(A short version of this article first appeared in Matthew Harris' Disk Compression Book)

The "Grandfather-Father-Son" Back-Up Method


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Putting The Grandfather Method To Work
Restoring Files
Copyright © 2012-2017 by Matthew S Harris

Matthew S Harris is a software & database designer, contract programmer & consultant.

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What would you lose if your computer hard-disk failed, right now, this instant?

As a business, you might lose your entire accounting and customer-relations data, inventory records, correspondence — in short, everything that makes your business possible on a day-to-day basis. As an individual, you might lose irreplaceable photos of family and friends, music or videos purchased in electronic format, your original creations of music and visual art, and many other items of value to you.

The only way to ensure that your losses are not severe is to systematically make back-up copies of your files. This article describes how to use a tried-and-true method — known as the Grandfather-Father-Son method — to protect your data.

The Grandfather-Father-Son back-up method gets its name from the idea that the back-up spans several "generations" of data. The Grandfather-Father-Son (for brevity, referred to as Grandfather) back-up method is cost-effective, comprehensive, and secure. Using the Grandfather method involves a simple daily routine, taking only a few minutes each day.

The Grandfather method uses a rotational system over a period of twelve weeks (3 months). After you go through the twelve-week cycle at least once, you have the ability to restore files from various points within the past three months. When used properly, the Grandfather method can ensure that you never lose more than 1 day's worth of file changes in the event of a complete data loss.

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