March 31st is World Backup Day: here’s what you might miss

The most frequent hardware failure on any computer is its hard drive, which incidentally stores all of your files.  Unfortunately, many hard drive failures risk the permanent deletion of all of your precious data.  Take today, World Backup Day 2011, to back up these important but often forgotten things.

Image Source: Hard Drive

What should you back up with?

Many of us already use backup software.  However, not everyone does, and some don’t know where to start.  There are multiple options for what to back up with, and then even more options to back up on to.  A good place to start is by syncing all of your backups onto each of your computers, and your mobile phone, using Dropbox.

1. Photos.

What’s more precious than photos? Other than a half-written thesis, photos are one of the most important things you may have on your computer.  Unfortunately, many people don’t back up their photographs, generally due to the pain in doing the initial backup.

Use your time now to save yourself hours in the future: start by either moving them to an external hard drive, or by moving them to your Dropbox folder.

2. Music.

Music is something most of us have.  If you have a large amount of free space in Dropbox, you may want to consider backing up your music.  As most of us don’t download more than one or two albums at a time, this is a largely one-time task that could save you a lot of trouble.  If you’re planning to listen to your backed up music through a program, be sure to re-index the music by re-adding it.  If you’re using a program like iTunes to manage your music, you’ll want to remove the old copies first.

Tip: if you’re running Windows 7, you’ll want to add this folder as the default location in your Music library.  That way when you drag new music onto the Library they’ll go straight to the correct Dropbox folder.

3. Your software keys.

Who ever backs up their software keys? Most people generally use the set-and-forget for their software, which is fine for most things, but when a disaster strikes, your hard-earned money can be flushed down the toilet.

A good place to start with software keys is with your Windows or Microsoft Office serial number.  Other important pieces of software to remember are utilities like TuneUp and Glary, both of which are designed to be out of your way.

4. Your passwords.

How many of your passwords do you really have memorized?  If you’re like me, not as many as you’d hope.  However, you probably also use a password tool that remembers the password for you.  If that is the case, you can simply back up the database. You can do this in Firefox, Keypass, or even just use an online tool like LastPass.


Often forgotten and not often done, backing up is one thing computer users must know how to do. Most, however, do not back up a lot of their crucial files, and most will have a hard drive failure at one point in time. Back up these essential things to make yourself lose less!

What tools do you use to back up? What files do you back up? Share in the comments below!

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