I’ve run a check on the test backup to verify readability.

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Finding that an image file is unreadable when called upon, ranks with one of life’s low points – well, sort of.    Smile

A quick initial check is a prudent move.

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You’ll have the option of creating a system boot disk. You should do so.

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The “emergency disk” will allow you to boot into EASEUS Todo Backup and then choose from a number of options.

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  Fast facts:

System Backup and Recovery – One-click system backup. Backs up entire system state including the operating system and installed applications on-the-fly without interrupting your work to get the system up in time after crash.

File and Folder Backup – Backs up specified files, network shared files, files in use, folders or file types in case of virus attack, hard disk failure, or deletion by accident, etc.

Disk & partition Backup – Full backup disk(s)/partition(s), dynamic volume(s), or GPT disk(s)/volume(s) to image. It ensures PC security and instant data recovery in case of any data loss.

Incremental Backup – Provide alternatives to perform full backups each time by offering incremental backup. To capture changes saving time & disk space.

Backup Schedule – To run backup automatically at a predefined time. By scheduling a backup task, your system and important data can be backed up now, daily, weekly, monthly.

Disk Clone Tool – Clone or transfer all the data on a hard disk to another. Clone disk is especially useful to upgrade your hard drive to a new one without reinstalling operating systems and applications.

System requirements: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8. (32 bit, 64 bit).

Download at: EASEUS

If you’re looking for a free application to handle all of your backup needs, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in EASEUS Todo Backup. Give it a try.

* In recent years, I’ve written 20+ articles on the importance of backing up critical data and, it distresses me somewhat that they have been amongst the least read articles I’ve written.

Good buddy TeX, summed up the backup issue neatly in a comment to a previous backup article sometime back, when he wrote – There are so many good programs out there for backing up, the problem is getting people to take that whole step seriously. It’s like dying,  “That always happens to someone else” theory.

It’s a point worth considering.

For additional reading on this important task, you might consider dropping by the World Backup Day site – DON’T BE AN APRIL FOOL. Backup your files. Check your restores.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Backup Applications, downloads, Freeware, Hard Drive Cloning, Hard Drive Imaging

It’s World Backup Day – So What Are You Doing About It?

imageI have some bad news for you this morning. Those graduation pics you treasured, the pics of your toddler’s first steps, this year’s income tax return which was just about ready to be filed, that resume you just finished updating – GONE – ALL GONE. Your Hard Drive just quit overnight – never to be booted again. I know I should feel some measure of sympathy for you – but, I don’t.

I’m not trying to be a big *meanie here but, it seems to me, that you are the architect of your own misfortune. A little pre-planning to safeguard your irreplaceable data; documents, digital photos, email messages, personal and business related work, and important private data – could have saved you considerable distress.

If only you had a backup – but, you don’t – do you? I suspect that it’s little consolation but, you’re not alone. Despite the importance of Hard Drive backups, most computer technicians will tell you that typically, computer users’ do not backup their irreplaceable data.

It’s a little late to tell you this but, if you had been one of the few, out of the ordinary, computer users, who regularly and faithfully backup, you would have had some work ahead of you – but, you would have recovered your data.

All of the above of course, is an imaginary scenario – in fact, your system did boot up his morning. But, that’s hardly cause for complacency. Just like death and taxes are a certainty, the fact that your computer’s Hard Drive will crash one day and refuse to respond, is every bit as certain.

If you don’t yet have a backup plan, it’s time you thought seriously about developing one. The effort involved in learning how to protect your data, by developing and implementing a backup plan in today’s computing age, is minimal. Much easier than it was, even as little as two or three years ago.

The best backup strategy includes imaging your Hard Drives and partitions, since that allows you to restore your important data, your complete operating system, as well as your installed applications, user settings, etc.

There are loads of free applications out in the wild blue that, used properly and regularly, will speed to the rescue. One of the best free program – one that I have no difficulty recommending is – EASEUS Todo Backup.

This is a brilliant application which will allow you to backup, recover your backups, image your Hard Drives, clone your Hard Drives, and a host of additional features. All of this, in a “follow the bouncing ball” simple, user interface. If there’s an easier way to backup critical data, I have yet to find it.

The user interface has been designed so that a user with minimum computing experience, should have no difficulty.

image

The following screen captures illustrate the simple process of backing up a particular folder.

image

In this case, I choose the task name, selected the folder to be backed up, selected the backup media/location, and …..

image

Done!

image

Recovery, is point and click simple.

image

Additional functions and features are available under the “Tools” menu.

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For example – you’ll have the option of creating a system boot disk. You should do so.

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Fast facts:

System Backup and Recovery – One-click system backup. Backs up entire system state including the operating system and installed applications on-the-fly without interrupting your work to get the system up in time after crash.

Restore System to Dissimilar Hardware – The feature of “recover to dissimilar hardware” can simplify system migration with restoring system to dissimilar hardware configuration for hardware replacement under WinPE recovery environment.

File and Folder Backup – Backs up specified files, network shared files, files in use, folders or file types in case of virus attack, hard disk failure, or deletion by accident, etc.

Disk & partition Backup – Full backup disk(s)/partition(s), dynamic volume(s), or GPT disk(s)/volume(s) to image. It ensures PC security and instant data recovery in case of any data loss.

Incremental/Differential Backup – Provide alternatives to perform full backups each time by offering incremental backup and differential backup. To capture changes with saving time & disk space.

Backup Schedule – To run backup automatically at a predefined time. By scheduling a backup task, your system and important data can be backed up now, daily, weekly, monthly.

Network Data Protection – Easy way to full backup network data, including network shared files on NAS and Windows, with full backup, incremental backup, differential backup and schedule backup, etc.

Disk Clone Tool – Clone or transfer all the data on a hard disk to another. Clone disk is especially useful to upgrade your hard drive to a new one without reinstalling operating systems and applications.

System requirements: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8.

Download at: EASEUS

If you’re looking for a free application to handle all of your backup needs, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in EASEUS Todo Backup. Give it a try.

* In recent years, I’ve written 20+ articles on the importance of backing up critical data and, it distresses me somewhat that they have been amongst the least read articles I’ve written.

Good buddy TeX, summed up the backup issue neatly in a comment to a previous backup article when he wrote – There are so many good programs out there for backing up, the problem is getting people to take that whole step seriously. It’s like dying,  “That always happens to someone else” theory.

It’s a point worth considering.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Backup Applications, downloads, Freeware, Hard Drive Cloning, Hard Drive Imaging, Software

Free EASEUS Todo Backup 2.5.1

imageIf you don’t yet have a backup plan, it’s time you thought seriously about developing one. The effort involved in learning how to protect your data, by developing and implementing a backup plan in today’s computing age, is minimal. Much easier than it was, even as little as two or three years ago.

The best backup strategy includes imaging your Hard Drives and partitions, since that allows you to restore your important data, your complete operating system, as well as your installed applications, user settings, etc.

There are loads of free applications out in the wild blue that, used properly and regularly, will speed to the rescue. One of the best free program, that I have no difficulty recommending, is EASEUS Todo Backup 2.5.1.

This is a brilliant application that will allow you to backup, recover your backups, image your Hard Drives, clone your Hard Drives, and a host of additional features. All of this, in a “follow the bouncing ball” simple, user interface. If there’s an easier way to backup critical data, I have yet to find it.

Following installation, a restart is required.

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The user interface has been designed so that a user with minimum computing experience, should have no difficulty.

image

The following screen captures illustrate the simple process of backing up a particular folder.

image

In this case, I choose the task name, selected the folder to be backed up, selected the backup media/location, and ….. Done!

image

image

Recovery, is point and click simple.

image

Additional functions and features are available under the “Tools” menu.

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Fast facts:

Backup Management – By Managing backup tasks and plans, you can change a backup task or plan and execute the changes immediately, delete image files, and even convert a disk image.

Mount and Unmount – Mount a disk and partition image to a virtual partition (working as ordinary, logical drives) to explore or copy files in it.

Image Splitting – Split an image file into several files of specified size to fit different storage devices. This feature is helpful to burn the backup file to CD/DVD.

Image Compression – Compress a backup image to save disk space. The higher compression level, the smaller image is.

Check Image – Check the integrate of backup image. You can validate whether you will be able to recover from the backup image.

Disaster Recovery – Restore important files from backed up image and perform disaster recovery just by simple clicks. It ensures quick recovery from system crash, a personal error, hardware or software failure, virus attack or hacker’s intrusive destruction, etc.

Disk and Partition Clone – Migrate or copy all the data on a hard disk or partition to another.

Wipe Data – With this feature, you can erase all the sensitive data on a disk or partition to protect your privacy.

Bootable Media – Run EASEUS Todo Backup from an emergency disk to perform recovery in case of system crash, etc. USB drive, CD or DVD Bootable media can be created.

System requirements: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and Win 7 (32 and 64 bit).

Download at: Download.com

If you’re looking for a free application to handle all of your backup needs, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in EASEUS Todo Backup. Give it a try.

Note: EASEUS Todo Backup 3.0 is scheduled for release in Mid- August 2011. In the meantime, if you’re the experimental type you can download the Beta release – here.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Backup Applications, Backup Tools, downloads, Free Backup Applications, Freeware, Hard Drive Cloning, Hard Drive Imaging, New Computer User Software Tools, Software, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Paragon System Backup – Free For 3 Days Only (Save $29.99)

Paragon  System Backup (3 user license), is available for free until April, 22 9:00am (EST). To take advantage of this offer you will need to visit the Paragon Facebook page and click the “like” button. You will need a Facebook account in order to do this.

From Paragon:

System Backup – Simple, smart and secure technology – plus premium backup options!

System Backup is easy to use and highly automated: out-of-the-box automation for scheduled background protection of your complete system and data. Plus, customizable backup strategy options for specialized individual needs. Choose instant automation or customize each backup detail, System Backup does both with maximum levels of protection and power.

Key Features and Benefits of System Backup:

Software and Hardware Support
Windows 7 support

Accomplish any operation under Windows 7.

update Improved support of 64-bit platforms

There’s no more need for bootable media when modifying system partitions, even with Windows 64-bit operating systems. The program automatically reboots in the Windows native mode to complete operations without any additional commands.

New New Linux kernel

The latest Linux kernel provides support of wider range of hardware.

Automatization Features

update Automated Backup Strategy

Choose between the built-in backup strategy or create your own and the program will keep automatically backing up the system and data on a regular basis. This “Set & Forget” approach provides a new level of flexibility and minimizes user involvement by focusing only on the most relevant options.

New Advanced Backup Strategy

The program has advanced features for configuring backup strategy:

  • Scheduling: fuzzy or precise
  • Snapshot type: auto selected, full or differential
  • Retention policy: number of archives to keep
  • Volumes to backup: all or user selected
  • Exclude masks: exclude unnecessary data from backup image

update Precise Scheduling

Automate the exact time to run backups and lighten your workload.

Backup Features

New Space Saving Options

You can decide storage space saving options for defining whether to create differential snapshots automatically according to the program’s sophisticated algorithm, or to create full snapshots after a defined number of differential snapshots, or to not create differential snapshots at all.

New Backup Object Selection

Define what volumes to protect using backup strategy (every object, or user-defined) to secure really important data.

NewAdjust Backup Process Priority

Backup process priority can be raised or lowered automatically by the program giving you more or less hardware resources available for other running programs and tasks. Available only for automated backups.

update Exclude files and folders

Exclude files or folders from a backup image according to defined masks. Reduce the size of backup images and minimize backup time by excluding unnecessary files such as music, movies, etc.

Smart backup engine

The Smart backup engine distributes resources to other applications when backing up in the automatic mode so that simultaneously running applications don’t take a performance hit.

Backup on-the-fly

System Backup saves your PC on-the-fly without interrupting your current activity. You don’t need to close any of your applications or restart the computer during the process.

Restore Features

Easy restore to a previous state

System Backup restores a snapshot of your PC to the point where it last ran smoothly.

Fast recovery after system failure

Start the recovery process simply by clicking F6 key.

Selective restore

Easily extract files and folders from a snapshot without needing to restore the whole PC.

New WinPE 3.0 Recovery CD

The latest version of Windows Pre-installation Environment provides a wider range of hardware configurations.

User Interface Features

Intuitive user interface

Simple and convenient with contextual help for all user controls.

Advanced notification system

Color indicators in the system tray inform you about the level of danger your system is in and prompt you with ways to repair it.

From the Facebook page:

Simple, smart and secure technology – plus premium backup options!

System Backup is easy to use and highly automated: out-of-the-box automation for scheduled background protection of your complete system and data. Plus, customizable backup strategy options for specialized individual needs. Choose instant automation or customize each backup detail, System Backup does both with maximum levels of protection and power.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Backup Applications, Backup Tools, downloads, Free Full Versions, Giveaways, Software, Software Giveaways, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Gmail Backup 0.107 – Now, More Than Ever, A Necessity

imageWith an uptime of 99.984 percent in 2010, it would be hard to argue with Gmail’s reliability. Unless of course, you happened to be one of the unlucky few who had to suffer through Google’s recent outage (caused by a software bug update), which included e-mail messages, and other data, disappearing.

Ben Treynor, Google vice president of engineering and site reliability, explained the snafu this way – “Some copies of mail were deleted, and we’ve been hard at work …….. getting it back for the people affected by this issue.”

I was amused by the bevy of tech journalist who underplayed the significance of this occurrence – sort of like “What’s the big deal. In the end, all was recovered – back to normal.” But, it is a “big deal.”

Cloud computing, and Gmail fits the definition of a “cloud computing” service – is not without its share of risks. It seems to me, that an absolute reliance on the unquestionable ability of any online storage service to recover from a potential disaster, is foolhardy.

If you’re undaunted by the possibility that Google is not immune from permanently losing your email correspondence, then you’ll see no need to backup your Gmail account.

But, if you’re like me, and you subscribe to a “never say never” point of view, then it would be prudent to backup your Gmail account locally to ensure you’ll have access to important emails – no matter the circumstances. And, Gmail Backup – a free minimalist Gmail backup application will help you do just that, efficiently.

Gmail Backup (which migrated from a commercial application to open source, in September 2010),  is definitely without any bells and whistles, but it does what it says it will do, without any fuss or bother.

The application is designed to backup your Gmail account to a folder on your Hard Drive, and as an added bonus, you can restore back to Gmail.

Prior to using the application, it’s necessary to enable IMAP by clicking “Settings” – “Forwarding and POP/IMAP” in Gmail.

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The application interface is simple and basic, as the following screen capture indicates.

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For this test run, I downloaded 47,142 emails totaling 1.03 GB (that’s 6 years or so of emails), which took  about 8 hours.  The average download speed was an unimpressive 50 KB/s – sloooooow! But, that’s not related to the application – that’s a Google issue.

The application transferred this huge number of emails perfectly. I selected one at random for this test, as indicated by the arrow in the following screen shot.

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Then, I opened that particular email in Thunderbird, to ensure the contents, and the attachments, were accessible.

Gmail Backup Test

Note: You don’t have to backup your entire Gmail account, as I did for this test. You have the option of choosing specific “from”, and “before” dates.

Gmail Backup is certainly not the most exciting application I’ve taken for a spin recently, but it’s basic functionality was impressive.

Not everyone has a need to backup their Gmail account (or agrees that it’s necessary), but if you do, then Gmail Backup is a free solution that’s worth taking a look at.

Note: As with all backups, the local folder should be copied to portable media – just in case.

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, and a Gmail account of course.

Download at: Download.com

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Filed under Backup Applications, Backup Tools, downloads, Email, Freeware, Gmail, Google, Open Source, Software, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Consumer Statistics Survey – 50% Of Computer Users Lost Data In 2010

imageAccording to a survey conducted online by ConsumerStatistics, between December 1, 2010 and December 4, 2010 – most of us are concerned, to some extent, about the loss of family photos stored on our computers. It seems the “concern”, is more than justified.

Of the 6,149 people in 128 countries who participated in the ConsumerStatistics study, 67 per cent reported having experienced the loss of digital photos, and additional files, through a Hard Drive failure, accidental deletion, a malware attack, theft, or exposure to a natural disaster including fire, flood, and so on. I found it most surprising, that just under 52 percent reported the loss of  irreplaceable data within the last year.

Survey methodology:

Survey conducted online between 12-01-2010 and 12-04-2010.

Survey methods include: Email, focus groups, surveys, social media.

Here’s a sample question from the survey: How often do you backup your home PC?

backup frequency

Survey Highlights:

89.1% of home PC users do not perform regular backups.

67.1% of home PC users have lost pictures and files on their home PC. 51.4.% within the last year.

69.2% of home PC users are most worried about losing their digital pictures.

Survey Summary:

The survey conducted found that people do neglect doing proper backups for their home PCs, and put their valuable data at unnecessary risk.

Over 89% of the respondents do not perform regular backups, and of these people, 76.6% have suffered from data loss. Yet, 91.3% of respondents surveyed believe that backups are important.

As a technologist, the survey stats are not a all surprising – data loss is inevitable; and it happens much more frequently than an average computer user might suspect.

As regular readers of this site are aware, there is a cornucopia of free backup solutions, readily available for download on the Internet, which range from the uncomplicated and easy to use, to the more complex specialty solutions designed for power users.

A good example of a simple backup solution can be found in this article –

Free EASEUS Todo Backup – Easy Backup For The Rest Of Us, posted here January 7, 2010. Additionally, a site search here for “backup solutions”, will return 20+ articles on free desktop and online backup applications.

Failure to mitigate the risks associated with the lack of regular backup, defies common sense. Experience tells me that you will experience data loss. Recovery of that data, while not entirely painless, will be possible – if you have prepared for the inevitable.

The ConsumerStatistics study makes for interesting reading, and I encourage you to read the full results here.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Backup Applications, downloads, Free Backup Applications, Freeware, Online Backup, Reports, Software, Windows Tips and Tools