IT Spring Clean

With the weather warming up, many people are out cleaning cars, gardening and tidying homes and garages.  Spring cleaning can apply to your data, documents and IT systems too, so this is a great time of year to purge unwanted data and files.

Start by looking at your backups, the reason will become obvious shortly.  Ensure that all the folders you expect to be backed up are actually being backed up.  Ever tried recovering data?  If you haven’t, do so now.

Once you are convinced your backup and recovery process is working, you can start to purge old data.  Do you really need customer data files from over five years ago? Could you obtain the data again if you worked for the customer on another project?  Within your own records, are there folders and files that are outdated, so are effectively unusable?  Be brutal, and purge your data folders.  You could always burn folders to CD or DVD and post to your customers.

This brings me nicely onto removable media.  So, all those unlabelled CDs and DVDs in your home study or office pedestal, are they needed?  It’s probably worth a quick look at each one, and most shredders can now shred CDs too.  Get rid.  You can fit over 3,000 CDs worth of data onto a two terabyte hard drive, which is normal storage provided with a new PC.

Emails can be archived too.  If you use a mail application such as Outlook, you can create an archive and ‘export’ as an Outlook Data File, which creates a ‘.pst’ file.  Burn this to CD or DVD, label it, and put it somewhere secure like a home safe.  Do this once per year, and shred CDs over 5 years old, or longer if you have regulatory responsibilities.

Paper soon amasses too.  Scan essential pages, name meaningfully, and shred the originals.

Get spring cleaning – you could soon find yourself with more hard drive space and more desk space too.


How to archive outlook emails: