Why don’t people back up?

Why don’t people back up?

By Leo Notenboom

I recently posted a recommendation for a specific backup program, but it got me to thinking about backing up in general.

It’s a common topic here on Ask Leo! and for a good reason. Not a day goes by that I don’t see somebody suffering for lack of a backup. Not a day goes by that I don’t see somebody who could have avoided a serious problem simply by having had a backup.

So why don’t more people back up?

It’s tempting to think that people are being lazy, but I believe that that’s quite unfair. As I mentioned in another commentary, people just expect computers to work. Unfortunately, as we see over and over, it’s frequently not true; it’s just not a realistic expectation.

Let’s face it. Those of us who’ve used computers for any length of time know better. Not because we’re any smarter, but because in all likelihood, we’ve experienced a catastrophic data loss at some point or another. We know better because we’ve been burned.

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This post is excerpted with permission from Leo Notenboom.

Leo Notenboom

Leo A. Notenboom is the owner of Puget Sound Software, LLC and the Leo in Ask Leo!. Leo has been in the personal computer and software industry since 1979, as a software engineer, a manager of software engineers, and as a consultant. In 1983 Leo joined what was then a medium sized local company called Microsoft and spent the next 18 years in a wide variety of groups working on a wide variety of software. If you're running Microsoft Windows, if you've used a Microsoft development tool or Microsoft Money, or if you've ever purchased a ticket through Expedia, there's a good chance you've been touched by some of his work. And of course, since 2003, Leo has been answering your tech questions on Ask Leo!


  1. Thank you guys. I love all the tips you give us. I learn something new every day and that is what I want to do.

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