No. of Recommendations: 17
It's Monday morning and most of you have surely done something in Quicken over the weekend. Please answer this quick questionnaire:

1. Where is your most recent backup of your Quicken files?
2. Is your backup on a reliable medium or are there at least two verified copies on unreliable media?
3. Have you ever restored your Quicken data from one of your backups?

I bring this up because this weekend I delivered a death sentence to a friend who behaved like his computer and data were bulletproof. Despite my preaching, he faithfully backed up his Quicken data into a file on another logical drive on the same hard disk drive in that computer. It was fast and easy that way. Friday night/Saturday morning there was a break-in and burglary. Along with several easy-to-fence toys and costume jewelry the computer is gone. His backup is gone ... well, not entirely gone. After he'd used Quicken for about six months I demonstrated backing up to floppies and he has those as a starting point. Six months of data out of nearly six years. I think that's enough to discourage him from starting over with Quicken.

KennyO's laws of NOT backups:
If it's on the same drive it's NOT a backup.
If it's on a different drive in the same computer, it's NOT a backup.
If it's on floppy disks and there's only one copy, it's NOT a backup.
If it's on floppy disks and hasn't been verified to be readable on another computer, it's NOT a backup.
If it's on floppy disks and isn't write protected, it's NOT a backup.
If it's on one USB memory key it's NOT a backup.
If it's on two USB memory keys and they're in the same place it's NOT a backup.
If it isn't labeled with date and software version it's NOT a backup.
If it's on a different computer in the same place, it's not a safe backup.
If it's in the same building it's not a safe backup.

My recommendation to all who ask:
- back up when you've done enough work that you wouldn't want to do that much again.
- back up to the most reliable medium you can afford (CD-R, tape, another hard drive, Zip or Jaz or equal and a network file server are all good; floppies and USB keys are fine for transferring files from one computer to another but poor as long term backup media because they're fragile).
- keep at least two backups either alternating each time or making two copies to store in separate places. I like keeping the two most recent backups at my office.
- label and date your backups NOW! A backup is useless unless you know what you have in your hand.

My practice is to back up monthly immediately after reconciling Quicken with my broker statements. I copy my data to a portable hard drive that goes to work with me. It's reliable and it's off site. Two or three times a year I burn my financial data to a CD-R that's closed out so it can't be written to again. I read the CD on another computer. My DW drops the CD into the safe deposit box at the bank and pulls out the older of the two that were there. Sure, it's overkill but my time is valuable and I've put a lot of time into bookkeeping since I first used Quicken 2.0 for MS-DOS. I'm extremely unlikely to lose my Quicken data covering 1983-2005.

As I stated last December,
Repeat as needed.

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