In this digital day and age, backing up your data will save you tremendous time, when your disk fails - disk life expectancy is 2 to 5 years - or should your computer be lost, stolen, or damaged. Not to mention heartache, should the data be irreplacable, such as photos or data that exist nowhere else but your hard drive.
And these days the backup process can be so easily automated, for free, quickly and painlessly! Plus this same automated backup process can also synch data of your choosing to other computers and mobile devices, whether owned by you or others!
After attending the excellent webinars on this subject in April by Thomas MacEntee, I checked out Dropbox - and set up the following:
- opened a free account at Dropbox, for free 2 GB storage (2 minutes)
- the above process created a folder on my laptop, labelled "dropbox", into which I dragged each of my 9 major folders comprising "My Documents", one by one, checking sizing on Dropbox website after each - all of my data totalled just over 1 GB, only half of the free 2 GB storage (15 minutes)
- created 2 new folders in Dropbox folder on my laptop, one folder for family and one folder for friends, then dragged files to share into each folder (2 minutes)
- sent invites via Dropbox website to friends & family (3 minutes)
- used my brother's computer to accept my invite to create a Dropbox account for him, then accept my shared folder on his hard drive (5 minutes)
- dragged each of his major folders comprising his "My Documents", into the "dropbox" folder on his hard drive (5 minutes)
- after any major data change on my laptop, and at least once weekly, I check the recently-updated data copies on my Dropbox account to be sure the automated system is working (10 minutes weekly)
Each Dropbox invite you send out that results in invitee installing Dropbox, automatically awards both you and invitee with an additional free .25 GB storage, up to additional 8 GB total (so 10 GB total, including 2 GB starting storage).
You can also earn a one-time additional free .25 GB storage while exploring Dropbox - see "get started" tab on Dropbox website for details.
Backing Up Your Genealogy Data Webinar by Thomas MacEntee, 23 March 2011
Dropbox for Genealogists Webinar by Thomas MacEntee, 21 April 2011