Here's how to create a backup.

i. Address book in e-mail
It's fairly simple: Once you log into your e-mail account, go to the 'Contacts' section of the menu and store the e-mail address, snail mail address and phone numbers. You can even upload a favourite picture of the person.

Gmail is a great e-mail option as you can create groups for your contacts ie: Office contacts, friends, batch mates etc. You can store about 4,000 phone numbers and addresses in a contact book.


* Free of cost.
* Fairly good storage capacity of up to 1GB.
* Online access and mobility.


* Requires regular updates once every two to three days.
* e-mails always face the risk of being hacked.

ii. Electronic/ digital diary

Digital diaries can usually store about 32-256 KB of data, which is sufficient to store all your telephone numbers and contact details. You can even use this tool as an organiser and schedule appointments.

Casio, Sharp and Videocon are the popular brands in this category. A 128 KB diary from Casio is available for Rs 1,200 and can store up to Rs 3,000 phone numbers, with names and addresses.


* Small in size.
* Good for people who are on the move.
* Can store thousands of phone numbers.
* The search option makes finding information very easy.


* Uses two batteries at a time and requires a lot of battery as battery life is just about 1.5 - 2 hours.
* Each battery costs about Rs 60.

iii. Excel sheet
How about creating a basic Excel sheet to store the contact information of important people? This is one of the most simple and underrated methods.

"My background in risk management teaches me that simplicity is a key factor while planning for contingency. I find Excel sheets really useful," says Delhi based Avikal Dicxit, a director with Insurance Intelligence.

1. Create separate worksheets and name the sheet based on groups like: office contacts, friends, business partners, clients, etc.

2. Create special filters on each worksheet to look up important numbers. Select a row on which you want to create filters. Choose the 'Data' option from the menu list at the top. Select 'Filter' and then click on 'Auto Filter'. You can now choose selective information from a list of contacts.

3. Use the CTRL F (Press the Control & F keys together on the keyboard) to search any number or contact.

* Simplicity is its biggest advantage.
* Free of cost.
* You can keep uploading your Excel sheets to an online Yahoo briefcase.
* Each worksheet can store over 30,000 contact numbers and addresses.


* A hard drive crash can lead to loss of information.
* Limited mobility as it is an offline backup method.

iv. Mobile phone software
Most cell phone providers offer software such as PC synchronisation, which will enable you to transfer your cell phone contact list back to a computer and create a backup. You can read the brochure or contact the cell phone manufacturer for details regarding the additional software you will need to be able to do this.

The Nokia PC suite is one popular option you can download. It allows you to manage your contact list, music and messages and you can transfer data between your phone and PC. The PC suite works on all Bluetooth enabled models of Nokia, like the 6310.

You can even download Float's mobile agent. It currently supports only Sony Ericsson phones. But a newer version which will be launched in the future will support Nokia, Samsung and some other brands too.


* A fully loaded phonebook that can store text, video, pictures and numbers with a copy on your computer.
* You can send and receive SMSes even from your PC.
* Absolutely free and easily downloadable.
* You can transfer all your pictures, video files and phonebook to a PC and back.


* You need to be tech savvy to use these softwares but, if you follow the manual that comes along with the phone, you can easily learn the tricks.
* There is always the risk of virus, because you need to download them.

Cell phone don'ts

* Do not take out your SIM card from the phone and put it back again and again. It may get damaged and the phone book may get deleted.
* Never operate the phone during a virus infection or it may enter and damage your SIM and you will lose your phonebook entries and whatever else you have stored on your SIM card. If this happens, you will have to get a duplicate SIM from your operator. This does not come free. Airtel, for instance, charges about Rs 245 for a duplicate SIM.
* Never accept incoming connections or files unless you are expecting them.