WAMBUGU: Have you backed up your precious data?

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By SAM WAMBUGU
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Data loss can be caused by many things, ranging from computer viruses to hardware failures to file corruption, to fire, floods, or theft.

If you are responsible for business data, a loss may involve critical financial, customer, and company information.

If the data is on a personal computer, you could lose financial data and other key files, pictures, music or much more precious data that would be hard to replace.

The top risk of losing data is deleting files or parts of texts without backup. Updating files or deleting them is common.

That aside, there are many new viruses which attack computers every day.

Being connected to the worldwide network has many advantages; but it opens computers to many serious risks.

Damages may differ greatly but the majority of viruses affect operating software and damage stored data.

There are many different types of viruses. Often, data loss is just a side-effect of some larger damage done to your operating system.

Computer hard drives are the most fragile; they break down more often than any other devices.

Yet that’s where your data treasure-trove resides.

There are many moving parts inside hard drives, hence the reason they break down so easily.

Various methods could be used to recover data from faulty hard drives, but these services might cost you nearly as much as a new computer.

The worst part is that once you have serious problems with your hard drive, there is no guarantee that even professional service can totally recover your important data.

You may have been, or you know someone who has been, a victim of computer theft.

There is always the danger of burglars breaking into your home and stealing electronic devices.

It is a real tragedy to lose both computer and data.

While travelling, you might leave your laptop unattended, lose it in an airport, conference centre, coffee shop or other crowded places.

Yes, new computers cost money, but very often the data saved on hard disks is more expensive.

Because laptop usage has been growing during the past few years, damages caused by spilling drinks on computers have increased.

The average laptop does not have extra covers to protect its internal parts from getting soaked.

Liquids cause a short circuit of important electronic components which are really hard to repair afterwards.

Hard drives are usually placed in protective cases and may work after getting a little wet. But they could still be soaked, rendering data inaccessible.

Also, bear in mind that, besides hard drives dying a natural death, there may be many manufacturing defects.

There is only one way to mitigate these potential data losses.

Data backup. You need to backup anything you can’t replace.

For most people, this means backing up things you’ve created, such as documents, and things you’ve purchased, like music and movies.

In newer versions of Windows — like Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7 — these files are often located in Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos folders located within the Users folder with your name.

But you should check with your other programs to see if they store these files elsewhere.

In OS X on a Mac, you’ll find most of your important files in your Documents, Music, Movies, and Pictures folders.

Installed programs themselves, as well as files that are part of the operating system, don’t usually need to be backed up because the files don’t usually change and can be easily reinstalled. Software programs also rarely work properly when restored from a backup.

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