Backing Up Toward a Terabyte

I am backing up my old office computer that I bought in 2002 in preparation to retire it. At the time I bought it, was state-of-the-art. Too bad that state-of-the-art is ancient the first time you turn it on (LOL!)

My old computer had a whopping 80GB (gigabytes) of hard-drive storage space and a whiz-bang speed of 2.53 Gigahertz.

And to think, my first PC back in 1987 had an unheard of 12mhz processor speed with a ‘huge’ 40 Megabytes of hard disk space.

For the non-math oriented, a bit is either a zero or a one. Put eight of them together, and you get a byte. One byte represents one thing, like a letter of the alphabet, a character, or pixels in a photo. … and so much more.

1,000 bytes = 1 kilo (thousand) bytes. (abbreviated KB)

1,000,000 bytes = 1,000 KB = 1 mega (million) bytes (MB)

1,000,000,000 bytes = 1,000,000 KB = 1,000 giga (billion) bytes (GB)

1,000,000,000,000 bytes = 1,000,000,000 KB = 1,000,000 MB = 1,000 GB = 1 terabyte, or 1 trillion bytes.

We went from file sizes of 100KB (kilobytes) which you could easily store on a “floppy disk” (remember those things?) for portability.

Now it’s not uncommon to work with files that are 20MB for something like a complex PowerPoint presentation with numerous graphics.

It also is quite common now to store files on a “thumb drive” (also called a “flash drive”) which uses electronic memory and can store gigabytes of information on one small, portable devices. I have collected dozens of these things as give-aways at conferences and such.

Actually, our computers (my partner has one and I have two) are all interconnected through a hard-wired network (for security) and each of them get backed up automatically every time we power them up. A few years ago, I bought a whiz-bang 300GB backup device onto which all of our files are stored on our respective machines, in case any of the computers crashes. This device has all of my documents, photos, html and web-based files, my blog, and so forth, all safely stored and protected. Also, about once a month, I transfer all of these backups to an offsite storage area that is part of the service I pay for website hosting. I have “oodles” of space, and the fee is the same each month whether I use it or not, so why not use it?

My new home computer has a terabyte of hard-drive storage. Heck, with three computers and all the files we have, we’re not even close to 100GB (1/10th of a TB) of every file we’ve ever written for the past 12 years, every photo we’ve ever stored, every web page I have ever written, every blog post I’ve prepared, and so on. Why would I ever need 1 TB of disk space?

Who knows? Back in the day, I thought 40KB of hard drive space was more than adequate. Fortunately, I don’t think I’ll run out of physical storage. Backups are so incredibly important. I know several people whose computer “crashed” and they lost everything, all for lack of saving their files on a backup system somewhere.

There are on-line backup systems available for those who would like the security and ease-of-use of an off-site backup. These systems are inexpensive nowadays and are designed for home use just as much as business use. They are analogous to an insurance policy. You pay the premium and hope you never have to make a claim, but if you have a loss, you will be happy that you did because some things cannot be recovered.

Onward with a hard physical backup of everything on my “old” machine. Once the new one is working and I’m confident that all the old files are readable on the new machine, then I’ll destroy the hard drive in the old machine and e-cycle the rest of the innards.

Life is short: backup your stuff!