How To Safeguard Your Documents?

How To Safeguard Your Documents

These days, there aren’t many of us who don’t use a computer and for those who use word processing software, data loss can be particularly annoying. It can be infuriating to lose an important document that you’ve spent hours creating, only to find that you can’t retrieve it and didn’t get around to creating a back-up.

Some Tips To Protect Yourself From Data Loss

Do not store documents on the same drive as your operating system

Most word processors save your files to your My Documents folder; this is actually the worst place for them. If you suffer a virus or software failure, most computer problems affect the operating system which means that the only solution is to reformat the drive and reinstall the operating system. If this happens, everything stored on the drive will be lost.

A low-cost way of getting around this issue is to install a second internal hard-drive. This back-up drive will not be affected if the operating system is compromised and can even be removed and put into a different computer if you need to buy a new one.

If you would prefer not to install an internal drive, a good alternative is to buy an external hard-drive which is easily attached to any computer by plugging it into a USB port. Many external drives also allow you one-touch and/or scheduled back-ups; just specify the folders and the software will deal with the rest.

Back up your files regularly, regardless of where they're stored

It’s essential that you back-up your files regularly; really important data should be backed-up twice – floppy disks can be erased, CDs get scratched and hard drives break.

This makes good sense; if you have a second back-up strategy, you effectively double your chances of retrieving your files.

Beware of email attachments

Even innocent-looking email attachments can import viruses into your computer which could result in catastrophic data loss. Be especially careful if you are working on collaboration of documents and are sending corrected copies by email.

Make sure that you set your email program to save attachments in a unique location, or think very carefully before saving an email attachment to your hard drive.

Beware of user error

Data loss often occurs purely through user error. Your word processor includes safeguards like versioning features and tracked changes; so use them. It’s easy to lose data when editing documents and accidentally deleting portions; once the document is saved the parts that were deleted or changed will be lost unless you have enabled features that will store the changes for you.

One way to avoid using advanced features if you’d prefer not to, is to use the F12 key before you begin working on the file to save it under a different name.

Keep hard copies of your documents

It might sound old-fashioned and flies in the face of the ‘paperless office’ ethos, but keeping a hard copy of important files is better than having nothing at all. It won’t save you from having to re-type the whole thing all over again, but at least you will still have the contents.

In conclusion

Complacency is the cardinal sin of data keeping; never assume that data loss ‘won’t happen to me’; put simple measures in place to make sure your data is safe.

Image source: Getty

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