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It was my first day of class, as a new instructor, in front of a full classroom
of anxious bodies waiting to start their career in data processing. As
usually is the case, when I entered the classroom, everyone stopped talking
and tuned their attention to me. I didn't mutter a word, but went right to the
blackboard and wrote my name big enough for everyone to see. As I
completed writing my name, I turned around and shouted abruptly,

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Half the class had a heart attack, the other half just looked at me with
strange amazement on their faces, as if asking, what or who or why, did he
do that? Believe me, I HAD their attention!

I proceeded to instruct them that if there could be one lesson that these
students of mine would learn from me, it would be BACKING UP!

Backing up what, you ask? Their computer's hard drive, that's what. Their
blood, sweat, and tears that they pour into their work. It's worth the time to
create, so it should also be worth the short time it takes to back it up.

BACKUP (defined) - a. Simply copying files from the computers hard disk
drive to another removable storage medium's device; i.e. namely diskettes,
or tapes, zip drives, thumb/flash/memory or optical drives, CD’s, or DVD’s,
etc. b. saving one's own work as a secondary copy of the original. Should
the original become corrupted, totally destroyed or just lost, the BACKUP
can then be copied over the original, making it new again, or at least as
current as the last time you made a BACKUP copy of it!

RESTORE (defined) - a. the process of copying a "BACKUP copy" of a file,
over an "original copy" of the same file, in order to bring it up-to-date. A
backup restores the original back to the way it was to begin with. If a file
becomes corrupted destroyed or lost, the BACKUP copy can RESTORE the
original, as it was last copied, prior to the mishap.
Cheap insurance is what I call it! For the price a tape, CD, or DVD drive
(or whatever type of backup device your application requires) and 3
tapes/CDs/DVDs (a minimum required for rotation of the backups; i.e. call
one tape/CD/DVD the grandparent, another the parent, and the third call
the child copy using the grandparent copy on Monday, and the parent copy
on Tuesday, etc. rotating them regularly), you never have to worry about
losing any significant amount of your blood, sweat, and hard work ever
again! The tears would come if you worked long and hard on a document,
lost it and didn't have a backup copy! Been there, experienced that.

Tape Backup devices are worth their weight in gold! I know that may sound
a bit eccentric. But, if you compiled a lot of information, only to lose it after
the time, effort, etc. that went into it, I know you would feel that the cost of a
tape backup device and 3 tapes, would be insignificant compared to what it
would cost in time, effort, etc. to redo it, if that is even possible. Just having
the personal assurance that comes with a backup device, will keep you from
jumping off high buildings or taking more aspirin than a human should!
Worry not, with a BACKUP!

Nevertheless, as an extra point question on the final exam, I asked my
students, "Which ONE lesson do I want all of you to learn from me and
practice regularly on your computers or at your jobs? Every student in that
class got the extra point!

So, THE MORAL OF THIS STORY IS… Backup often, you'll be glad you

This article was written by Tim Gettig. Tim has been a contract programmer for over 30
years and has run his own business in the S. Florida area since 1989. Tim now lives with
his family in the Smoky Mountains. Tim has programmed many software systems, installed
hundreds of computers and networks used by his clients (some Fortune 500 companies) in
all types of applications taking advantage of the latest technologies. You can reach Tim at