You don't need tricky, technical examples of fancy backup strategies; they have no point here. You want to know the basics of backing up your Quicken 2012 files, right? Back up every month after you reconcile. Then stick the flash drive in your briefcase or somewhere offsite, so if something terrible happens at home, you don’t lose both your computer and the backup disk with the data.

This basic strategy has a few problems, however. For example, because you're backing up only once per month, you may have to re-enter as much as a month’s worth of data if the computer crashes toward the end of the month.

If you have really heavy transaction volumes — if you write hundreds of checks per month, for example — you may want to back up more frequently than monthly, such as once weekly. If you use the same disk or set of disks to back up your Quicken file, Quicken will warn you before it replaces the old file with the new one.

You can go ahead and let Quicken do this, as long as you’re sure that you won’t want to access the old file anymore.

A second problem with this strategy is only remotely possible but is still worth mentioning. If something bad does happen to the Quicken files stored on your computer’s hard drive and the files stored on the backup disc, you're up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

You should note that a removable disc may be more likely to fail or get lost than a hard drive. If this worst-case scenario actually occurs, you’ll need to start over from scratch from the beginning of the year. To prevent this scenario from happening, some people — those who are religiously careful — make more than one backup copy of their Quicken files.

By the way, Quicken periodically prompts you to back up when you try to exit. (You’ll see a message that basically says, “Friend, backing up is a darn good idea.”) You can, of course, choose to ignore this message. Or you can take Quicken’s advice and do the backup thing.

You know what else? Here’s a secret feature of Quicken: Quicken adds a subdirectory called Backup to the Quicken directory. And Quicken will stick a backup copy of your files in this directory every few days. (Sorry to be vague on this point, but it’s hard to be specific and concrete when it comes to undocumented features.)