Companies understand the importance of data. Hardware and software can be replaced, but lost data can’t. Those companies that don’t truly understand the value of consistently backing up critical data are probably mandated to do so anyway by one of the various regulatory requirements such as Sarbanes-Oxley or HIPAA. Companies also have administrators that are paid to be expert in managing data and they are tasked with performing the backups. That is great for companies. What about home computer users?
Computers crash. Malware attacks. There are a wide variety of potential causes for losing data on a home computer. Years worth of digital photographs, income tax and investment information tracked in personal financial software and other such personal data is irreplaceable if lost in some sort of hard drive or data catastrophe. There are many programs available, including the backup utility built into Microsoft Windows, which you can use to back up your data. The question is- what do you need to back up? If you have 200Gb worth of data on your hard drive, the backup could take forever and be very cumbersome to manage. However, it is probable that only a small fraction of that data is truly critical or irreplaceable and needs to be backed up. The backup will be easier to manage and more efficient to perform if you pare it down to only the data that really needs to be backed up.
Microsoft has created a brief guide for home computer users to help them identify the files, or types of files, that are most likely to contain critical or personal information that needs to be backed up. For more guidance, read How to decide what data to back up