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eTip-003     Backing up your important eTouch records

Backing up information is one of the basics when working with computers. In eTouch for Health, personal records, session results and photos are all 'dynamic' information that should be routinely backed up. A large portion of eTouch contains 'static' information and can always be restored from the master eTouch CD, but you must keep your changing personal and session records backed up.

eTouch provides a backup feature that is part of the solution, but not the complete solution since while it saves copies of your important files, it does so on the same disk where your eTouch software resides. If you have a problem with your hard drive, then both your master files and your backup files are on the same drive. In this tip, we look at some options for securing your data. But, even if you do not copy these backup files to another device, it is very important that you routinely run Backup when you are exiting eTouch for Health. These copies of files are saved in the Backup folder that is found in your eTouch for Health folder. Normally, the eTouch folder is in your Programs or Applications folder.

When eTouch backs up, it writes over the last version that you previously backed up so that you will only have one set of backup files. eTouch has a Restore and Upgrade feature which allow you to recover from a serious problem or upgrade to a future version of eTouch and both of these features use the files that you have previously backed up. Keeping a copy of these backup files is required in these two scenarios.

Today, many new computers have either CD and/or DVD recording devices built in with software included for 'burning' the discs. If your computer has this capability, use it to make a copy of the eTouch Backup folder. Usually, with the 'Drag and Drop' feature in the newer Operating Systems, you can simply drag the folder to the CD/DVD software window or icon to prepare the files for writing to the CD/DVD.

It is a good idea to have multiple backup copies and to store them in different secure locations. Some people have multiple hard drives on their computer. Copying the Backup folder to a companion hard drive is one of the quickest ways to backup, but, with this method, you do not have a copy that is on a different computer and in another location in case something happens to your primary computer.

A relatively new device that we are excited about is the USB 2.0 Flash 'Thumbdrive'. These remarkable minature devices have reached capacities and prices where they are now attractive alternatives as a backup device. In the photo on the right, I compare the different capacities of backup devices. For a historical comparison of devices, the large reddish disk is a 15 megabyte Shugart drive from the 1979-80 period. In my first job in computers, I built custom microprocessor-based systems and we used this drive. At that time, it stored every book in the inventory of a bookstore and stored a year's worth of sales records for the bookstore. Today, it would hold one high resolution digital photograph.

In my left hand are a CD and a DVD. The recordable CD can hold up 650 megabytes of information while the capacity of a DVD RW is 4.7 gigabytes. DVD RW discs can be rewritten about 1,000 times which makes them a large capacity and cost effective media for data storage and backups.

The small hard drive leaning against the older drive in the photo is the size of drives that today can routinely hold 250 gigabytes of information. Having a separate hard drive is one of the quickest and easiest ways to save backup copies.

In my right hand is a new one gigabyte USB 2.0 Flash Thumbdrive. You simply plug it into your USB 2.0 port and it operates just like a hard disk. When you copy your files and make your backups, you can simply put the drive into your shirt pocket like a lighweight pen. The size is so small that it makes it very easy to store and transport. This device was on special for $79 and had a $20 rebate.

Comparison of Capacities:

Shugart 1500 Hard Drive (largest): 15 megabytes

CD: 650 megabytes (43 times as much as the Shugart)

Flash ThumbDrive (smallest): 1 gigabyte (67 times as much as the Shugart)

DVD: 4.7 gigabytes (313 times as much as the Shugart)

Hard Disk: 250 gigabytes (over 1500 times as much as the Shugart)

With all these options available, everyone should now have options for storing backup copies. Hopefully, your backup copies will only be needed when it is time to upgrade to a new version of eTouch for Health. But, if a computer related problem did occur, having a current backup copy will be very handy or, in some cases, the only way to recover from a problem and restore eTouch to working order. As we said, hopefully, you will never need these, but it is a good habit to routinely backup your data.



The Backup folder is located inside your eTouch for Health folder, as shown below. On Windows, eTouch is installed in your programs folder and on Macintosh, it should be in your Applications folder. Burning a copy of the Backup folder to a CD or DVD is highly recommended and is required for upgrading!

It is also recommended to drag a copy of Alpha.ETH to the folder. On Windows, you can right click on Alpha.ETH and Copy it and then Paste it inside the Backup folder. On Mac, Option-Drag the Alpha.ETH file and it will make a copy of it. Before Upgrading to a new version of eTouch, ALWAYS perform this complete backup procedure, including copying Alpha.ETH to your Backup folders.