In this increasingly digital age, people are storing important content on their computers. Some back up their data and others do not. Even if you are one of the small percentage of folks that do back up, CDs and DVDs, the common choice for home computer users, are devices prone to failure.
Each hard drive has a MTBF (mean time between failures) which is essentially the life expectancy of a hardrive. The higher the number, the longer lasting the harddrive. An average computer harddrive has an MTBF of 400,000 hours and thus should last at least 45 years. In reality, though, the life expectancy of a harddrive is three to five years. In order to preserve your information, you must move your data from your existing harddrive within that 3 to 5 year period else face the risk of losing it or paying for an expensive data recovery service. A single scratch to a CD or a DVD and you may not be able to read any information.
Kim Novak lost her autobiography which was stored on a computer in her home. A fire in the home destroyed the computer and her writing. I would guess that many of the authors who visit here would be sick in their hearts in this happened to their computers. As an ebook aficianado, the loss of my hundreds of ebooks means significant expense. If my computer was destroyed in a fire, my insurance might cover the cost of replacement but not if my harddrive failed.
An ebook lover, or any author who doesn’t write their articles in longhand (everyone by JK Rowling), needs a good backup system. The lowest cost option (otherwise known as free) are online backup services. Here are five of them:
- Gmail offers free email storage for up to 2GBs. Email yourself a zip file of your writing or your ebooks. You can set up multiple accounts and you can access these files anywhere on the net. You are limited to files under 10 MB and you have to manually do this each night or whenever you decide backing up would be worthwhile.
- XDrive ponies up a whopping 5 GB of storage for free. Upgrades are $9.95 per month for 50 GB. The files are available anywhere you have internet access and you do not need to download software to upload files. With the XDrive Desktop software, you can schedule automatic backups.
- Mozy also offers 2 GB of free storage per pc. It requires you to download a small piece of software that will allow you to connect to your Mozy account. The software allows for automated backups so you don’t have to remember to backup. It thinks for you. For $4.95 per month, you can have unlimited storage. Mozy does restrict the number of restores each month to 4.
- Elephant Drive provides 1 GB storage for free. Requires a download of software but this allows you to do automated backups. For $9.95 per month, you get unlimited storage
- Box.net makes available 1 GB for free. It does not have an automated backup system but the files you upload are available anywhere you have access to the internet.
- Carbonite is not a free service, but it does have the cheapest unlimited data storage on the internet. For $49.95 per year, you can backup as much data as you want, as often as your computer is turned on. If you accidentally delete a file, you can look to your backup on Carbonite. For your money, Carbonite is probably the best buy, even though it’s not free.
Now, Go Back Up!