Using Computer Backup Systems to Prevent Data Loss

Computers store three types of data including the operating system, software or programs, and saved data. Information is stored on the hard drive but crashes, viruses, spyware, malware and improper installation of new components can damage and even delete any form of stored data. Files can also be damaged or lost through accidental overwrites and deletion. Regardless of what the computer is used for, all information and files should be backed up to prevent accidental data loss.

What Computer Data Requires Backup?

Choosing the type of computer information to be backed up is an individual decision. However, all the information should not be backed up in one location in case the computer or data storage devices, such as USB thumb drives are lost are stolen. Information that should always be duplicated in case of accidental data loss includes:

  • Operating systems
  • Computer programs and software
  • Financial information
  • Personal documents
  • Purchased MP3’s
  • Email contacts

Before deciding not to back up items determine if the data will require referencing at a later date, if you will need to purchase a new product (such as an operating system disk) if lost, or if the information will be difficult or impossible to replace.

CD-R or CD-RW for Data Loss Prevention

Computers with writable CD and CD/DVD drives are able to copy files from the hard drive directly to disk. Copying data to disks can be done by using CD-R or CD-RW disks, and it offers a simple and inexpensive way to store data for later use in case of accidental data loss.

However there is a difference between the two types of disks, which may influence an individuals decision when making a purchase. CD-R’s are less expensive, but data can only be stored once. Replacing old information with updates requires the burning of a new disk and can cost more money in the long run – especially with individuals who update computer information frequently.

CD-RW’s are more expensive but old information can be deleted and overwritten. However, disks that become scratched disks and ones overexposed to heat and sun can become unreadable, making the stored information unrecoverable

USB Thumb Drives for Smaller Computer Data Backup

Smaller bits of information can be stored on USB thumb drives or flash drives, which are able to backup computer files and make information easily transferable between computers. However, they are too small to store software, and other large files. Using a thumb drive can be ideal for:

  • Small amounts of data backup – for individuals who use the computer for email and internet
  • Individuals with minimal personal files and documents
  • Updating and overwriting data easily

External Hard Drives

Amounts of computer data too large to be stored on a flash drive can be backed up on an external hard drive. There are several advantages to storing data using this method, including:

  • Ability to back up programs and software
  • Storage of large files
  • Overwriting of files
  • Allows for duplication of large numbers of files
  • Detaches from the computer, preventing accidental infection by viruses and malware

Computer Storage and Preventing Information Loss

Determining which computer backup system to use is based on a variety of factors, but the primary considerations are the amount of information to be saves and frequency of updates. Regardless of the system utilized, always back up data on a regular basis or when major changes are made to prevent loosing information that may be difficult or impossible to replace.

The Difference Between Computer Engineering and Computer Science

Students who browse the list of engineering majors often wonder about the difference between computer engineering and computer science courses. The two majors are very similar, but they each have a different school of thought. Some of the classes overlap, but these engineering majors are not the same.

Computer Science Major

A computer science major focuses more on programming and computational algorithms. If the student enjoys programming, algorithms and solving desktop issues through automated systems, then computer science is the right major. Computer science courses mostly involve programming and some microprocessor coding. Some typical computer science classes include:

  • Discrete math
  • C++ programming
  • Database programming
  • Logic design
  • Windows programming
  • Optional iPhone development

These are just a few of the common classes that are a part of the computer science major. This list does not cover the technical requirements for science majors in general including physics, chemistry, and advanced calculus.

Computer Engineering Major

As robotics and computer design become more popular, computer engineering is grabbing the attention of students who prefer the hardware side of machinery. Computer engineering focuses more on the circuits and microprocessor sides of the computer majors. Students who prefer designing circuit boards, programming microprocessors and building automated systems using electronic parts will enjoy what a computer engineering major offers. The following classes are typical computer engineering courses for a typical student:

  • Discrete Math
  • Microprocessors and assembly programming
  • Logic Design
  • Engineering statistics
  • Software design
  • Computational modeling
  • Digital system design

Many computer science and engineering classes require laboratories. These laboratories are where you use the theories lectured by the professors and build small circuit layouts and program microprocessors. The laboratories are difficult for someone new in the field, so having a partner helps when designing your circuits and completing the lab assignments.

The Job Market

The job markes for both college majors overlap. A computer engineering major may go into software design, and a computer science major might find himself working with circuits and logic design. Some computer engineers work closely with both the circuit design and programming in low-level languages such as C++ and assembly.

Computer science majors are more likely to find jobs in software design. The job market offers these students several areas of expertise. Students can go into web design working with PHP, ASP, web hosting and database management. Computer science majors can also go into desktop programming or game development. These jobs are mostly set in a corporate environment creating software such as customer relations systems, financial applications and sales support. Game developers have a high salary requirement, but the work hours are long and the

Before diving into any college major, check the types of classes needed to graduate. Each class has different prerequisites and labs, so take that into consideration as part of your academic planning. Students also need to consider the basic, core subjects such as English, history, math and electives to earn a computer science or engineering degree.