YOU Magazine - August 2008 - Don't Know What You've Got...'Til It's Gone!
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Kathleen Petty     Kathleen Petty
AVP/Sr Mortgage Originator
Alaska USA Mortgage AK#157293
Phone: (907)261-3458 Cell: 223-4440
Fax: (907)929-6699
License: NMLS Unique Identifier #203077
Alaska USA Mortgage AK#157293
August 2008

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Don't Know What You've Got...'Til It's Gone!

Don't Know What You've Got...'Til It's Gone!

Think for a minute about all the information you store on your computer. If you're like most people, you probably have years worth of office work, research, addresses and phone numbers, school work, and thousands of irreplaceable family photos. Not to mention important financial information and the expensive software that runs the entire system!

But what happens when your computer goes on strike - when it just stops working? Do you have a plan to recover the data you need to run your life? Better yet, do you have an up-to-date backup waiting in the wings for just such an emergency? If it's been a while since you backed up your information, the steps below can help you quickly and conveniently protect your information before it's too late.


First and foremost, make sure you can easily reinstall your operating system and any software that you've purchased if your computer ever does crash. How do you do that? Simple.

You know those disks that come with your computer - the ones with all the software on them, the ones you throw in a drawer and forget about? Well don't. Even though software often comes preloaded and ready to use, those disks and serial numbers are priceless. Keep them in a safe, memorable place and you'll be able to easily reload your software after a crash.

For the rest of your data, put the following tips to work and you could save yourself a major headache!

Thumbs Up

Those little USB flash (or thumb) drives that you see everyone carrying around now are an ideal, inexpensive way to backup small files for short periods of time. Whether you're moving information from one computer to another or you want to make sure a critical company report doesn't get lost before the big presentation, these handy devices are well worth the $25 you'll spend for 4 GB of peace of mind.

Burn, Baby, Burn

Most computers come standard with CD/DVD burners. Contrary to television commercials, you can burn more than just song compilations. Make the most of this device by using it to back up your important data regularly. Most DVDs can hold 4.7 GB worth of data. To back up larger files and even more data, you can double the capacity with double-layer DVDs (known as DVD DL) that can hold up to 8.5 GB!

Step Outside

While CDs and DVDs work fine for hand-selected files, they simply don't provide enough memory for most people to backup their entire hard drive. To safeguard every last byte of data, you'll want to add an external hard drive that can be connected to your computer, but that ultimately operates independently.

External hard drives are much larger - often as large if not larger than the amount of memory on your computer's built-in hard drive. Plus, because they're external, your data will still be safe and easy to access even if your computer crashes. Simply connect the external drive to a new computer and you're up and running without a hitch. You can purchase a basic external hard drive with 300 to 500 GB of storage for as little as $100. Better still, products like Seagate's FreeAgent storage devices offer you a variety of options as well as the ability to access your information even when you're not at home, so you can open a document or view your family photos from out-of-town.

Movin' Out

For the best level of protection, move data out of the house altogether. Storing your data off-site protects it from fire, theft, and flooding. And it's not as expensive as you might think. In fact, you can get a ton of free space from services like Yahoo!® and AOL. At that price, the only thing you have to lose is your data if you don't back it up!


If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having a computer crash, you may actually be able to recover some of your files. The cost, however, can run anywhere from the hundreds to the thousands. The best place to start is with inexpensive data recovery software, such as SpinRite for Windows PCs or Alsoft's DiskWarrior for Macs - both of which retail for around $100 or less. These programs may be able to help you locate and recover your missing files without the need to take your computer to an expensive technician. But, remember, the best way to recover data is to make sure you don't lose it in the first place by backing it up regularly.

All of the suggestions above are relatively inexpensive and are extremely easy to implement. So take a few minutes out of your day to make sure that your important information and priceless family photos are safe and secure.

License AK# 157293 Washington Consumer Loan Company license# CL-157293 California Residential Mortgage Lending Act, License# 4131067

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, 125 W Dimond Blvd #110
Anchorage, AK 99515

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