Protect Your Precious Data with Backups

Article by Scott Durksen, CSWE updated March 26, 2013

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It’s one of the worst feelings when deadlines are bearing down on you.  As you’re browsing through the directory of your current major project, you can’t find a file.  Maybe someone deleted it or moved it.  Or you open a file but it only gives you a message that the file cannot be opened.  Murphy’s Law states that these scenarios always occur hours before your deadline.  A little preparation and investment will turn these panic attack moments into a save the day hero moment.

First let’s look at a few scenarios.  Did another user move or delete the files?  Do you have a way of tracking these changes?  Can you bring back a file that was deleted by accident?  What if someone overwrites the file with a version that is missing a bunch of information?  Can you open a previous version?

What about a file corruption?  Although this is rare, it is something to be aware of and understand how to prevent it.  Corruptions usually occur during the saving process.  If there is an interruption as the data packets are being saved to the disk, a few missing ones and zeros may turn an awesome design into hard drive filler.  Saving your files directly over a network has a much greater chance of corruption as there are cables, switches, routers, wall jacks, etc that can all introduce interruptions.  See Chris’ post about how networks differ from local drives.

And finally the worst nightmare.  A hard disk failure, a fire, a theft.  All your data is lost.

Now that I’ve struck fear into your hearts and minds, use this to your advantage!  Create a plan to ensure that no file is lost!

  • A PDM system is the best solution as this keeps previous revisions of your files, tracks who makes changes, work locally then transfer the files to the network vault to centralize data for easy backups.  For more information, see Eric’s post about Enterprise PDM.
  • If you are unable to enjoy the advantages of a PDM system, you should always still backup your files.  Use the SolidWorks backup tool (http://help.solidworks.com/2013/English/solidworks/sldworks/hidd_options_backups.htm), copy the files to external hard drives, do whatever you need to do so your files will still be there when you need them most.
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Scott Durksen, CSWE

Scott is a SOLIDWORKS Elite Applications Engineer and is based in our Dartmouth, Nova Scotia office.