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Prevent data loss

My brother, who works for a large IT company, told me years ago that there are two types of people he deals with - those that have lost data and those that will lose data.
If you belong to either, this would be a good time to take care of your valuables and avoid the frustration and misery that goes along with crashed hard drives, ransomware, or co-workers generating additional space on network drives.
At least one of the above is likely going to affect you at some point, but until it really happens, there is usually little incentive to set up a backup system.
At some places, IT does it for you, but if their system fails, it is you who is left with the mess. Although there is no absolute security, a practicable solution should involve at least 2 redundant copies of each file on site and a third copy at a different location (e.g. at home or at a friend's house vs. at work).

The Problem:

As you accumulate gigabytes or terabytes of data, backups can take a long time - especially, if you do it manually.

The Solution: 

Get a tool that copies only files that are not already backed up to an external hard drive. You can take this drive on the road or store it remotely. Among the free utilities, I like freefilesync best. It allows you to compare multiple drives or folders individually and synchronize or mirror content. It also exists as a portable app (that means you don't need to install it but can run it off any drive by copying the folder with the software).


Some professional backup utilities create a single “backup file” that contains all your individual files. The drawback is that you can have a hard time extracting a single file. SyncToy is another free utility that does the same job, but it is not developed any longer and about 10x slower than FreeFileSync. The update process can be automated by combining it with a task scheduler.


Keep two backups of your data (preferably one on a network, one locally, and one on an external drive). To automate the backup process, you can use software such as freefilesync.

Figure 1: Anybody can lose data. The older you are, the more data you lose - and the unhappier you will be.

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