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Everyone (I hope) knows that it is critical to back up the data on your computer.  Backing up your computer is GOOD – as long as your backup is good.

Most people assume that if you run your backup program and it completes without an error then you have a good backup.  There are many reasons this may not be true:

  • Your backup media (hard drive, CR-ROM, thumb drive, cloud) may be defective and might not be able to be read after the backup.
  • You may not have backed up all your data.  While creating the set of data to back up, you may have missed some important locations.  For instance, you may be backing up everything in your ‘My Documents’ folder, but a program may be storing it’s data in it’s Program Files folder.  (Quicken is famous for this).
  • Your backup program might not be running properly.  It looks like it is, but it really isn’t.

The best way to protect against this is also the easiest – Do a test RESTORE.

Depending on how often you use your computer and how important your data is to you, you should frequently try to restore a file from your backup.  To do this:

  • Navigate to a location on your hard drive where you store important data.
  • Rename one of the files.
    (You want to rename a file so you have it in case the restore doesn’t work.)
  • Run your backup program and restore the file you just renamed.  If your backup is working, you will see the file pop back into the folder when the restore is complete.

This is a simple task you should perform at least every 2-3 months.