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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The value of saving emails and old files

I often clean out useless emails to save space, but I learned a long time ago not to remove genuine business emails.

We recently had two situations where this has proved of extreme value to our business.

1) We were asked to provide information about a difficult situation to a supplier. We were able to go back through the emails and provide a paper trail going over a number of months.

2) Today we were asked to provide a copy of a purchase order from 1979. Now it happens that our history files are all stored on a ZIP disk. Problem is that the only ZIP drive we have is a SCSI drive that doesn't fit any of our current computers. So we are unable to access the files. Fortunately our email files go back that far and while we couldn't provide the original document we could at least provide emails that referenced it and gave all the correct details.

SO DON'T DISCARD THOSE EMAIL FILES !!! You never know when you'll need them. And being email they are easily moved from one system to another as you update your computer. Even small businesses like ours need to have this type of backup in place.

That brings up another matter. The rapid changes in technology mean that you need to be aware of being able to access old files.

So when you update your computers you need to make sure that the files on your old computer are still accessible. Ant that applies to software as well. We actually have old data files that we can no longer access because the software we used doesn't work on the current operating system. The safest way seems to be to save old files as PDF. We even have very old word processor documents that can't be read, although we could extract some information from them. Even worse are old graphics files that were done in software that is no longer available.

The moral of the story is that you need to think of the future every time you update hardware or software.

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