DON’T PUT YOUR ENTIRE DIGITAL LIFE ONLY ON A FLASH DRIVE

When you hear “USB FLASH DRIVE”, does that paint a picture in your mind of a device that is tough as nails and 100% reliable. I hope not.

THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF DRIVES, THOSE THAT HAVE FAILED AND THOSE THAT WILL.

Several weeks ago three different people came to me with USB flash drives that no longer worked. Each person’s drive displayed the message you see below.

Formatting the drive would probably enable Windows 10 to read the drive again, but that would definitely erase all files.

Each person told me, “My life is on that drive.” I asked did they have a backup, no. Two of the flash drive problems were caused by just pulling the drive out of the computer and not doing the safe removal procedure. Just pulling the USB drive out of your computer is like repeatedly turning off your car while it is still in drive. Bad idea.

Luckily I was able to use a drive recovery utility to access the files on two of the bad drives. I then copied the files to a safe location. I was not so lucky on the third drive. The person lost all of their files.

If your files are important to you, please make sure you have them saved in more than just one place, especially if that one place is a FLASH drive.

My backup plan has two goals.

  1. Always have a current backup of ALL of my files.

  2. Be able to access ALL of my files regardless of where I am and if I have my computer or not.

Yes, it requires some planning and some work, but the peace of mind I have makes it more than worth it. My method may not work for you, but it has served me well over the years.

THE DIFFERENT PARTS OF MY BACK METHOD

Source location.

External hard drive (flash drive if you must).

Google Cloud storage – Backup and Sync.

SecondCopy

PUTTING THE BACKUP PLAN TOGETHER

My source location is the local C:\ drive on my computer. Specifically, it is a folder called JJONESDATA on the local C:\ drive. I save ALL of my files in the JJONESDATA folder. Whenever I do anything with a file (add, create, change, rename, delete) I almost always do it from the source, JJONESDATA folder.

I have a Google\Gmail account.  Google Drive gives you 15GB of free online cloud storage. I download and use Google Backup and Sync. I tell Backup and Sync to sync everything in the JJONESDATA folder to my Google Drive. Anything I put in this folder will automatically be copied to the Google servers in the cloud. Having my files in the cloud means I can access them from any device that has Internet access.

Keep in mind, whether or not I open and save a file from C:\JJONESDATA or Google Drive using the Chrome Internet browser, Google Backup and Sync will automatically sync the files. Both locations will have the same files saved.

BACKUP TO AN EXTERNAL DRIVE (OFFLINE STORAGE)

The fact that the hard drive on my computer gets used the most, it is more prone to failure. Each night I save files from C:\JJONESDATA to my external hard drive. I recommend backing up files to an external hard drive (more reliable), but you can use a flash drive if you want. I use SecondCopy. At 11pm each night, SecondCopy automatically starts backing up files in JJONESDATA to my external hard drive.

WHY AND HOW TO SAFELY EJECT A USB DRIVE

GOOGLE BACKUP AND SYNC

EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE MANUFACTURER I LIKE

USB FLASH DRIVE MANUFACTURER I LIKE

SECONDCOPY

 

A little bit of planning can go a long way.

 

John

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