There you are busily typing away on your PC or your
Laptop, and all of a sudden the strangest thing happens.
The screen goes black, extinquished like a candle in the
A message appears saying: "The file hal.dll is missing or
corrupt. Windows can not start." Well you know that 95% of
computer glitches are solved by a simple reboot, so
click?oops, can't click, no Windows. Ok then, you reset,
and you think you are sure to be OK when the reboot
Wrong! The same error message appears "The file hal.dll is
missing or corrupt. Windows can not start." How is it
possible for one measly file to kill your system?
DISASTER?What to do now? Phone your tech friend and ask
his advice. He tells you the bad news. You are obliged to
re-install Windows from the original disc! Oh My God! Will
I lose all my programs and data? Yes, you will have to re-
install all your programs. No your data may be safe, but
only if you don't have to reformat your hard disc.
But, your friend asks, I hope you have all your backups.
DO YOU, because that is the key to saving your business.
You know that in today's business world, 95% of your
business information is stored on your computer. This
applies not only to online businesses, but also to offline
ones. In this paperless society of ours, business people
are printing less and less of all their transactions.
Think hard. Where the heck did I hide my original Windows
disc? Really, are you organized enough that you can easily
find your original installation discs, along with the code
numbers they need to re-install.
You own some programs you downloaded off the Net, but they
are stored on your hard drive. Are they backed up? When is
the last time you backed up your data, the lifeblood of
What backup system do you use? Do you use the old-
fashioned tape systems, or do you backup to CD or DVD?
Whichever one you use, the key is that your backups must be
frequent enough to keep you out of major trouble.
Program backups do not have to be constantly repeated like
Data does. Programs do not change, unless you downloaded an
update. Then your update must be saved on your hard drive,
and also backed up.
Data includes so many different things that it's easy to
forget to back up some items. 'My Documents' contains much
of the data, but not nearly all. Do you know where your
Favorite links are stored? Where is your email that you
saved? Along with your email address book, Microsoft hides
these files quite well.
It took me weeks to find, and then remember where they are
hidden in Documents and Settings. I never did find the
email settings, so have not saved those.
Bottom line: what should you back up, and how often?
Whatever media you use, you must have at least 2 current
backups of everything, and preferably 3. If you use CD or
DVD, have you ever noticed how some discs suddenly become
unreadable, and for no apparent reason. It happens oh too
frequently.. I lose up to 15% this way. CDs have an
expected shelf life of maybe 2 years. Some will surely last
longer, too many die prematurely.
Does that mean you should not use CDs or DVDs to back up?
Of course you should. It is the cheapest backup system I know about. But you MUST have more than one copy. I prefer 3.
The proof of this comes when you save your business by
being able to start over because your backups are up to
Imagine if you lose all your programs and have to buy them
Imagine if you lose all your emails that have your
registration codes for the programs you bought online. And
what about all the sales and purchase data in your emails.
What about your contact list, your email lists, etc.
Imagine losing all your accounting data that you must have
for year-end tax reporting!
Enough said. Programs already backed up on 2 or 3 copies only need to be updated by adding new programs you buy, and upgrades that come out.
Data should be backed up based on the frequency of your
transactions. It could be daily, or every 2 or 3 days if
your business is in the early growth stage..
Without backups?your business may be dead in the water!
Don't get careless. You may say I will save a disc or two
by backing up less often. Why? One CD-rom disc costs a
buck. Big deal when it means life or death for your
Why take chances. Can anyone predict when you will have a
problem, a computer crash, a new virus? Of course not.
Don't live dangerously, this is not a thrill ride, it is
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