2 Reasons to Backup Your Computer Today
by Power SuperSite
#1 - According to Gartner Research, you have about a 1 in 10 chance of your laptop being stolen
#2 - Carnegie Mellon University did a study of hard drives and found the failure rate to be 2-13%
I bet you don't even have to think very hard to remember a friend talking about one of the above and how much it sucks that she/he lost all their work/pictures/music etc.
And those are just 2 of the ways you can loose your data. The bottom line is that it's not smart to keep anything of value solely on an easily lost/broken/stolen machine.
Especially when it's easier and cheaper than ever to back all that data up.
External Hard Drive Method
Hard drives are cheap. They're so cheap, you should probably buy 2 if your data is really important (especially since they're also easy to break/loose/steal).
Check out how cheap these rugged external hard drives are on Newegg.
See? Super cheap.
They're also fast. If you want to backup hundreds of gigs of data, this is probably the best way to go.
Pro-tip: Don't keep the external hard drive in your laptop case or near the computer you're backing up. You don't want to loose both at the same time.
According to Lifehacker, here are the steps you will need to follow in order to create a backup copy of your computer’s hard drive and save them to an external source.
Connect the external hard drive to your computer using a standard USB cable. Most of these devices come with one. Allow your computer to install the drivers for the new device and recognize the new hardware.
Click on the “Start” menu/button and type “backup” into the search bar.
Click on “Backup and Restore” menu
Click on “Set up Backup” and follow the wizard prompts. Be sure to select your new external hard drive as the destination for your backup otherwise your computer will save your backup file to its hard drive, defeating the purpose for creating the backup in the first place.
On the last screen click “Save Settings and Run Backup”. Windows will then begin the process of creating an image of your computer’s hard drive. Whatever you do, it is imperative that you do not turn your computer off during this time.
Accessing your backup is as simple as connecting your external hard drive, clicking “Start”, typing backup into the search bar and clicking “Restore My Files”.
The same external hard drive device should work for a Mac as well as a PC.
Connect the external hard drive to your Mac using the included USB cable and click “Use as Backup Disk.” iOS will begin to create the backup of your hard drive from there. If you do not get this prompt, access the “System Preferences” menu and select the Time Machine application to set the drive as your backup disk.
Pro-tip: Make sure your computer is plugged in or has enough charge for the backup process.
To access this backup to restore your files, simply connect the external hard drive to your Mac using the included USB cable, click on the “Time Machine” application and choose “Enter Time Machine”. Browse through the backup files in order to find the one you need to restore and click on it to restore your missing files.
So an external hard drive is easy, cheap and fast.
But what if you change files regularly and travel a lot? Or what if you live on an island and want your data to be tsunami proof?
Then you should probably store your files online.
Online Transfer Method
Online file storage services abound on the Internet due to their ease of use and the ability to share files between multiple computers. Depending on the solution you choose, you can access the service’s backup utilities either via your web browser or as an installed application on your computer or even your phone.
You won’t have the upfront expense as with purchasing a physical storage device, though you should expect to pay a monthly fee for the use of the service. In most cases, you should probably expect to pay between $5 and $20 a month, depending on the amount of space you need.
The main benefit from using an online service is that your files are protected, even if your house were to burn, flood, or get struck by a meteorite.
Here are a couple of the better services:
- Unlimited storage
- $59 per year per computer
- iPhone/BlackBerry/Android Apps
- 2 GB free
- 50 GB - $5.99/month, 125 GB $9.99/month
- Automated backups
- Order a copy of your backup on physical media for free
- 2 GB Free
- 50 GB $9.99 per month, 100 GB $19.99 per month
- Easy to share files
- iPhone/BlackBerry/Android Apps
Here's a more comprehensive list on Wikipedia.
The downside is that it's slooooooooow (limited by your ISP's upload speed). Very slow compared to transfering to an external hard drive. Not necessarily the best solution for lots of pictures or music, but perfect for backing up a few critical work documents automatically.
Other Physical Storage
Writing your files to an optical disc (CD, DVD, etc.) can work if you're in a pinch, but it's not what I recommend. The discs are just to easy to damage and the process is cumbersome.
A good jump drive is a better solution. They're cheap, reliable and rugged. Plus you can keep them with you on a keychain or in a purse.
Pro-tip: Password protect your jumpdrive!
So the bad news is that you will probably loose your data at least once in the next several years. The good news is that with a little forethought, you can limit the pain of that experience and feel super smart for preparing ahead of time.
Check out our other articles and infographics here
This article is brought to you by Power SuperSite, the perfect place to call if you need to buy an uninterruptible power supply
. We also specialize in helping people who need to rent UPS's