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Backup and Save your business!

There you are busily typing away on your PC or yourLaptop, and all of a sudden the strangest thing happens.The screen goes black, extinquished like a candle in thewind.

A message appears saying: "The file hal.dll is missing orcorrupt. Windows can not start." Well you know that 95% ofcomputer glitches are solved by a simple reboot, soclick?oops, can't click, no Windows. Ok then, you reset,and you think you are sure to be OK when the rebootcompletes.

Wrong! The same error message appears "The file hal.dll ismissing or corrupt. Windows can not start." How is itpossible for one measly file to kill your system?

DISASTER?What to do now? Phone your tech friend and askhis advice. He tells you the bad news. You are obliged tore-install Windows from the original disc! Oh My God! WillI lose all my programs and data? Yes, you will have to re-install all your programs. No your data may be safe, butonly 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 yourbusiness information is stored on your computer. Thisapplies not only to online businesses, but also to offlineones. In this paperless society of ours, business peopleare printing less and less of all their transactions.

Think hard. Where the heck did I hide my original Windowsdisc? Really, are you organized enough that you can easilyfind your original installation discs, along with the codenumbers they need to re-install.

You own some programs you downloaded off the Net, but theyare stored on your hard drive. Are they backed up? When isthe last time you backed up your data, the lifeblood ofyour business.

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 befrequent enough to keep you out of major trouble.

Program backups do not have to be constantly repeated likeData does. Programs do not change, unless you downloaded anupdate. Then your update must be saved on your hard drive,and also backed up.

Data includes so many different things that it's easy toforget to back up some items. 'My Documents' contains muchof the data, but not nearly all. Do you know where yourFavorite links are stored? Where is your email that yousaved? Along with your email address book, Microsoft hidesthese files quite well.

It took me weeks to find, and then remember where they arehidden in Documents and Settings. I never did find theemail 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 currentbackups of everything, and preferably 3. If you use CD orDVD, have you ever noticed how some discs suddenly becomeunreadable, and for no apparent reason. It happens oh toofrequently.. I lose up to 15% this way. CDs have anexpected shelf life of maybe 2 years. Some will surely lastlonger, 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 bybeing able to start over because your backups are up todate.

Imagine if you lose all your programs and have to buy themover again.

Imagine if you lose all your emails that have yourregistration codes for the programs you bought online. Andwhat 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 havefor 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 yourtransactions. It could be daily, or every 2 or 3 days ifyour 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 twoby backing up less often. Why? One CD-rom disc costs abuck. Big deal when it means life or death for yourbusiness.

Why take chances. Can anyone predict when you will have aproblem, a computer crash, a new virus? Of course not.Don't live dangerously, this isn't a thrill ride, it'syour life, your business life!

Fred Farahcopyright 2004

Fred Farah

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