Thursday, November 03, 2005

I Risk Being Stoned as a Tech Heretic: Don't Back Up Your System!

We hear it all the time, we've heard it all our tech lives. Back up, back up, back up. We hear the stories of people who wish they'd backed up, we get nervous that we don't back up as much as we should, we buy this back-up product or that...

I'm going out on a limb. Maybe we shouldn't back up our systems at all.

Now I'm not talking about data. Back up your data. ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR DATA. By that I mean your pictures, your documents, your emails, etc. But you don't need a back-up suite for that. You can just drag 'em onto a CD, or a thumb drive, or even onto that Ipod Shuffle you bought but now don't need because the Nano is so damn amazing.

Or do what I do: just start a Gmail or Yahoo mail account or two or three. Name them something like mybackupphotos@gmail.com or whatever's available and appropriate. And start emailing things like a crazy monkey. Email documents to one of these accounts, Email the serial numbers for your shareware programs, forward important business or personal emails to these accounts, make it part of your routine. Set up a Rule in Outlook or Mail or whatever program you use, so that emails from certain people or with certain subject lines will automatically get forwarded to those accounts. Set it and forget it.

When you back up your system, what you're doing is making an exact copy of the spyware, adware, cookies, bugs, dead registry entries, and all-over crap that might have helped make your system crash in the first place. It definitely was what made it run so slowly.

So back up your data regularly, and if your system crashes, take it as an opportunity to do a fresh, clean install, and marvel at what will seem like a brand new, super-speedy computer. Then use the next year or so to clog it up again with downloaded animated screensavers and buggy card games.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Holy Crap! I have to start doing this!