Back Up Your Notebooks

By Nick Stam  |  Posted 2002-11-06 Print this article Print

!"> Backing up data is one the most neglected yet vital tasks in computing. Youve read the stories-- few people perform systematic backups, often resulting in crippling data loss and high recovery costs. Hard drive failures, viruses, and theft are among the top causes of lost data. Accidentally erasing important data, aka User Error, also ranks highly. Toss in mobile systems and travel, and it gets much worse: no IT, or home resources to help recover (or restore) data, applications, and the OS. CMS Peripherals, a leader in mobile backup solutions, claims that various studies have shown that one in four corporations do not have mobile backup strategies. Were sure that the percentage of users following a formal and methodical mobile system backup process is even less. Most people understand the importance of backing up, yet they still assign it a low priority –which means it doesnt get done. Discuss backup strategies with users, and theyll either tune you out, change the subject, or tell you about their current half-baked methods.
Certainly some people do backup important data regularly, and others somehow manage to make recent copies of key data. We think most people would embrace a convenient and fast backup, if one existed.
Incredibly long hard drive MTBF numbers – quoted in years -- have lulled us all into a false sense of complacency. But as John Madden might say, the heck with statistics-- before you know it, BOOM! youre hosed. A simple mean cant predict your particular drives performance. While backup isnt the most fascinating subject, we cant emphasize how important it is to do it regularly, or at least soon after valuable data is stored to disk. "Yeah, yeah, another backup story," you say. Its like flossing or changing the oil -- you know you need to do it, you just dont want to be nagged. Then why write this story? Because Im just as guilty as you are, but I got help – in the form of a unique mobile backup solution from CMS Peripherals. In the past, backup solutions required discipline, and often a long, complex, and time-consuming series of steps. Even today, many solutions are complicated, and bloated with features.

Nick Stam Co-Founder, ExtremeTech
Ex-Director, PC Magazine Labs

Nick is a founder of the ExtremeTech website. He worked with co-founder Bill Machrone designing the site, staffing up, and getting initial content developed for ET's formal launch on June 12, 2001. Nick was Senior Technical Director of ET until mid-2003, while concurrently performing duties in PC Magazine Labs.

Nick was a technical director in PC Labs from late 1991 through mid-2002, and was Lab Director from mid-2002 until March 2005. Prior to PC Magazine, Nick was in the computer industry in various development, systems engineering, and management roles since mid-1980, and he received an MS in Computer Science from SUNY Binghamton.

In March 2005, Nick decided it was time to leave Ziff Davis Media (parent of PC Magazine and ExtremeTech) to pursue other opportunities, but wishes all the best to the ET and PC Magazine staff and reader communities!

Nick can be contacted at


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