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Backups

Have you seen those reminders on the first of the month to backup your genealogy files? This prompting is a gentle reminder to perform a needed task. However, backing up our precious data shouldn’t be a monthly practice. Instead it should be an all the time practice.

While working as a high school technology coordinator, my first experience was with tape backups. I had a pile full of tapes that were rotated to back up the data files on the server. Not only was this an expensive task but it was also difficult to retrieve files from those tapes.

Thus, when I learned of the shareware program, Second Copy, I gladly replaced the tapes with an external hard drive attached to an old desktop computer on the network. Running this program allowed me to schedule the copying of faculty, staff and student files on a nightly basis. Because the files and associated folder structure was duplicated on the external drive, it was simple to restore files when needed.

Not only did I implement Second Copy at school, but I purchased a copy for my home computer along with an external drive. Thus, every night Second Copy does its job and copies files from my computer’s hard drive onto an external drive.

Knowing that I also need an ‘off-site’ backup copy of my files, I take advantage of cloud storage. My genealogy files are all stored locally on my hard drive but also synced to my Dropbox account.

Since my Microsoft account includes a OneDrive account, I use OneDrive to store my music and pictures in the cloud.

In addition to making sure my files are backed up on a daily basis, I also strive to backup my RootsMagic genealogy file. I only have one genealogy file so I just use RootsMagic’s built in feature to prompt for a backup when closing the program. Then I modify the file name to add a number representing the time of day after the date.

This allows me to not only create a daily backup of my file but to create multiple backups during a day if needed.

While this way of backing up genealogy files might not be for everyone, it has worked well for me over the years. I like the ability to search or browse my external hard drives or online cloud accounts in the same way I navigate the hard drive on my computer. I also enjoy a peace of mind knowing that my files are not only backed up locally but in the cloud with little or no effort from me.