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When they’re working correctly (just like everything else), computers are awesome machines. With one, you can send mail, surf the web, check facts, store photos, listen to music, play games, shop, or even make a plan for world domination.

But when they don’t work, they can cause an immense amount of stress.

Today, we’ll try to eliminate some of that stress and answer some important questions for you.

Computers are like everything else; over time the materials in them deteriorate and break down. It happens to cars, appliances, rocks – even us. Nothing is immune to the effects of time.

But you can prepare yourself for the worst as far as your computer is concerned. It’s quick, simple, and one of the most important things you can do for your computer. And I’ll admit, it’s something I don’t do enough.

back up alwaysYou should regularly back up your data on your computer. Depending on the size of your computer, you can pick up a flash drive or an external hard drive and copy your data to it, then set the copy in a safe place. That way, if something happens to your computer (electrical surge, critical component error, tipped-over soda, etc.), you still have that data.

It’s a good idea to back up your data once a week; however, it’s recommended you back up your system on any day you use it. Make sure you run any virus scans on your computer before you back up your data so your stored memories are virus-free.

What happens if you don’t back up your data and your system crashes?  You have a few possibilities to consider.

In a majority of cases, the data is still on your hard drive and can be retrieved from the computer and transferred to an external hard drive or a new computer with little to no lost files.

Sometimes though, it’s not that easy. If the source is damaged enough the data can’t be retrieved through normal means, there are companies who can sometimes restore that data. Two things to know beforehand: 1.) It’s not cheap, and this service can run into thousands of dollars. 2.) It’s not guaranteed, and you’ll pay for the service whether it’s successful or not.

Meanwhile, an external hard drive starts around $80 for a full terabyte. Obviously, that’s a much better economic solution.

If there’s a topic you’d like to see covered or a question you want to be answered, send an e-mail to