What should I backup? How do I back my data up?
All very legitimate questions. The first question you should ask yourself is “What can you afford to lose?” We all love to procrastinate over computer backups “I wont need these files later”, “My computer is brand new nothing will happen”, “I just don’t have the time”; Most people do not know how to back their important files up. They either forget or just keep passing it off until its to late.
So what do I backup?
Most computers have a “user directory”. Think of it as a library for all of your files. This includes: Documents, Pictures, Music, Favorites etc. All of your personal information is stored on your user profile. Simply copying these files to a USB or External hard drive will help ensure your files are safe.
On PC its very simple. You simply start by pressing the start button:
Then click on computer: (take note of your name in the top right corner in this case its “owner”)
After clicking on computer it will bring you to a list of your Hard Drives. You want to double click on your C: drive.
After double clicking on your C: drive you will be shown a list of folders in your computer, you want to double click on the “users” folder:
In the Users folder you will see a list of profiles, using the name in the top right hand corner on the start button (in picture one) you are going to double click that folder. In my case, its Derek.
Once in your profile you can begin copying your important folders like “Documents, Pictures, Music” etc. You can copy these folders to any USB drive or External Hard Drive to keep a safe copy of them?
There are advantages and disadvantages to this method.
- Having a backup copy close by.
- Faster transfer speed than uploading to internet backup.
- Easier/Quicker to restore backup files.
- No automatic Backup
- Must manually backup each file.
Is there an easier method?
There is a feature built into windows called “Windows Backup” which semi-automates the process for you. This method can also create repair disks and recovery images. This method can be accessed by going to your start button and searching “Backup”
After clicking on Backup and Restore you will be presented with a screen that looks like this:
Plug in your external hard drive/USB drive and select it in the next window. Simply follow the rest of the prompts and windows will backup your computer.
This all seems to complicated, is there a way to automate the process?
Yes! There are online services that automatically back up your data for you. Anytime you make a change to a file it is backed up. These services cost money on a per-month/per-year basis.
Carbonite is a service we have some experience with and seems at time to be the most user friendly. However there are plenty of other excellent online backup services available to consumers.
The backup rule of 3
Here’s the rule of three. It’s a long time computer-person rule of thumb that you can apply to your life now. It’s also called the Backup 3-2-1 rule.
- 3 copies of anything you care about – Two isn’t enough if it’s important.
- 2 different formats – Example: Dropbox+DVDs or Hard Drive+Memory Stick or CD+Crash Plan, or more
- 1 off-site backup – If the house burns down, how will you get your memories back?
Its important to make sure that your files are backed up. Hard Drive failure can result is permanent loss of files which happens on a daily basis.
I still need help configuring my backup solution!
With the many different choices and options people have today there is no excuse to not backup your data. But because of all the different types of backup systems it can be overwhelming. Come by and see us and we can get you on the right track to saving your data.