When I started writing this post, I had high hopes that I would be able to recover the data from my damaged USB drive.  Sadly, my USB drive activated just long enough to say goodbye.  The LED on the drive glowed for about 30 seconds and then fizzled out.  The bad news was I lost my portable storage.  The good news is I didn’t lose all my data.

But Wes, how can that be?  You just said that your USB drive gave up the ghost.  How come you didn’t lose all your data?  That’s because I used the USB drive as a file cache for transporting data back and forth.  My USB contains only the latest documents I’ve been working on.  It isn’t used to backup my data.

Everybody should be in the habit of backing up their data in multiple places.  A while back I wrote an article (“Online Storage Showdown“) about online storage.

My suggestion is that everybody keep at least one backup copy of their important information somewhere other than on their computer.  Maybe it’s on another computer, a NAS (Network Attached Storage), a removable hard disk that you keep in a safe or on backup CDs or DVDs.

Don’t rely on your USB drive as a backup.  Always back up your USB drive. Use it as a tool to keep your primary and alternate computers synchronized with the latest documents you’re working on.