(The original version of this article was first published on the Mp3 Backing Trax website circa 2006 – 2012)
One simple hard drive crash is all it could take for you to lose ALL your backing tracks. Back them up NOW.
Everyone who has ever used a computer has seen the dreaded “blue screen of death” at one time or another (that’s the error message that gets displayed on your monitor when your hard drive fails).
Most times, re-booting your computer is all it takes to re-set or fix whatever went wonky and caused the blue screen of death in the first place, but there are times when your hard drive just gives up and dies completely. The average life of a hard drive is 18 months and in my experience hard drives don’t give you much warning when they’re about to “die”, so your hard drive could be a disaster waiting to happen right now as we speak.
And, if your failed hard drive just happens to be full of backing tracks and other important files you’ve accumulated over the years you’re going to be bang in trouble very shortly.
Making backups of your backing tracks and storing them somewhere else on your computer will help you restore them if the original tracks become corrupt or damaged or you delete the originals by mistake, but this is no use at all if your computer crashes due to the aforementioned hard drive failure. If this happens, even your backups will be lost.
Certainly, using USB sticks and recordable CD’s or DVD’s to backup backing tracks is better than nothing, but they have lots of disadvantages. They take ages to copy your data on to them, you have to do it all manually, and worst of all you have to remember to do it regularly! Add to this the fact that you need to try to remember where you put your backup discs, what backing tracks you actually put on each one, not to mention sods-law which guarantees that you probably forgot to include the one very backing track you’re now looking for when you made that last backup.
All these factors make CD/DVD disc backups far from ideal. And as if this wasn’t enough, your backup will only be as up-to-date as the date you made that last backup so you could end up losing all the new backing tracks you’ve bought recently.
Unfortunately backing track companies are not legally allowed to supply you with replacement copies of backing tracks months or years after you’ve purchased them because of royalty restrictions. A royalty is due every single time a backing track is supplied so giving you a replacement incurs yet another royalty cost which has to be paid by someone and I’m guessing you wouldn’t be too happy having to pay all over again for something you’d already bought.
So what’s the solution?
The solution is to use a special dedicated backup program lie Cobian Backup (it’s free). Don’t let the word “free” fool you though – this is a powerful and fully-featured program which lets you SCHEDULE automatic backups of all your important files and folders and it does it all automatically while running quietly in the background.
Just run the program and spend a few minutes setting up a backup schedule which will ensure your backing track files are always safe. You can actually backup ANY folders or files on your computer using this program. So now if you have any problems at all, you know you’ll be back up and running in a couple of clicks of your mouse.
Obviously the next thing you have to think about is WHERE to store your backups. It’s advisable that you keep your backups in a completely different location from the original files so that if your hard drive does fail, you can still retrieve them.
So for this, I strongly recommend that you save your backups to an external hard drive. External hard drives have now become very cheap to buy and offer a staggering amount of storage for very little money. More importantly, external hard drives work independently from your computer. They simply plug in to the USB port of any computer so if your computer did crash and you lost everything, you can still plug your external hard drive in to another computer and you still have all your files. Many businessmen now carry an external hard drive around with them in their briefcase so that they have all their important information with them at all times no matter whether they’re using the office PC, their laptop on a train, or their computer at home.
So don’t ever take a chance on losing your backing tracks – for the sake of a cheap external hard drive and a few minutes setting up the free backup program, it’s just not worth taking the risk. Backup your tracks and back them up regularly. If you buy new backing tracks every week, set the schedule to backup your music folder automatically at a certain time on a certain day every week. If you only buy new backing tracks once a month, then set up a monthly backup schedule.
And finally, don’t make the mistake many people make to their cost. It’s no use thinking that if you accidentally delete your backing tracks that you can just go in to your recycle bin and restore them. Once you’ve emptied your recycle bin, your deleted files are gone forever. Yes, there is software available that can sometimes recover these deleted files but it is expensive and difficult to do, with no guarantee of success.
Similarly, there are companies who can recover deleted or corrupt files from broken hard drives but, again, they can be very expensive and there’s no guarantee that they’ll be able to recover any information at all – it depends entirely on how badly damaged your hard drive or backing track files are.
So remember, if you don’t backup now, you WILL regret it later!