Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Hopefully it will never happen, but being prepared is a must.

Download the mp3

[This podcast was originally published June 9, 2005. -Leo]


This is Leo Notenboom with news, commentary and answers to some of the many questions I get at

In a recent podcast entitled "Are you ready for your computer to be stolen" I discussed the needs for not only backing up, but encrypting your sensitive data. Losing it is one thing, but having sensitive personal data in the hands of thief is just as scary if not more so.

So by now you're all backing up regularly and keeping those backups in a safe place, right?

A safe place ... in your house? In the same structure as your computer?

So what happens to all those backups and those computers should your house burn to the ground? Or a flood damage everything? Or a mudslide bury it in goo?

Backing up isn't enough. You need to store copies of your backups off-site. Somewhere physically different than your business or computer's location. That way if the worst happens you still have your data safely backed up.

Somewhere else.

It doesn't have to be hard. Every so often, burn an extra backup CD and give it to a friend or family member.

My wife operates a retail business where I also maintain the computer equipment. So some time back I purchased two identical 250 gigabyte Maxtor external USB/firewire drives. The computers here at Ask Leo central (my home), and at my wife's business each have one. Each night data is backed up to those drives. Then every so often I swap the drives. That way not only is my home data backed up off-site at the store, but the store's data is also backed up off-site here at home.

Whatever your solution, I strongly recommend considering your disaster plan. Especially if your business depends on it.

You'll find links to the articles and resources I've mentioned in the shownotes. Visit and enter 8604 in the go to article number box on the home page. You can also comment on this podcast, or any of my articles ... I'd love to hear from you.

This is a presentation of, a free on-line technical question and answer service. Hundreds of questions and answers are online and ready to help solve your computer problems. New questions and answers are added daily.


Article C3083 - July 14, 2007 « »

Share this article with your friends:

Share this article on Facebook Tweet this article Email a link to this article
Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

Ken Crook
July 22, 2007 3:46 AM

I use Acronis TrueImage to backup my computer, so if I need to restore the system I just reinstall the image.
But if my house burnt down, my computer would go with it. And my new computer would not be compatible with the backed up image of the old computer.
So at least once a month I make a backup to CD's of the MyDocuments folder where I keep all my files and other stuff, and keep it at another location. That way on the new computer I can just copy the backup of the MyDocuments folder to the new computer. I will still need to reinstall some of the programs and such but nothing important is lost.

July 23, 2007 3:11 AM

I live in a wildfire area and have been evacuated twice. More frightening than computers or documents are family photographs. I have backed them up, keep discs in my safety deposit box and in my emergency kit. Keeping copies of them on a safe website is also great. Too bad Yahoo Photos is closing.

Comments on this entry are closed.

If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.

If you don't find your answer, head out to to ask your question.