Here at Computer Helper Publishing, the most frustrating calls our Support Techs get from Church Windows users involve hard drive crashes or other computer malfunctions where the PC is no longer working correctly or has been reformatted and the church does not have a current backup. As a Tech, they are powerless to help and, possibly even more frustrating, it’s a preventable issue!

Although many computers have software in place that will back up the entire hard drive, we’ve also seen situations where those are fallible and have left churches without data. So, regardless of what software you use, we here presently beg and plead for you to get a data backup routine in place that incorporates some or all of the following ideas.

Jumping back in time a bit, it has been a fascinating progression in the past 20 years to see the types of data backup media that have come and gone. And it has been amazing to see the data storage capacity of the device increase exponentially.  When Church Windows was in its infancy as we had just stopped development of LCCS, our DOS-based church software program, churches would back up onto a 5-1/4” floppy disk of about 720kB capacity. Along came the smaller but more powerful 3-1/2” floppy disk of 1.44MB capacity. (There are some variations to these because of “double density” and developing technologies. But these numbers work to demonstrate the progression.)

But let’s move forward and stick to the important stuff. You can use a USB/thumb drive, an automated backup system, or some sort of cloud storage, but please ensure that you have a consistent routine in place. These days, “capacity” won’t be an issue as it was in our flashback. For backups, a monthly backup is not enough, unless you feel extremely lucky or unless you completely trust computers. (In either case, you really shouldn’t.) We suggest weekly or a few times a week. After all, a backup only takes seconds to make!

And though we never want to think about anything happening to the church as a building, things can and, sadly, do happen. Consequently, make absolutely certain to keep one current backup copy off-site. Make it a routine. Take a copy home every Tuesday and Thursday – whatever works for you. Just please make it consistent and convenient. The techs at Church Windows (and any other software you use) will thank you not for not having that awkward, embarrassing phone call where we’re powerless to help.