Data Backup
  Computer hard disks are mechanical machines with moving parts (a spinning disk), and like any machines are subject to failure. A 7200 RPM drive if left on constantly spins approximately 3,773,952,000 times a year! It has been my experience to see cases where a hard drive has worked flawlessly for ten years or so but this is very uncommon. There have been cases of hard disks failing within the first year of use. Often symptoms will appear such as the dreaded "Blue Screen of Death" or messages on startup where the computer runs scandisk every time it is turned on. Viruses can also render a hard drive useless.

The best place to be in any version of Windows is the Explorer. If you are not familiar with the Windows Explorer or managing files on your computer click here for more information. It is advisable to schedule the "Windows File Management class" as well as the "Networking For Teachers" class to gain comprehension as to how to access important files more easily as well as best practices concerning backing up information.

          1.    The majority of users on our network are using some version of Microsoft Office. By default, the data created by the components of MS Office (Word,
                 Excel, Power Point, etc.) save to the folder named "My Documents". Word Perfect users will have to check their version of the program to see the
                 default folder that the work is saved to, example (WP Docs). In short,  for most of us the folder containing your important documents is critical to save.
          2.    Two other files that some people do not think to back up are the e-mail address book and bookmarks or favorites. All e-mail and browser programs
                 allow these files to be saved or exported. They are usually quite small in comparison to document files and fit easily onto a floppy disk.
           1.    Some users have been known to back up their entire user folder in the Netscape
                program. The reason that his practice should be avoided is
because of the size of the
                folder. It contains all of the e-mail including sent messages and trash as well as
               picture content of all of the web
pages that have been browsed. Individual e-mail
              messages can be saved as text documents if necessary in the "My Documents" folder.

        2.    Entire programs should never be backed up. However, the data files, logs, user data,
               etc. within the program should be saved. Most
 programs provide a way to export this



A typical Word text only document is usually between 20 and 50 KB (kilobytes) large. Realizing that a standard 3 1/2" floppy disk has a capacity if approximately 1.4 MB (megabytes) you may be able to fit 30 to 50 files onto a single floppy. Regardless, when saving a file you can choose the "Save As" option and point to the floppy a:\ or some other writable media. Most of us have much more data in our documents folder than will fit onto a standard floppy disk.

*There is a wide choice of media today to save your data to; the floppy a:\ drive is fast becoming obsolete because of the limit of the data it can hold. Below, a typical list of media and capacity are listed:

*    As you can see, data storage has come a long way in a short time. Any of the devices above can be used to store data using the "Save As" option when working with a document, spreadsheet, etc. Another very good option is to backup your data to your user folder on your school server. For information on how to do this click the following link: "Networking For Teachers"