Backups: the ultimate time and hair saver

Are you creating a presentation that will take you more than a few hours and don’t want to lose it?
Have you ever ended up with a corrupted Microsoft Word file that had something super important in it?
Possibly building the next Snapchat or Instagram application that will make you millions?
Well take a read of this before getting started on your next project.

Backing up your next project (whatever it ends up being) could be just as important as actually producing the end product. Because who knows what could happen from the moment you start until your due date? (If you are doing a last minute/ all nighter project then you can probably stop reading this now, none of this will help you. Maybe you should take more time when you do your next project and then come back and try reading this again)

Okay, okay so enough with the harping on about backing something up. You are probably sick of hearing this from every other person under the sun (and some under the moon). Lets talk strategy…

There is more than one way to skin a cat, and in much the same way definitely more than one way to back something up (not to mention its encouraged you use more than one for sure). So lets work our way through a few…

  • Making a copy: This may sound trivial but making a copy of a file or folder that you are working with and storing it somewhere else on your computer could be a minutes worth of effort that avoids hours worth of heartache.
  • Storing a copy on another device: Hard drives, hard drives, hard drives (oh and USBs, or even magnetic tape if you are still into that sort of thing) could be the best way to store something you are working on. Just plug into the computer once every blue moon (hopefully a little more frequently than that) do a quick save as, or copy and paste and unplug (safely) then you are on your way to a happier life.
  • Cloud storage: Once you stop looking out your window at the real life clouds, we can start talking about the clouds of the internet (for argument sake we can say these are still white a fluffy). Long story short this storage option is online storage. Plenty of providers offer this service, Google Drive and Dropbox being a few that are quick and easy to get into for free. These are possibly even better than a hard drive as once you have saved something in the cloud, you can log into this from any device with an internet connection and continue your work. Best of all some of these come with built in version control (see version control).
  • Version Control: This can a more tech savvy aspect of file management. Long story short its holding onto every change you have made to your file or folders based on each time you save the project and provide it to your version control software. This approach is essential for a computer programmer or developer because if you encounter a problem with any changes you have made to your product, you can reverse back to a working version in a matter of minutes (or even seconds!!).
  • Checking files before copying: This may be common sense to about 99% of you, so good job you can skip this and keep reading. But for that 1% of you it’s time to listen up. Before you decide to copy a version of a file or folder into a different location and override the back up thats already there, open it. Just check everything is where it should be and be performing as it should. The last thing you want to do is override a safe back up with a corrupted or broken file. Then you are really up the creek without a paddle.

Hooray the boring reading is over (if you have skipped straight here to avoid a bit of reading, turn your ass around and get back the the meat and veg in the middle. You can’t have dessert before dinner, it’s just not right). Now that you’ve made it this far, the recommendation is to choose your storage solutions wisely based on the scale of what you are working on, and the time you have (or are going to) invest in it.

For the most secure practice it’s recommended you look at combining making a copy, with a dash of storing a copy on another device and a pinch of cloud storage.

If you have any questions on what could be the right solution for you, or want anymore information on what you’ve read here drop us a line at technologyandtransport@gmail.com and we will be happy to get back to you (with as little smart ass remarks as possible)

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