Do you know how to back up a computer to an external drive for peace of mind and good management?
If not, read on and learn how to make your data safe, so that it will be portable and easily accessible.
How many times have you been working on a document, spreadsheet or photo program only to find the computer decides to have a wobbly?
Loads of times, I bet!
How To Back Up A Computer – Safety in Storage!
Computers are liable to have ‘off days’, just like all of us, but one thing they don’t do without plenty of encouragement is to ALWAYS TO KEEP OUR DATA SAFE.
We can spend hours and hours in Photoshop or any other program, designing and re-designing our images and layouts. Even though we keep saving our files to the hard drive, there’s no guarantee that we’ll be able to access them after a fatal crash.
Very few of us, in fact, 90% don’t create backups regularly – why not, are we too busy or too lazy?
If you don’t own at least one external hard drive – then do think about it, as
~ IT IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS YOU CAN DO
~ AND YOU’LL NEVER REGRET IT
Definition of What Backup Is
I’m sure it’s self-explanatory nevertheless:
In IT, ‘backing up‘ is the process that refers to the copying and archiving of computer data so that it can be used to restore the original after a data loss event.
Backups have two special purposes:
- The first and primary purpose is to recover lost data, either from the deletion or corruption of that data.
- The second is to recover data from an earlier time; that had already been configured within a backup application.
Backups frequently represent an ordinary method of disaster recovery, and, therefore, should be part of a disaster recovery plan. But, on their own, backups should not be considered disaster recovery. One reason for this is that not all backup systems or backup applications can reconstitute a computer system by restoring data alone from a backup.
Since any system of backup contains, at least, one copy of all data worth saving, the data storage requirements can be highly significant. So, organizing this storage space and managing the backing up process can be a complicated task.
Data has to be selected, extracted, and manipulated before it is sent to its storage location. Several techniques have been developed to optimize data storage which include the following:
Data loss can be a regular experience of computer users. Don’t let it happen to you!
How to Backup a Windows PC or Laptop
Here’s a quick overview of your options for backups. Also, it’s sensible to create a few copies of your files on more than one backup drive.
1. Backup to an external hard drive.
This is the by far the easiest way to backup your chosen files.
- First, attach your USB external hard drive or flash drive to your computer. Then by using Windows Explorer, open two windows to make the transfer easier.
- Copy the files from your computer to the external drive using drag-and-drop. This is a manual method, but you can download bespoke backup software to automate the process. Many external hard drives will come with backup software, as well.
2. Backup to the cloud.
There are several online storage services that make backing up files simple and straight forward, such as Google Drive, OneDrive, and Dropbox. Most of these offer a certain amount of free storage when you sign up, so if your needs are small, this may well be enough for you. Otherwise, you can purchase additional storage via a monthly or yearly account.
Be aware that many cloud storage services will synchronize files in a particular folder on your computer, so never delete that folder. Also, by deleting a file within that folder, it will be removed from your online storage too. Sometimes, an undelete facility will be available for undoing mistaken deletes, but check this out first, as it may be limited.
Benefits of storing files on the cloud are:
- You will have a copy of your data in an entirely separate physical location, where they’ll be safe from theft, fire and flood and even accidental damage to hardware.
- You can access the files from virtually any computer in the world, as long as there’s an internet connection.
- You can keep files in sync across different devices.
3. A complete backup for a Windows PC or laptop.
The two methods above will only backup certain files. However, should your computer experience hard drive (or SSD) failure or even be stolen, these files will not be sufficient to get ‘your life‘ back up and running again.
What is needed is special software that can create a full backup of all the files on your hard drive, known as a ‘disk image’ or ‘ghost image’. As with file backup software you’ll find both free and paid versions available.
The best backup software should allow for a schedule of backups to be made so that they automatically take place at regular intervals. This is ideal if you leave an external drive permanently connected to your computer. Of course, the backup will fail if the disk is not connected!
Free cloud storage is offered, however, the limit is only 2GB.
NovaBACKUP ranks highly in its ability to perform a host of backup functions. It also provides a comprehensive approach to support.
Automate and schedule your backups.
Backup and restore everything just exactly as it was.
Can create a bootable recovery medium, so you’ll always have Paragon’s tools for hard disk editing or data recovery readily available.
Hard drive management. Access backup data at anytime.
How to Backup a Mac
- Get a backup drive. This can be just about any USB external hard drive, and you can get them at most electronics stores. Try to get one that has twice as much space as your computer, so you have room for multiple backups and so you have room for all the data you might get in the future.
- When you plug in your drive, your Mac will ask you if you want to use that drive as a backup disk. Hit “Use as Backup Disk”. If you don’t get this prompt, you can always go to System Preferences > Time Machine to set it as a backup disk, too.
- From Time Machine’s preferences, hit “Select Backup Disk” and choose your external drive.
- That’s it! OS X will perform its first backup (during which you’ll want to keep your computer on), and from then on it’ll back up in the background with no work required on your part.
If you ever need to restore a file, just click on the Time Machine icon in your menu bar and hit “Enter Time Machine”. From there, you can search through your old backups for the files you lost and restore them to your hard drive.
There is, of course, one downside to this method. While it’ll save you if you accidentally delete a file or have hard drive issues, it won’t save you if, say, you have a fire. For truly bulletproof backup, you’ll want to back up all your data online, so you can get it back wherever you are (and whatever happens to your hardware).
Why backing up is worth it.
- You’ll always have a copy – or more than one if you have extra backup drives.
- Your data is safe in case of any natural occurring disaster to your computer like fire or flood.
- You may rework a file and save it, and suddenly want to get back to the original only to find that the original has been overwritten.
- If your computer get a virus and corrupts your data, you’ll be able to get back to where you were beforehand. Sometimes the hard drive will need to be wiped clean, then a re-installation of all your original programs.
- Thieves are likely to steal hi-tech stuff, and your data goes too!
- What about accidental deletion? Backups always can come to the rescue.
- Best of all – it’s a good habit to get into.
Are you convinced yet that having copies of your tech life is worth it? You have to be by now!
Computers Can And Will Fail – Sometimes!
As computers are a large part of our lives, and through their use we try to organize ourselves as efficiently as we can, they still have the ability to let us down big time. They may not mean it, but heck, it can screw up your entire existence – even only for a while!
If you value the work you do on your computer (and why wouldn’t you), how would you feel if one day everything on that innocent little machine was ALL GONE?
Not too good, I reckon! No emails, no music, no photos, no documents of any sort, nothing! Not even your shopping or socializing details and info.
Following a computer crash, most of us have experienced that sinking feeling of losing files or pictures that hadn’t been saved after we’d spent ages working on them. Then, having to begin the mammoth task of reconstruction, wasting many hours or even days. And what about our sanity?
Computers aren’t perfect.
Motherboards can malfunction.
CPU’s can die a slow death.
Precious files become corrupted.
NEED I SAY MORE?
CREATING BACKUPS ARE A MUST
Which Backup Drive Should I Contemplate Buying?
Don’t find excuses not to backup your files, photos or digital life regularly, it only takes one wipe out to ruin your online life! Now you know how to back up a computer – go ahead and do it!
What are your experiences failing to backup and being caught out? Also, what if any, are the makes of external hard drives you have you used and prefer over others and why?
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