Backing up is something that most people know they should do, but for one reason or another don’t do it. Some find the process too complicated, see it as unnecessary (how likely is the computer to crash anyway, right?) or can’t justify the expense of a hard drive.

This morning i sat down at the laptop to start my day’s work and was instead confronted with a blue screen that said Windows had to shut down to prevent serious damage. When it rebooted it refused to log me onto my profile, taking me to a temporary user profile instead. The upshot of this is that i haven’t been able to access my documents, files, email client or bookmarks all day.

Fortunately I have a spare PC that a month or so ago i sat down with to ‘mirror’ the other one, using a Firefox sync add-on my tabs, bookmarks etc are synced across computers and my phone, my email client is setup with IMAP so all folders and mail are downloaded into the folders i created on the other machine, and both have Dropbox. I also do a nonstop backup using Acronis, which backs up any changed file in real-time.

Despite these precautions my day has been seriously altered because i’ve had to work on fixing my main computer. Nonetheless, in between running one check after another, I have been able to be on the PC and use Dropbox to access all my work files, allowing me to do my work without worrying about it only being on the one computer that’s kicking up a fuss after only 7 months.

The lesson here is take precautions – it is far cheaper and quicker to be prepared than to wait for the inevitable and then buy a new computer. Just yesterday i purchased a 1TB hard drive for just £50 from Amazon, and the portable 500GB one i have permanently connected will now be cheaper than that. So that’s 1,500GB of backup space for less than £100. It takes moments to create an automatic backup setting, and Dropbox (or Microsoft’s Skydrive if you prefer) is free with 2GB space, syncing to their website and any computer or device you install the program. This allows you immediate access to any folder you tell it to sync, regardless of what machine you are on.

Don’t put it off any longer – you never know when the fateful day will come, take less than an hour out of your day to create that failsafe and rest easy in the knowledge that when the computer dies, your work will live on.