Regularly backup your important computer files



last revision August 10, 2004

Suggestions to secure your Windows PC:
  1. Use strong passwords
  2. Install security patches
  3. Share files correctly
  4. Use anti-virus software
  5. Protect against email viruses
  6. Install PCLeland
  7. Minimize open network services
  8. Run a security analyzer
  9. Do regular backups
  10. Apply special Windows XP fixes

An essential part of any computer security procedure is to make regular backups of your essential files.

The recommended backup method for the primary desktop computer of faculty and staff members in the School of Earth Sciences is the new network based Backup and Recovery Service offered by ITSS. For a nominal fee (currently $9 per month), your hard drive files are backed up daily over the network to computer tapes on central servers. Extra copies of these tapes are stored off-site so there will always be a backup available, even if the Forsythe building burns down. The system is fully automated, so you can initiate a file restoration from backup at any time.

The departments in Earth Sciences are making arrangements to include all their faculty and staff computers in the ITSS backup system. If you are a faculty or staff member and do not yet have this software installed, contact your department administrator. Research groups may be able to add their lab computers, paid by their research grant. If you have any questions about using the software, or need to transfer the backup system to a new computer, enter a HelpSU request.

The Energy Resources Engineering department provides a local backup service for the "Users" directory on its department supplied student computers. Some groups in other departments may also have a local tape backup system that covers several computers -- ask around.

If your computer is not covered by the ITSS or local department backup system, then you need to make other arrangements to backup your critical files. If you have a Zip or other removable media drive, simply copying your important directories of files every few days would provide substantial protection. Be sure to use at least two sets of backup Zip disks, which you rotate so you are always overwriting the older copy and still have the newer one in case your copy fails.

You can also mount your pangea home directory as a Windows file share and copy a limited number of files there. Remember that you should limit your total file storage in your pangea home directory to no more than 100 Megabytes. Pangea's home directories are backed up to tape every night, but file recovery is a manual process that can take several days.

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