In the past I have talked about how to do effective backups and run a stable OS. But what about preventing data loss in the first place? Wouldn’t this also be reasonably helpful? I happen to think so and in this article I will share some common practices that can when used as described, help prevent any data loss from your computer.
The dedicated partition
Run your user data on a dedicated partition. Taking this a step further, run that dedicated partition on a separate hard drive. Why? Two reasons. The separated partition will allow you to keep the data free of operating system woes to a degree as you can always reinstall Windows while the user data is safely on a separate section of its very own. As for the separate hard drive, this protects the user data against loss during a hard drive failure.
Keep user data backed up
In addition to the dedicated partition, it’s also a good idea to keep at least a weekly backup of your user data off of the hard drive. Perhaps a service like JungleDisk or Mozy would work for you? The idea being if something happened to your home or office, the critical data is safely off site for later restoration.
Mirror a clean installation
Another thing I recommend highly is doing a Norton Ghost or otherwise mirror your OS installation after you get the software installed. By mirroring just the system partition, you can ensure a clean restoration later on should things go south. Bundled with a separate user data partition restoration, you will find that when things go south with a crash computer, you find the entire thing to be a very minor occurrence.
Follow my tips above and your computing lifestyle will be much less frustrating. Those of you using computers without installed optical drives might wish to do your mirroring via a networked NAS or perhaps some USB connected device such as a hard drive.