October 2000 Bulletin

Back up PC files now or regret it later

By Rosemarie Nelson

You know the value of a backup of your practice management information system—it is being done daily. But what about your desktop PC files? Or those of your office secretary? Computers are very reliable, but they do fail occasionally.

A full backup, while very secure, can be too time consuming and impractical. An incremental backup copies only those files that are new or changed since the last full backup. You may find a schedule that dictates a full back up every two weeks with incremental back ups each day best suits the needs for your secretary’s PC for example.

A full backup requires significant storage space and time for the routine backup. A simple option is to save all data files to the server drive instead of the PC’s local drive. The routine server backup provides the individual PC user with all the security of a regular backup at no additional effort.

Alternatively, a more sophisticated network backup service to PC’s on the network is an automatic incremental backup every time the PC user logs onto the network.

Although you may never need to restore a file from your backup, it is best to test the restore process before it is necessary. This will insure that you are indeed successfully backing up your data files, and that you can access the media (backup tapes and disks can wear out over time, so change them at least annually), and that you can find and restore the appropriate file.

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