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Back Up & Save

Back Up Your Data

80% of computer users never back up their data. Do you?

Why back up? Why save? What if....

  • data is accidently deleted
  • the hard drive or disc drive fails
  • a device is lost or stolen
  • viruses, malware and intrusions compromise data
  • there is a natural disaster
  • children or other users access and delete

The 3-2-1 Back Up Rule

The simplest way to remember how to protect your data:

  • 3 copies of your data (a primary & two back ups)
  • on 2 different storage options/media options
  • with 1 existing off site/off line

3-2-1 storage is ideal but not always possible. Best practices require 3 copies and some physical separation between the copies.

How to Back Up on Campus?

IT provides several options for students and employees to keep their data backed up.

Student Options:

Employee Options:

External Media Options

Media Device: CD-R/W

  • Storage Capacity: Between 650-900MB. Rewriteable versions can be reused
  • Lifespan: Less than 10 years
  • Pros: Inexpensive, disposable
  • Cons: Relatively little space, Easily scratched


  • Storage Capacity: Conventional DVDs (Single Sided, Single Layer) 4.7GB. Others may offer more space. Re-writeable DVDs may be reused
  • Lifespan: Up to 30 years
  • Pros: Relatively inexpensive, larger storage capacity
  • Cons: Easily scratched

Flash/USB drive

  • Storage Capacity: Between <1GB to 64GB
  • Lifespan: Generally rated per number of writes (between 10,000-100,000). USB connector generally rated for about 1500 connections
  • Pros: Portable, Rugged for short term use, smaller units are inexpensive
  • Cons: It does not have enormous longevity, Not permanent storage.

Portable Hard Drive

  • Storage Capacity: Around 2TB and growing
  • Lifespan: Varied and unpredictable
  • Pros: Larger drives provide the lowest cost per GB. Automated backup routines can use external HDs
  • Cons: Susceptible to unexpected failure. Make additional copies of very important files.

The CD-RW is quickly going the way of the floppy disk. Move data to new media as it develops.

Saving Your Work

No matter the program you are working in, SAVE OFTEN! As soon as you finish working on what you consider a significant amount of data, hit save, email yourself the work, or back up.
Preventing and recovering lost documents

Additional Reading

Microsoft Windows 7
Save and Recover in Word

Published on September 17, 2014