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Follow the 3-2-1 Backup Rule to Safeguard Your Files

In the years that I have been using a Desktop / Laptop I have seen many of my friends losing their data due to Hard Drive Failures. Even my Laptop hard drive failed, thankfully I managed to boot it in Safe Mode and recover complete data. But it’s not always the case – most often when you power on your laptop you will be greeted with a BSOD and no amount of restarts, power re cycling would get it back up.

Hard drives die. You want to make sure that you have a system in place to back up your data in the event that one of your drives bites the bullet. One way to do so, and to give yourself a few safety nets, is by following the 3-2-1 backup rule.

If I knew where the 3-2-1 backup rule originated, I’d give credit, but it has become such a common backup philo

sophy that I don’t know who originated it. The 3-2-1 rules goes like this:

1. Keep 3 copies of any important file.
This means keeping your original, plus at least two copies of that original. This builds in redundancy, so that if one of your backups fails, or if a file becomes corrupted, you have it somewhere else.

2. Use 2 different types of media to backup the files.
The idea here is that you don’t want to put all of your eggs in one type of storage basket. So if you back up to a hard drive and also to optical media (like a DVD), you’re protected in the event that one of these fails. In my experience, backing up locally to anything other than a hard drive or network drive is cumbersome, which means that you won’t do it as often as you should. As a result, I bend the rules a bit and count rule #3 as a different type of media.

3. Store 1 copy off site.
If your house burns down, or someone breaks into it and steals all your gear, you’d be out of luck with only local backups. As a result, one of your backups should be offsite. if you can back up to your own drive in an offsite location, or to a family member’s computer.


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