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Backing up your personal files

Guard against loss of individual files

If you discover that a particular file has been damaged or accidentally deleted, you will need to restore it from backup. It may be that you do not discover the damage to your file until some weeks or months after it occurred. The regular backup of your disk referred to in the previous section will go back a limited length of time, so you cannot rely on it when it comes to retrieving long-lost files. For this situation you need a more long-term strategy. Exactly what you do will depend on your own needs and style of working. Here are a couple of examples.

When a project completes one of its stages you should take a snapshot copy of all the documents associated with the project, and keep it either permanently, or until it is superseded by the next stage in the project

If you are working on a major file you should take a backup copy of that one file after every editing session. Keep several generations of the file, so that you can recover from accidental damage or loss which is not immediately apparent

The contingencies we are guarding against here do not involve the loss of your whole disk, but only of particular files. Backups made for this purpose do not necessarily have to be stored away from your PC or Mac. However it is sensible to have copies of crucial files kept safely somewhere away from your main disk, for example in your home directory or on a CD or Zip disk.

You should, as a matter of course, keep University data in your personal or shared central file space.

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