Backing Up Program Files May Not be Worthwhile

I recently had a conversation with a retired businessman about backing up his computer. He said he wanted to backup his entire hard-drive in case it fails. In most cases I don't recommend that people backup their entire hard-drives. Hard-drives have way too much capacity these days and attempts to backup the entire drive are time and resource consuming. The real problem that I have with backing up the entire drive, is that a large portion of the information on typical computers is occupied with disk-hungry program installations and other stuff that is loaded with the software.

Most people don't seem to realize that restoring your program file folders from a backup doesn't usually get your programs working again. Most programs need to be reinstalled from the distribution media. While copying the program files will physically get them back on the disk, many parts of the programs are installed into the host operating system configuration. Without the installation and configuration utilities, the programs don't show up on your start menu or anywhere else. You can't run them until they are properly installed.

Fortunately, most software manufacturers store user data files in locations that are intended for data files, such as the My Documents folder. This makes it very easy to backup what's most important. And you can also skip backing up gigabytes of program files, help files, samples, documentation and other stuff that hogs space on your backup media.

What if you lose your computer and you don't have your programs backed up? As a best practice, I recommend that you keep copies of all of your software installation disks in a safe offsite location. If your computer or hard drive is lost or destroyed, you can simply reinstall your software from the distribution media and then restore your data. This procedure will leave you with a clean system with working software and your data. Attempting to restore programs from backup media is likely to leave you with problems that continue until you start over and reinstall your software.

One last point. Making backup copies of your data only will result in faster backups and less media required. So you will be more likely to get good backups more often. Don't forget to store copies of your backups offsite so that you can recover if your home or office is damaged or becomes inaccessible.

1 comment:

Annie said...

Data failures could be possible that may cause hard disk failure. Data backup becomes very important in such scenarios, which often a lot of people are not aware of. Get an application with good brand popularity already in the market along with open terms and conditions. The article has given me best guidelines. Thanks