Tuesday, September 1, 2009

How to Survive a Computer Meltdown

When your computer dies, are you able to continue doing your business? We don’t like to think about it. But sometimes those little machines that we rely on every day to business, sometimes they do break down. Recently my video card died the day before a site was due to be launched and my computer would not start. Thankfully, I had complete website backups on my laptop and on my development server.

Many people are going on vacation so this is a friendly reminder to backup all your computer data files before you leave. Recently, two friends of mine have had the unfortunate experience where their laptops died. They did not have current backups of their email and their address books so they are having a difficult time retrieving their important contacts.

7 tips to keep your business going while your main computer is down:

1. Use Google Apps for your email service. You can set up your website email to work through Google Apps and use the powerful Gmail for your email service. It has excellent spam filtering which I appreciate so much. It also has a huge amount of storage space (25GB) for all your emails. It archives all your emails and has an excellent search tool. Can’t find an email message? Just type in the person’s name and all your correspondence with that person will show up. More info on using Google Apps for your email.

2. Be sure to keep current backups of your email folders and files including your address book. These backup folders are hard to find. Here are some links to instructions on how to backup your email address book and files. How to backup Outlook and Outlook Express.

3. Purchase an external hard drive to keep backups of all your work files and documents. I purchased the WD Book by Western Digital. It looks like a book and sits on my bookshelf. When I need to backup up my files, I plug it into a USB port and copy all the files over.

4. GoodSync is a great software tool that helps with making your backups and keeping them in sync. Read a review of GoodSync Or visit their website: http://www.goodsync.com.

5. Keep a current backup of your work files on your laptop. That way if your desktop computer is in the shop or you are on the road, you can continue doing your business. When I bought my laptop, it was primarily to be more mobile, but I didn’t realize how valuable it was to have a backup computer so I could keep working while my desktop computer was in the shop getting fixed.

6. Keep offsite backups. I used to backup important files to DVDs, but now you can get large portable drives called USB Flash drives to make mobile backups of your data. Open a safety deposit box and keep a backup of important files on a flash drive and store in your safety deposit box. You can compress your data using Winzip and save on a flash drive.

7. Have a backup person who knows your business well enough to answer basic questions while you are not available. If you are called away due to a family crisis and not able to answer your email, it helps to have a reliable backup person. This is highly recommended for solo entrepreneurs.

Need a current backup of your website? Need to increase your contact database and double your sales? Contact Katy for more information.

Thanks for reading!
Have a great summer!

Kathryn Laan, Creative Director
Drupal Web Specialists
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