You never think about losing your files, so backing them up never occurs to you … until it’s too late. At that point you should not be asking yourself “How do I backup my Computer?” Back ups are extremely easy to keep, so there’s no reason not to have one.
A computer crash is bad, but we can usually recover from it with a simple reboot. Usually the worst that happens is that we spend a few hours redoing work. What if it is something more? What if it can’t be solved with a simple reboot? Components wear out and eventually you will have a catastrophic hardware failure. Even if your computer is new, things can still go wrong. You could even pick up a virus that jeopardizes your files. When your hard drive fails will you be prepared?
Take a serious look at your computer and ask yourself when was the last time you backed anything up? If your computer was to go belly-up today, how much would you lose? Save yourself the nightmare and get protected by doing regular backups of your valuable information. When it comes to backing up your data there is no such thing as overkill, so the best way to preserve it is to use multiple methods.
Use a writer to save valuable files on a disc, then when the computer crashes or is attacked by a virus you don’t need to worry. The files can be quickly and easily recovered. If it is something extremely valuable that you want to have around for years, then it is suggested that you make multiple discs so one can be kept at home and the other kept somewhere like a safe deposit box.
A USB flash drive may have a limited capacity, but it is quick and convenient. This is a fantastic way to back up something you are currently working on. A flash drive is not suggested for long-term backup, as they do tend to be fragile and their size makes them easy to lose.
External Hard drive
An external hard drive is a self-contained drive, similar to the one already in your computer. You connect it to your system (usually with a USB connection) and your computer reads it as another hard drive. You can generally make a complete copy of your entire hard drive (see instructions below) then disconnect it when not in use. Anything that happens to your computer will not affect the external drive, as long as it is not connected.
If you travel frequently and want to be able to access files while on the road without carrying around disks or drives, then you probably already use this method without even thinking about it. Attach your valuable files to an email and, as long as your email is remotely stored, you should be able to access the file through your email from anywhere.
Online Backup Storage
Your files can be saved via an online backup or storage service. These are remote servers that are available online from anywhere. Some will save a limited amount of data for free, however, for a small fee, many of them will provide you with unlimited storage. They are simple to use and password protected.
If you have valuable photos or documents, one of the best backup methods you can do is to simply print them out. This gives you a hard copy that is easily accessible and easily stored. Electronic media does eventually go bad, so this is the best way to preserve things you can not afford to lose.
How Do I Backup My Computer? System Backup
All the above methods are fantastic when it comes to saving valuable files, but what about the programs themselves? Even if you have the original disc, you will still be missing all the updates and any custom tweaks. When you have a complete hard drive failure, you stand a chance of losing saved material that is embedded in the program itself. Windows has a great built-in backup utility that will completely copy your hard drive — it only takes a few steps to get it started.
It is generally recommended that you do this on an external hard drive that is larger than your current hard drive, so you have room for the future. When you first install an external hard drive Windows will ask if you want to use it as a backup, tell it yes and follow the steps. If you do not get the prompt then go to the start menu and type ‘back up’ in the search box it should give you Backup and Restore, which you will choose.
Select “Set up backup” and choose the external drive you have recently connected, then follow the prompts to complete the backup. Windows will make its first backup of your hard drive and continue making backups in the background at regularly scheduled intervals. You have now done a backup of your entire hard drive. If you ever need to restore a lost file, you can use the “Restore my files” or “Restore user file” options under Backup and Restore.
Whether it is family pictures or accounting spreadsheets, losing data is a nightmare. Occasionally, you can recover something from a major failure, but it’s not common, and even then it’s not always uncorrupted itself. Protect yourself today. “How do I backup my computer?” is not something you want to be asking after a crash.