Preventing data disaster

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This article should help to avoid data loss and gives some hints.

Data security when using LibreOffice

Preventing data disaster

Every morning someone gets up, goes to the computer and observes:

″My data has disappeared, yesterday or just a moment ago they were still there″ [1].

One way or another, it happens every day. We don't know how many people are affected.

Is it thoughtlessness, recklessness, indifference, or the hope ″Oh, nothing's gonna happen".

"It's all worked out fine so far".

But, the data disaster has just struck!

Then the panic is great.

Whether it is a job for school, university, employer or yourself, it is usually just important and urgent information that you have written down or entered, because it must be ready today or immediately.

Why can data be lost?

Here are a few examples:

  • The storage medium (hard disk, SSD, CD, DVD or stick) has been damaged and data can no longer be read.
  • The edited file was not saved, or the saving process was interrupted.
  • The edited file was saved in an incorrect file format.
  • The program you were working with crashed unexpectedly.
  • An essential computer component suddenly fails.
  • There is a voltage dip or power failure.
  • The user overwrites a created file with an empty file.
  • The user accidentally deletes the created file.

The reality of why data is lost could go on and on.

However, most errors are not caused by hardware or software, but by the user.

How can we largely prevent data loss?

To prevent data from being lost, the so-called data backup is used.

And there are many possibilities.

It already starts with the editing of a document.

The more important a document is to you, the more often you should save it.

LibreOffice intern

Saving Documents Automatically from latest help.

Dialog box: Options Load/Save – General
Path - Backup copies

LibreOffice offers via the menu Tools ▸ Options ▸ Load/Save ▸ General at ″Save″ the possibility to save the AutoRecovery information every "X minutes" ("X" stands for the number of minutes).

LibreOffice uses the AutoRecovery information to recover a file after a crash.

File Backup

In addition, a check mark can be set there to ″Always create a backup copy″.

This means that when you save a document, the previously saved status of the document is saved in a copy with the extension .bak.

The next time you save, it will be overwritten by the next state.

This is an action that is primarily intended to enable you to go back to an earlier status yourself if you have made mistakes while editing a document. [2]

Backup copies are stored in the directory that is defined in Extras there at Backup copies is set.

Under Windows 10, the backup copies are stored by default in the directory C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\LibreOffice\4\user\backup deposited.

Simple file duplication

In the simplest case you create a copy of the file.

However, if it is on the same data medium as the original, both versions of the file can be lost if the data medium is defective.

So it makes sense to save a copy of the important files on an external data medium.

Short-term storage or -backup

When working on a file, never save directly to an external disk connected via USB.

USB is relatively slow (compared to data transfer to main memory) and saving operations are "asynchronous" - that is: The operating system reports a completed save operation as soon as all data is in a memory buffer (in main memory).

But this does not mean that the data is already mapped to the (USB) memory!

Remember that a memory stick or an external hard disk has not yet saved all data when the file manager signals the end of the save operation.

Use the possibilities of your operating system, with the function Hardware safely remove and medium eject ▸ Medium eject of the data medium.

Therefore, always save their files first in principle on an internal drive in your PC.

Then you can use a memory stick or an external hard drive for short-term storage or backup.

For example, use your file manager to save a file from the internal drive to a memory stick or external hard drive.

 Note: Observe the memory stick or external hard disk until the indicator lamp stops flashing or the operating system releases the external memory.

Data backup

An already quite professional data backup is achieved if you use

  1. a program for data backup and
  2. external storage (External Hard_disk_drive⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg, Network-attached_storage⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg, Cloud_computing⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg) is used.

Data backup program

A backup program has the advantage that a complete backup of the computer data is usually performed.

This requires data medium that is large enough to store all this data.

Programs for data protection are also called backup programs for short.

These usually have extensive functions, such as:

  • the time planning of the backup
  • use of a backup scheme, such as incremental backup
  • possible encryption of the backup
  • possible password protection
  • Validation of the backup

Time/quantity factor

The time-volume factor plays an important role in data backup.

You should make this dependent on how many new files you create in a certain period of time and to what extent.

If you are a frequent writer or edit complex databases, you should back up your data as often as possible.

For this purpose you can use all the options listed above for your needs.

Data backup planning

Think carefully about what is the best procedure for you to keep your data as secure as possible.

The best thing is to make a note of what you want to do, make a backup plan.

Try to automate the backup process as much as possible.

And make a checklist of the actions to be taken manually.

Residual risk

You have probably already noticed that a small residual risk always remains, but it is very low with correct data backup.

Surely you will not initiate the backup after every written word, but consider what can be restored with a radjusted effort.

Organization on the PC or drive

For working at the PC it is as important as in other areas of life to create Organization. [3]

Further Informations

Links to AskLibreOffice

[1] Links to [EN]


[2] Extension

One way to do this is the extension TimeStampBackup:

If you use the icon or command provided by this extension instead of the ″Save″ icon or menu command, each time you save, a copy of the previous state is saved under a unique name containing the date and time so that you have a history of your saved versions.

File management

[3] File management

Documentation / Manuals

Here you will find the Documentation / Manuals:

Documentation / Manuals

Any questions?

For questions on this topic go to:


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Link to the Video

Link to the Video:

Preventing data disaster – LibreOffice 6.4