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Windows XP Annoyances for Geeks, 2nd Edition by David A. Karp

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Preventive Maintenance and Data Recovery

Face it: some sort of data loss is inevitable. Whether it's a single lost file or a dead hard disk—whether it's tomorrow or twelve years from now—it will happen. On that happy note, there is plenty you can do about it.

First and foremost, there's no better method of disaster recovery than having a good backup copy of all your data. Any stolen or damaged hardware is easily replaced, but the data stored on your hard disk is not. Unfortunately, hindsight is 20/20, and if you didn't back up, there's not much you can do about it after the fact; even if your computer equipment is insured with Lloyds of London, once your data is gone, it's gone. So, we'll begin our discussion with some preventive maintenance before covering any disaster recovery techniques.

Quick, On-the-Fly Backups

In its simplest form, a backup is a copy of your data. Now, a full system backup, as described later in the next topic, is obviously valuable, but often too involved of a procedure to practice often enough to be entirely effective.

While you might perform a full backup once a week or once a month, you can do a quick backup of your most important files several times a day. No special software or hardware is required, and, best of all, it will only take a few seconds.

The following two solutions are remarkably simple, but the idea is sound, and if you make a habit of making these quick, on-the-fly backups, it will save you hours of work.

Solution 1: Simple copy

The next time ...

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