On Facebook this past week, one of Ol' Myrt's southern California genealogy friends was lamenting the process of attempting to access her data files on her old computer which was barely limping along -- a problem that had necessitated the purchase of a new computer.
This points up the importance of backing up all our data files on a regular basis.
We never know when our trusty computers will decide to hiccup and fail.
THE IMMEDIATE FIX FOR MYRT'S FRIEND
Ol' Myrt's suggestion was to remove the hard drive from the old computer and insert it in a case that has two cords, one to power the hard drive and a second to attach to her new computer via an USB port. Tiger Direct has a variety of such hard drive enclosures, that range from $14-$70 depending on the size and number of bays.
Of course, this solution only works if the problem with the old computer ISN'T the hard drive. What usually fails on my computers is something like a defective mother board, or a bad power supply. I've only had a hard drive fail once since the late 1980s and I did have copies of all my data files except for the previous three days' work.
PREVENTION IS WORTH A POUND OF CURE
Carol Richey is a freelance writer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin who learned about the importance of making frequent backups the hard way. She suggests "Follow the "Rule of Two" and choose two backup options to protect your research. Don't wait until its too late!" See Carol's article "Not it Can't Wait" in Discovering Family History, Jan/Feb 2009. Pages 49-51. Carol looks at choices from CDs and DVDs to online backup solutions. (Ol' Myrt's stuff would never fit on even the currently largest available flash drives.)
So Ol' Myrt's question for her DearREADERS is what backup strategies have you instituted in case of computer failure to either backup or copy the document files, photos, scanned images and genealogy data files on your existing computer system?
Post your comments in reply to this blog entry, and let's see what ideas are working for you.
Happy family tree climbing!
Your friend in genealogy.