Why you always need three copies of everything

“So” he said, “You have two external hard drives, they plug into your computer with these leads here, these are called USB leads and they plug into a USB socket, just like that one on your computer, and when they are both plugged in you have three hard drives instead of one”

“Hmmm” is what I said, “Why ?”

“So that you can take two copies of every important thing on your computer hard drive” he said “and in that way if your computer hard drive fails one day then you will have two other copies and you won’t be left a gibbering wreck mourning the passing of everything you hold computer-sacred”

“Mmmmm” is what I said, “Sounds easy”

“It is” is what he said, “all you have to do is remember to back up your computer-sacred stuff regularly”

“Oh yes” is what I said, “I will do that then”

And thats what I did, I copied all of my e-music onto the backup drives and all of the last ten years worth of photographs and a load of music videos that I’d sort of temporarily “borrowed” from YouTube and all was well with the world, I had three copies of everything, how very excellent.

And then earlier this year I got that “this computer needs the shit sorting out of it” sort of feeling in my head and in doing so I regarded the two backup drives with a sceptical gaze, why did I need three copies of everything, I didn’t need three copies of everything at all, two copies was ample, in fact, one copy would suffice, if one copy would suffice then I would have three times the amount of hard disc space to use for other stuff.

And by this time I had lots of other stuff to save, I had started to photograph my selling artwork in much higher quality then before and those HQ photos were 4mb each, I needed the hard disc space…

So I copied all of the computer-sacred stuff onto one external hard drive and cleared a load of space on the computer hard drive which made it run a lot nicer, and I had the third hard drive in reserve for when I filled up the second one, all was well in the world, I had one copy of everything and life was still very excellent.

You know what’s coming next don’t you ?

So I’m typing away on Sunday afternoon and browsing also on the external hard drive that holds all of the computer-sacred stuff when a message pops up and something else happens at the same time and I’m busy sorting the second thing out so I just close the first message but even as it fades from screen I realise that its saying something like “Your external hard drive is fooked, you idiot” and the light goes off in its case, and I’m fooked.

3000 MP3 tracks, ten years worth of photos, tons of music videos that I never got the chance to give back to YouTube, all gone in the blink of a blue light, the bloody thing didn’t even fade slowly into death like HAL did on “2001 Space Odyssey”, didn’t sing “Daisy” or anything, it just said “Urgggh” and vanished off the radar.

One day all computers will die this way instead …



3 thoughts on “Why you always need three copies of everything

  1. Off the back of this article I have backed up
    computer; first time in a year. The rule of three is correct thought but I have never adopted. My wife still don’t know all our photos from
    2003-2005 are kaput.

  2. Blue light? Not on an Hitachi external drive is it, like the one sitting next to me holding all my precious back-ups? (Gulp.)

    Time to buy that second external drive.

  3. I’ve fallen back on the attitude that “Pah!, I never needed that stuff anyway”

    Yes, self denial.

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