Strategies For Data Loss Prevention

Many years ago I developed a strategy for building a customers’ home PC in a way that helps avoid future technical support problems and increases customer satisfaction. Part of that strategy is partitioning the hard drive in a way that can prevent data loss when Windows crashes. By creating multiple partitions, the operating system can be installed on it’s own primary partition, allowing user created data to be saved on another partition. When the operating system crashes or becomes corrupt, data saved to logical drive partitions are not affected. If needed, the primary partition containing the operating system can be formatted or the OS reinstalled without the loss of saved data.

Drawbacks to the multiple partition strategy:

As we all know, the Windows operating system automatically saves files to the C: drive, leaving the user with the responsibility of making sure their files are saved on a separate partition. Let’s face facts. Unless a file is saved to the Windows Desktop folder the average user will not be able to find it. The Windows default path for a users documents and settings can be changed to another drive partition but that does not cure the problem since user installed programs save to the C: drive by default. In reality, the multiple partition strategy only works with advanced users who are not too lazy to save their work in a safe place.

What is an advanced user?

Until recently my idea of an advanced Windows user was a user who had a great deal of knowledge about the inner workings of computer hardware and software. To become more in line with the PC industry definition of an “Advanced User” I have redefined my definition of an advanced user. An advanced user can be determined by answering one simple question; Does the user understand the file system? A Windows user is advanced if she/he can save a file to a specific folder and then find that file with Windows Explorer. Finding a file with the application that created it does not count.

The multiple partition strategy works great for advanced users and gives technicians some peace of mind. Average users on the other hand, require other more hands on alternatives such as backup scheduling. Unless a technician wants to visit a customer on a regular basis to do periodic maintenance an auto backup schedule should be implemented It is not wise to leave the data backup task in the hands of an average user for many reasons.

Creating a Strategy:

To create your own strategy take into consideration how the PC will be used and the skill level of the intended users and the hardware available. Try to set up automatic backups using Windows Task Manager or 3rd party backup software if users are average or new to computers. You might also consider a CD or DVD backup strategy. An online backup service is a good choice for users with a broadband internet connection. No matter what strategy you use, make backups as easy and simple as possible. The more hands free your backup strategy is, the more likely you will avoid data loss.


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