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Poll: How often do you back up your work and TMs?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 04:29
SITE STAFF
Jun 27, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How often do you back up your work and TMs?".

This poll was originally submitted by Natalia Zudaire

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Nina Khmielnitzky  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 07:29
Member (2004)
English to French
I don't even know what it is Jun 27, 2007

much less how to do one

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:29
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
My sub-question is: How do you do it? Jun 27, 2007

Backups don't seem very 'standard' for PC's - when I was a programmer 30-odd years ago, all sorts of standard housekeeping tools were available and we backed up all changed files daily.

PC housekeeping packages seem a bit thin on the ground nowadays. I know many people who never back up anything, including one small IT company who lost everything (customer payment records included) when their PC crashed.

I have a CD burner that came with software to create backups and I simply copy all my data (changed or not) every month. I'm sure it's not the best way and I get a bit fidgety towards the end of the month.

What do others do (apart from those that answered "never")?


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 12:29
What I do Jun 27, 2007

Burn a cd every two months

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Tina Colquhoun  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:29
Danish to English
+ ...
Just a copy - drag and drop Jun 27, 2007

Why is it that people think backing up is some kind of complicated 'procedure'? Don't you copy your work/accounts/CVs/whatever onto a disk/drive/different computer on a regular basis? If not, what on earth are you going to do if your PC/laptop crashes?

My main PC crashed last year, but I didn't have to worry as everything was backed up (=copied) in two other places. All I had to think about was jumping in the car and zooming off to buy a new PC.

I am aghast at how many 'professional' translators claim that they never back anything up. If nothing else, all your payment records will disappear and you stand to lose income - unless you have these things written down/printed out in hard copy somewhere.

But maybe most people still use a post-it note system??


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- Carolina  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:29
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
I was thinking of doing a back up... Jun 27, 2007

... but never did. Too bad! A couple of days later, my computer crashed! Now I have to pay twice, the repair and the back up cost to the tech service. They have to install everything again, my notebook will be exactly the same as when I bought it, it’ll only have Windows XP... I’ll have to install all the software again! Including TRADOS. So, I either pay for the back up at the tech lab or I lose everything! Yes, I have some of the files stored in other places, but it's a mess to start recovering different records from different sources...
Thus, I recommend you to back up your info as Sheila and Orla said, every once in a while. Once every two months seems a good timeframe. I’m sure going to implement it! Better late than never, they say....


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Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:29
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
Once a month Jun 27, 2007

That was my answer, but it's rather "once in a while" or "when needed".

All files related to my work (and all files I consider critical in any other way) are anyway saved from the very start on a separate drive from the one that has my OS. Which is already a good thing, because it will avoid data loss in most cases of software malfunction. But this is not enough in case some hardware gets broken. Plus this drive is not very big, so I can't store everything on it. So I backup file on an external hard drive anytime I fell space is getting too tight AND if there is a big batch of files I can archive easily (I won't backup things I'm working on at the moment, I back up a project only when I'm finished with it).

Guys, you don't need to look so scared by the word backup. An external hard drive works just the same as a USB drive, let's say it's just a huge USB drive. Nothing to be scared about


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M Helena Ayala
United States
Local time: 04:29
English to Spanish
+ ...
Twice a week Jun 27, 2007

I use an external hard drive to store my work folders in zip files.

I do this at the end of the day; piece of cake!

If I'm working on a long project, I back up daily.

[Edited at 2007-06-27 14:33]


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gianfranco  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:29
Member (2001)
English to Italian
+ ...
Learn how to keep your data safe Jun 27, 2007

For all those who think that crossing finger is a good strategy to keep their data safe, think again.
I strongly advise everybody using a computer for anything more than playing Solitaire to learn how to keep their data safe. Consult a friend or a computer expert and devise a backup strategy that suits your needs.



Here are some tips:

  • A complete backup (disk image) is not necessary, and often not useful. It is also too large and cumbersome anyway.
    Instead, keep handy a copy of your operating system disks, all your patches and all your applications, on their original support and, if possible, on a second copy.

  • Keep a complete inventory of all your disk, data and applications, clearly labeled, and keep an inventory of your applications, including configuration files, activation keys and the like.

  • Organize your data (work files), including TMs and email archives all in the same path, to simplify your copy strategy.
    It is not convenient to fish around for important data in many separate locations. I advise to keep operating system and application in a dedicated hard disk or partition, separate from work, glossary, TMs and email.

  • Keep separate historical data (old files that never change, kept for reference) from current data (recent files and work in progress) to minimize the volume of data you copy each time.
    Old data can be copied only once in a while (better have 2 copies, for safety) and don't need to be copied frequently.
    Once the old archives are copied, the latest data will be much smaller in volume and therefore much easier to copy frequently.

  • Every once in a while, move recent data to the historical dataset, for example every 6 months is a good timeframe for this operation. Create a new copy of your old data, including the latest 6 months addition.

  • Perform frequently a fresh copy of the latest files, which should be sufficiently small to be performed in a few minutes
    (once a week is a good time frame for these files)

  • Perform "very frequent" copies of your work in progress, up to twice per day. For example, you can make a copy of your work in progress as the first operation of the day, before the morning session, and after lunch, before the evening work session.
    It should not take more time than preparing or having a cup of coffee.

  • Use DVDs for large archives (very inexpensive and safe), and an external hard disk or a flash drive for frequent daily copies (they are very fast and can be updated many times).


    * * *

    I find that there is no real need for specialized backup software, but some hardware is essential:

    - a DVD recorder, nowadays very inexpensive, for static archives on DVD o CD.
    - an external USB hard disk, also affordable, large and fast, for multiple frequent copies.
    - a flash drive (at least 1-2 GB, not very fast but inexpensive and very portable), as a partial alternative to the external hard disk, for very frequent copies of not very large volumes of data.


    bye
    Gianfranco

    PS: hardware and backup strategies vary according to personal needs



    [Edited at 2007-06-27 15:14]

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  • Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
    United States
    Local time: 07:29
    Spanish to English
    + ...
    Twice a week on site, once every six weeks off site Jun 27, 2007

    I worked in IT for fourteen years, and I was always amazed that many very smart people never backed up their data. Here are a few ideas:

    1) Alternate media. In other words, let's say you always copy your TMs onto a USB thumb drive. Get two of them, and alternate which one you back up to. That way if one of them goes bad (or if one of the backups is bad) you still have the other.

    2) Make offsite backups. If your computer and your backup discs are stored in the same place and there's a fire, you're in trouble. Rent a safe deposit box or find some other trusted place to store monthly or bimonthly copies.

    3) Particularly if you use an older version of Trados that requires a dongle, make periodic exports of your main TMs into .txt format. That way if the dongle goes bad, you can, as a temporary measure, open the TMs in a text editor and use the "find" function as a clunky sort of concordance search.


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    Can Altinbay  Identity Verified
    Local time: 07:29
    Japanese to English
    + ...
    If some of the advice seems scary to you... Jun 27, 2007

    ...at LEAST back up your work, Outlook PST file, bookkeeping and any other files you feel you need to keep. DVD is cheap and has plentiful space, but CDs will do.

    Copy the files you are working on (or those you worked on today) to a USB stick every day.

    Also, save the files you are working on, even if it's Word, every so often (every 1/2 hour, every hour... how much pain can you stand in redoing work?. When those program freeze or crash, you will have only a little rework to do. Word does do autosave (unless you turn it off), but occasionally, it will not remember those.

    Set your computer calendar program (Outlook if you have it) to remind you when your backup day is. For me, it's the end of the month, but at my age (:-)), it's amazing what you can forget.

    Me? I do the above.


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    gianfranco  Identity Verified
    Brazil
    Local time: 08:29
    Member (2001)
    English to Italian
    + ...
    A monthly backup is not sufficient Jun 27, 2007

    Can Altinbay wrote:
    ...
    Set your computer calendar program (Outlook if you have it) to remind you when your backup day is. For me, it's the end of the month, but at my age (:-)), it's amazing what you can forget.
    ...


    An Outlook alert (or equivalent) is a good idea. Thank you.

    I would like to stress, if it wasn't clear already, that a backup per month is not sufficient. Just imagine if you have a total hardware failure on day 29 and the backup was scheduled on the 30!

    Some files or folders are static and it is sufficient to copy them just once, or their dataset refreshed only every 6-12 months.
    Other areas are updated every day and a loss of 3 days could be a disaster, let alone 30. For example, it should be good practice to copy the email archives on a second hard disk, or external hard disk, every day.

    In general, a backup strategy should be customized and designed around each person needs to minimize the damage in case of hardware failure. Hard disks nowadays are not only large and affordable, but very reliable too. This invites far too many computer users into a false sense of security.

    Copy your data (yearly, or monthly, or weekly or twice per day) according to their importance, the amount of changes intervened and the damage that their loss would cause to your business.

    Be safe!
    Gianfranco




    [Edited at 2007-06-27 17:11]


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    Fiamma Lolli
    Italy
    Local time: 13:29
    Spanish to Italian
    + ...
    I save my files on a server Jun 27, 2007

    Sheila Wilson wrote:
    What do others do (apart from those that answered "never")?


    Well, I registered an account, called xxx@xxx.it, and I email my works as an attachment once a week. I protect them with a password so no one can "steel" them. And I can open my archives wherever I am. Easy!


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    Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
    Brazil
    Local time: 08:29
    Portuguese to English
    + ...
    For Sex and the City fans Jun 27, 2007

    Does anyone remember when Carrie's system crashed? Her boyfriend didn't realize she had an Apple, and did Ctrl--Alt-Del, which obviously didn't work. Did she have backups of her work? NO. All her Sex & the City columns, gone, gone, gone. The guy at the shop was able to rescue some of it, but after that, Carrie became a BACKUP GIRL....like me!

    Amy


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    Elena Carbonell  Identity Verified
    Netherlands
    Local time: 13:29
    Member (2007)
    English to Spanish
    + ...
    A word of advice: back ups are good! Jun 27, 2007

    After learning the hard way (loosing more than 2000 photos I had stored in my external hard disk), now I have not one but two external hard disks!
    If you don't want to do the back up yourself there are programs that do it for you, look on the internet for programs that synchronize your files. You can even synchronize your outlook file, which means you can keep a copy of your e-mails and addresses.

    I agree with Gianfranco that a monthly back up is not enough.


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