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Where are Your Users Saving their Files? The Importance of Saving Files to a Shared (and Backed Up) Folder

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Where are Your Users Saving their Files? The Importance of Saving Files to a Shared (and Backed Up) Folder

Since the 1990s, computer users have been accustomed to saving their files to the My Documents or Documents folder on their PCs and Macs. Though part of the computer’s local file system, it’s time to break this habit to prevent the potential for data loss at work.

For example, several of our clients have lost data on their PCs because they failed to save their files in a shared folder on a shared server where those files could have been backed up. If the entire network goes down or an individual hard drive crashes, files stored outside of the backup system’s designated structure, most likely cannot be restored.

Why Use a Shared Folder?

Hard drives fail, which is why servers usually have redundant drives built in like RAID 5. PCs don’t have this luxury. When a hard drive in a PC or laptop fails, the data may be lost for good unless you had the foresight to back it up. Your users will rarely do this on their own. In fact, most will assume that your backup systems extends to every single PC on the network.

Thus, it is imperative that your users save their data to shared folder on the server, one that is backed up. They need to know that anything saved to their local desktop is not being actively backed up.

Designating a Shared Folder

Fortunately, it’s easy to set up a shared folder and map a network drive so that when users click the Save As button, the shared folder you want them to save their files in will appear. The easier you can make it for your users to make the right choice, the better.

Your server will have an option to share a folder or drive. The exact steps will vary based on which server software you are using. In Windows Server 2008 R2, for example, you’d go to Computer Management > System Tools > Shared Folders > Shares > Action > New Share. This will launch the Create a Shared Network Folder Wizard. Follow the prompts to set up your shared folder.

Accessing a Shared Folder

Make it easy for your end users to find this folder by mapping the network drive on each computer. Again, this process will vary based on the operating system. In Windows 10, for example, mapping a network drive is a simple matter of launching File Explorer, selecting This PC, clicking the Computer tab, selecting Map Network Drive, and following the prompts given by the Map Network Drive wizard.

Educating Your Users About the Importance of Saving Files to the Shared Folder

Old habits are hard to break, even when you’ve set up the system to make it as easy as possible. Make sure to train all users on the basics of your company’s file management system. Let them know why the system is set up the way it is (to ensure that all data is properly backed up) and they’ll be more likely to recognize the importance of following this simple policy. Occasional reminders and spot checks may be needed until everyone is consistently saving their data where it belongs.

Data loss is preventable! Quikteks can help you develop an entire backup strategy, including setting up shared folders and creating automated backups. Contact us today to get started.