In a message dated 6/30/2006 11:57:16 PM Eastern Standard Time,
Glad you asked that question as I too am not good with computers. I have
saved that wonderful answer so that I will know what to do when I want to
copy my files to CD.
Why not upload your genealogical file as a GEDCOM to RootsWeb's
WorldConnect? Then not only will your data be safe but it will be accessible to other
people (except for the data about living people, since WorldConnect deletes
that for privacy reasons). You may well receive communications from others who
know more about people in your file, adding data or correcting it, and your
data will help others who know less. Use your genealogy software's File -
Export facility to make a GEDCOM file out of your data. Then go to
) and choose WorldConnect Project and proceed
As for general backups for things other than genealogy (email, letters,
financial information, etc), I stopped using CD/DVD/extra hard disk backups some
time ago. If you should have a fire or a gas explosion in your home, those
will go too, unless you keep them at the office or at a friend's house, etc.
Too, CDs and DVDs can degrade - usually the ones you burn yourself don't last
anywhere near as long as the ones you buy with data already on them. An extra
hard disk, if attached to your computer for backup purposes, can be wiped out
by a lightning strike along with your computer - and no, a surge protector
will not protect you against lightning. Although I unplug my computer from both
the electical line and the phone line every time there is a thunderstorm, I
have had the sad experience of having my clothes washer wiped out by a
lightning strike when I hadn't yet heard any thunder and it wasn't even raining
yet, so I know that depending on disconnecting my computer fast when a storm
approaches isn't reliable.
A better idea is to use a company that automatically backs up your data at
intervals during the day and stores it on their servers at a remote location.
I don't know if I am allowed to mention such a company, but if anyone wants
to know of some they can email me directly.The one I use costs me about US$4 a
month. Well worth it.