Organizing Your Computer To Backup Your Computer

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I have lots of data on my computer.

I keep all my phone numbers, my time records, my accounts receivable and billings information, my client’s data files for each year for each software that I use, my email records, my wedding pictures, my .mp3 and video collection, and other crap that is just too much to mention.

I am quite organized on my computer .. in fact, this is how I organize my C: Drive …. I am placing a | instead of the backslash so it will show up in here.

|data|

Generally, I keep generic folders under this folder related to the program that is used to create the data. EG ..

|data|excel|
|data|word|

I also keep data separately for different versions of software that I maintain. EG ..

|data|T1-2005|
|data|T1-2004|
|data|T1-2003|
|data|T2-2005|
|data|T4-2005|

And, I also keep things organized for related things. For instance, in my clients folder I will keep templates and for each client the specific word, excel and other data files are stored there. EG ..

|data|clients|
|data|clients|Company1|
|data|clients|Company2|
|data|letters|
|data|letters|lawyers|LawFirmA|
|data|letters|cra|2006|
|data|letters|cra|2005|

I constantly make backups – to another part of my hard drive .. it’s easy! All I have to do is load the windows explorer and copy and paste the DATA folder itself into another folder .. which I call..

|backupdata|

To keep track of the folders and backups, everytime I make a backup to this secondary backup folder, I first create a new directory folder under it, to let me know the date created .. in YYYY-MMDD format. EG ..

|backupdata|2006-0513|
|backupdata|2006-0510|

So, after the backups .. there may be folders that look like this .. (I’ll just post one example)

|backupdata|2006-0510|data|clients|Company2|

I Also Have Lots Of Software On My Computer

Generally, there are three types of program (or non-data) files on my computer. These are the software programs, the pictures, the music and the video files, and other files ‘like that’ that one stores on the computer .. want a backup but, do not necessarily need to backup it up every week. In fact, most of the times, you don’t have to back it up more than once – unless you upgrade the software, or take new pictures or videos.

* General Files all over the place! – I more or less include my pictures and video files in this category. I would store data on my computer like:

|media|
|media|pictures|
|media|video|
|media|music|

I do have one copy of most of my .mp3’s and pictures ‘just in case’, probably made around the Xmas holidays every year. I know – I’m bad. But, I do not grandfather the backup. When I decide to make another backup .. I just xcopy everything over ontop of the existing files, and this way it won’t delete any files on my backup (that I might have deleted on my computer) but instead ‘add’ to the files.

* Program Files – When you are install programs from CD-Rom or zip file .. the installation process usually asks me what folder I want to store the program in. The default is usually in “c:|program files| … I never bother to backup these files. I would never want to restore them either – perhaps UNINSTALL them. When you install files there are so many variables and affects the registry as well. The folders on my computer may look something like:

|Program Files|
|Program Files|Adobe|
|Program Files|Caseware|
|Program Files|Messenger|
|Program Files|Microsoft Office|

* Zipped Installation File – Whenever I download an installation file, I save it in a general zipped files folder, under another folder by that program’s name or website location that I downloaded the software. In my cases, whenever I install a program that I have the zipped file (vs the CD) .. I tend to create my own folders on my computer. The zipped files folder would look like:

|installed programs|
|installed programs|azzcardfile.com|
|installed programs|E-books|
|installed programs|E-books|compilers
|installed programs|eudora5.1|
|installed programs|lavasoft.com|
|installed programs|tax software|2005
|installed programs|tax software|2004
|installed programs|tax software|2003
etc

When I install the programs, for similar programs I would create my own unique folder name. For instance, emails that collect both mine and my wifes, or tax programs for different years might look like:

|EudoraHBS|
|EudoraYKS|
|T1-2005|
|T1-2004|
|T2-2006|

Really, of the above two sections .. I don’t need to backup the installed programs themselves, just the zipped files that created them. I backup it up similar to the music mp3’s and video files .. once if enough every so often to update and add to my collection that I have stored on my computer since the last backup.

And Don’t Forget The Other Stuff On My Computer

I have many blogs and stuff online between two host providers and servers. I prefer to use an old WS_FTP_LE (Light Edition) and file transfer from each domain to a separate domain mirror on my computer. For instance .. I have a complete mirror of:

|PetLvr.com|blog|
|PapillonLvr.com|blog|
|1800HART.com|blog|
|1800HART.com|picks|
|callHART.com|crazy
|Battling-Sites|

When I do my weekly backups from my desktop #1 computer to my desktop #2 computer, or to the pocket 40-gig drive or 1-gig flash drive .. I would normally include backups of these files – that are on the internet. You just never know.

And Speaking Of Blogs and Backups

Blogs are different. There are files out there on the internet that I backup to the above domain folders .. but that is like the software you run on your computer. For blogs, there is data that the programs run – but, it’s kept behind the internet wall .. where you can see it – but, others can’t. Why? So others won’t come and delete or change or steal your data. This data can be just a redirection to another folder or program behind this “www” wall .. like online stores, newsletter and other scripts, etc … or part of something called a MySql database where raw data is sorted and kept in some database and the programs we use out here on this side of the “www” wall just massages into a readable format!

When I transferred a few blogs from one host provider to another, besides copying and uploading the actual program files from one to the other .. I also had to backup the MySql database.

I documented how I do that .. over HERE.

Some Good Links For Now

There are many good sites on the internet that you can read to learn how to do proper backups.

* For instance, here is one site and its article describing how to backup:

The Importance of Backups

Step 1 – Organize Your Data
Step 2 – Plan Your Backup Strategy
Step 3 – Make It Easy
And Finally …. Some Afterthoughts!

>> IT’s A GOOD READ! Check it out!

* If you go to Sallie Goetsch’s “FileSlinger Backup Blog” and sign up to her weekly backup newsletter (in the sidebar) .. she will send you an email every Friday reminding you to make a backup .. plus offer a few tips and suggestions!

>> SIGN UP FOR HER NEWSLETTER! It’s a great reminder!

I hope that these tips and suggestions help give you an idea to organizing your computer, to enable you to make better backups, and more frequently. I can’t stress the importance of making backups! It’s Sooooooo much easier to just copy one folder (drag and drop) such as the |DATA| folder and all its subdirectories, than trying to hunt everything down. You will be happier in case of accidents – Trust me.

Then .. why did this happen to me then?

http://Battling-HeartandStroke.com – Recently .. I added a new program referal script to this blog in early May 2006, and everything in MySql database blog – was destroyed. That put the steam out on blogging for these Battling-sites series for the moment .. I had full and complete backups of all the programs and themes and files on my computer .. but I just did not take that extra step to make sure that there was a backup of the blog data itself. And, to make my life easier, naturally – I even use the WordPress Plugins to backup the data now – and email my @gmail account that I have!

If you have a wordpress blog and DO NOT have the plugin called WordPress Backup Database plugin …. get it and install it.

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