Backing Up Office Files

Backing Up Office FilesIf you often work with Microsoft Office files such as .DOC, .XLS, .PPT and so on you will know the importance of backing these up regularly. There are two issues when we are discussing backup strategies, which is dependent on the situation or context. Firstly, you need to devise backup contingencies as you are working on such documents, and actively manage how Word, Excel and Powerpoint auto saves and recovers your work in case of a crash. In addition, you also need to have a plan and system set up for longer term storage and archiving issues, if and when you need access to you Office repository later on.

Managing autosave and recovery

All programs in the Microsoft Office suite of products have an auto save and recovery feature, but its effectiveness varies depending on whether the default setup suit your working practices. The first thing you should remember to do is to switch on the AutoRecover feature for all Microsoft Office programs you are currently using, if they haven't been already been enabled by default. You must ensure you do this before you experience the first power cut and abnormal termination or crash.

You need to also make sure that the save interval is short enough so that your work is saved frequently enough. This is particularly important for those of us that can touch type and quickly produce paragraphs on the fly in Word. To enable autosave and autorecover you need to check your settings. As we don't have the space here to detail every different way to do this in different versions of Office, as well as further complications in the different applications such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint and so on, the below should guide you to do what you need to do but are not specific step-by-step instructions as such.

From the main menus locate and click on File, you should be able to see the left side navigator pane expand. Locate an Options section somewhere near the bottom, click on this and your navigation panel will drill down further and show a further list of sub-level menus, with Save near the middle to the top. Click on this and your main display pane will show you lots of detailed information on how you save your Office document. The two key fields you need to check are "Save AutoRecover information every X minutes" and "Recover file location". Make sure the former is checked (enabled) and the save interval short enough to capture all your quick changes. Make adjustments as necessary. The latter is a useful reminder where your temporary working files (between saves) are stored, and should autorecovery fail for whatever reason you may still attempt manual recovery by going through the most recent working temp files there.

Storing and archiving your Office repository

You should have a backup and recovery plan in place for all your files and work, and this includes Office files too. Either manually backup via making copies of your Documents folder or install a backup and data protection software suite that will automatically run at scheduled times. Consider the media that you will use. Flash media such as SSDs (Solid State Drives) and USB sticks will always be available and allows quick access and restores on the fly, but is the most expensive type of media you can buy in terms of Pounds, Euros or Dollars per gigabyte. At the other end of the spectrum optical discs, such as DVD discs in its various formats, allow long term storage of large files but may be read only once written. Somewhere along this spectrum you have external hard disc/s in an enclosure which provide a good tradeoff between cost and ease of rewrite, access and restore.

With always on connectivity and ubiquitous cloud services available in todays computing environment, another alternative to back up your Office files is to use the many online drive services available, many of which even come free. Consider using Google Drive, Dropbox, Box and Microsoft Onedrive for your needs. The latter is highly recommended, because not only will it keep your files always available online, it also comes with Office Online for free that allow you to view and edit simple Office documents with a browser, without even having Office installed.

Of course, not everyone is comfortabl with the open nature of online cloud drives. If your Office documents contain sensitive and confidential information, using free online drive services is definitely discouraged. Upgrading and opting for a paid for service will provide better assurances of data security and availability. However, this still leaves the problem you'll need a working computer with a browser to access your work online, and in the most severe forms of hardware crashes you probably won't even be able to get online when your computer or device won't switch on. In such instances, you'll need to borrow access to a working device that can go online to complete your work first, and then restore your computer afterwards.