Gamers: Do you Back-up your Data?

Sometimes, technology breaks. Even the most expensive and well-crafted piece of hardware can fall victim to an accident or an ill-planned Windows Update. Whether it can be fixed on the spot depends on all kinds of factors but the likelihood is that the average user won’t have the knowledge or tools required to make a quick repair. Unfortunately, this means that essential files can be irretrievably lost. Can you prevent that from happening?

Data Loss

For gamers, the most common problems involve keyboards, mice, microphones, etc., but there’s also the potential for a disaster caused by data loss. That can happen for a host of different reasons, some of them outside the control of players. The WebTribunal site claims that the failure rate of hard drives in Q3 2020 was 0.89%, for example, with hardware problems as a whole responsible for up to 40% of data loss incidents.

A tech survival kit can serve the dual purpose of enabling quick fixes and helping the user avoid having to replace expensive pieces of hardware – which most gamers have. What exactly should be included in a tech survival kit? An infographic created by ExpressVPN on the topic splits the contents of this restorative bag into four categories. These are data storage devices, phones and accessories, chargers and power, and tools.

The first grouping, data storage, is arguably the most important, as it can be used to store non-physical copies of documents and stave off the consequences of data loss. Documents detailing receipts and insurance policies are helpful in lots of different scenarios but copying them onto hardware doesn’t happen by magic. The onus is on everybody to keep backups of important files, a need that resulted in the creation of World Backup Day (March 31).

Just how widespread is this practice though?

Cloud Saves

report from Acronis notes that 93% of hardware users make an annual backup, while 73% perform the task on a more regular basis. These numbers might seem surprisingly high given how poorly the average person ranks on password hygiene and other aspects of online safety. Gamers are often in quite a privileged position as far as content back-ups are concerned though, given that the service is usually performed automatically and without any financial cost to the player.

For example, Valve’s Steam platform provides the option for players to back up their files wherever they like, via each title’s Properties menu. Simply visit the Local Files tab to save game content to a preferred destination. Valve recommends that users then either burn these files to a CD/DVD or move them to another secure location.

On that latter point, Steam also provides automatic cloud saves, which can resist even uninstallation of the game in question. This can be invaluable in the event of a hardware problem to prevent data loss. Microsoft’s Xbox console has much the same cloud functionality too, provided that the console is connected to the internet. However, Sony requires that users purchase PlayStation Plus before their device will sync with the cloud.

It might be a frequent topic in the newspapers but data loss is an almost entirely avoidable problem with a bit of preparation.

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