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Check Your Backups

It isn't enough to just setup a backup for your computer. You need to check your backups and make sure they are really backed up. The classic way to do this is to do a full restore. However, practically speaking, just looking at your backup and making sure your files are there is normally good enough.

You want to check two things:
  1. Am I backing up everything that I need to backup up?
  2. Is what I think is getting backed up actually getting backed up?

Are you backing up what you need to backup?

A couple times a year you should review what is getting backed up and be sure there aren't other things that are needed that are not being backed up. Did you add a new program which stores its data somewhere odd? Review what is getting backed up and what is new and make sure everything is on the backup that needs to be.

Is my stuff really getting backed up?

  • Check Logs at least monthly:
    • MySecureBackup: Open the monitor. Pull down the Logs menu. Select Backup Logs. This lets you know when files were backed up and how many and whether there were errors.
    • Spideroak: Open the program. Select the View Menu. Select the Log submenu. You'll see a list of every file that has been backed up since the last re-boot.
    • Second Copy: The furthest icon on the top to the right is the log button. It will show you whether there were errors and how many files got backed up.
  • Check the actual files on your backup. Once a month, actually go to your backup drive and check a couple of files that are important to you. See if they actually made it onto the backup drive.

List Files to check:

Here are some of the types of files to make sure are getting backed up. They may not all apply to you, but some will.
  • Documents
  • Pictures
  • Video
  • Music
  • Browser bookmarks
  • Emails
  • Email address book
  • Accounting

Doing these simple things regularly, will help prevent a big problem down the line when you need to get a new computer or your hard drive fails.

Date: June 2014

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