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Disaster recovery plans

08/12/10

Disaster recovery plans

Permalink 02:21:14 pm by Eugene Gardner, Categories: General, Articles

How would you function if your computer failed NOW; it happens to people every day as a result of fire, flood, explosion, power problems, theft or virus attack. Most people find it hard to maintain e-mail communications, miss address and phone number lists, regret having to redo the project currently in progress and bemoan the £1000 it typically costs to recover photos and music from a failed disk drive. All the above and more could be lost forever unless you have a disaster recovery plan.

The same plan would come in useful if you simply want to rejuvenate a computer half way through its life; to get performance back to what it was when the PC was new, by removing the accumulated debris that all systems amass as part of regular functioning.

Here's what to do. Get an inventory of all the components of your computer: hardware and software (either manually or have it given to you as part of a routine maintenance service report). For each program you run, note where the installation CD is or can be downloaded from, together with the required username/passwords and any access key or product code. Then run each program and save its settings and any modifications.

For each hardware component make a note of the location of the place on the manufacturer's website where the latest version of the device driver for your version of Windows can be found. If this is not possible, then locate the CD that came with the component when it was new.

Now record the location of your photos, documents and music, particularly those held in non-standard locations. Record where the data file(s) for your e-mail client is held and the full configuration details of each e-mail record within. Save your browsers' bookmarked favourites.

Maintain the list of usernames and passwords for each program or website you visit that requires them. A tool such as Roboform may help with this.

Also record the configuration settings for your modem/router and any authentication details sent by your Internet Service Provider. You will also want to have their phone number to hand.

Now write down instructions to enable files, or the entire disk drive, to be recovered from your backup location - you do take regular backup copies of files don't you ?

Depending on how you could manage without a computer, having a redundant spare old PC that is kept available may be sensible.

These things should be placed with your last will and testament and securely stashed away. The last thing to do is TEST the above, if this is not done there is a chance it will work in an emergency but...

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