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It may be helpful. Consider online backups for your important digital documents
12-16-2018, 11:36 AM
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It may be helpful. Consider online backups for your important digital documents
While talking via private messages with a member of this forum, we talked about the sad loss of documents. I believe sharing the tip with everyone could help.

First, I am sorry. I remember when recently I got mailed the hard disk with a lot of pictures of me and my brother from 2009. Unique ones, irreplaceable. The package was poorly made and the HD got quite some blows. While I was seeing the pictures the HD died, and with it all those pictures that will never come back.
There is still a small possibility to send the HD to a professional service paying 400€ euro, but I don't have much hopes.

With that said, it is another sad trend of digital technology. Work on paper can surely disappear, with a fire, a flooding or with careless people that throw away important documents. See "Meanwhile, in Göttingen his housekeeper discarded some of the papers in his office, including much unpublished work. Riemann refused to publish incomplete work, and some deep insights may have been lost forever."

Nonetheless I am increasingly thinking that digital work is even more fragile, especially if one is unaware of the quirks that may happen. In most of the cases the hard drive dies, or the format cannot be read anymore because too old, or the file is corrupted, or by mistake one deletes the file, or the medium were the files are is not readable anymore (a CD rom, and old HD, etc..), or a virus encrypts the information (a ransomware) and so on.

Maintaining digital files over time is no joke, especially when their value grow in time.
For this, after having lost enough things, I started to work to lower he chances to lose important digital documents and I can see that it is costly in financial and temporal terms.

For example for the pictures of my daughter I bought a nas, with the HD in raid setup (so if one dies, the other is still there). But still there are risks. So what I am using, and I suggest it to you too (or to anyone else that has important digital files and some budget) is to setup a online backup. I use OneDrive but there are many (dropbox, backblaze, box, etc..).

With onedrive I pay 10 Euro/month and I have 5 slots (for 5 accounts) where I can save 1 terabyte of data for each account. The pictures and videos of my daughter for now are "only" 70GB, my documents 3GB. Another account is used by the mother to save the pictures she does.

It is useless to say that already losing the pictures when she was in the belly would be worth way more than those 10 €/month.

Why online backups? Because people setup those professionally, especially with redundant data, to lower the risk of losses. It can still happen, unfortunately, but it is more likely that my nas decides to corrupt the files rather than onedrive dying.
Of course I have a automatic routine that every week copies the data from my nas to the onedrive folder.

On a Pc you don't need such things, as one can install the onedrive app and setup it to synch files with a certain schedule. This would tend to save you from sudden losses. I guess you use, as many nowadays, a laptop as a PC. A laptop has no chances to have a raid setup, so the risk is higher.

Last but not least. For documents, that are not that big, another good medium for backups are usb sticks. Pick one to dedicate it only to backups. The quirk of the USB stick is that they need to be powered every now and then. So don't leave them unused for too long, but if you have a routine that backups your document to the USB is already a first level of security.

Also never schedule a backup to continuously synch the content, as a mistake in one place can replicate quickly on the backup (note: Onedrive as the versioning feature. For 60 days it keeps the old content, even if you deleted it. It is a godsend). Doing daily, weekly, monthly backups (in different folders) helps.

I hope it helps.

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It may be helpful. Consider online backups for your important digital documents - pier4r - 12-16-2018 11:36 AM

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