Monday, 23 July 2012

Why and How to Back Up Your Computer?

We live in a time where most of our lives are stored on our computers; important documents, photographs from the last family vacation, cherished home videos, even our music collections, all sitting on the same hard drive.
It's scary to think then that so many people, despite how much they have on their computers, don't run regular backups. What are the biggest reasons for this? They either don't have somewhere to backup to or they simply don't know how.
As somebody who has experienced data loss myself, I know all too well that sinking feeling you get the moment you realise everything is gone. As such I want to assist as many people as possible set up a regular backup schedule. You'll be surprised at how easy it really is.
Why Should I Run Backups?
To put it simply; so you don't lose all your data.
There is an entire multitude of ways in which you can lose your data; a hard drive crash, virus, lightning, theft, fire, flood, angry ex. Most of which could happen at any time, without warning.
How Do I Back Up My Computer?
By now, if you weren't already looking for a way to backup your files, I'm sure I've scared you into it. Don't worry though it's an extremely simple process.
The first thing you need to decided is where you want your backup to be stored. Both Apple and Microsoft offer backup solutions with their computers (Time Machine on Mac and Backup and Restore on Windows) but they require you to backup to a separate physical storage device you have on hand.
This does introduce a slight problem in that your backup is only then protecting you from some of the causes behind dataloss, not to mention that you may have to go out and buy a separate storage device to put the backup on.
The second option is a much safer and, possibly much cheaper. There are a few applications on the market which allow you to backup to the cloud, i.e. some storage space you own on the internet. This means that your data is safely stored away off site, where bad weather and angry ex's can't reach it.
Once you have decided which solution works better for you, you can go ahead and open the application. The layout of these applications are all very similar, they ask you to select which files you would like to backup, where you would like to back them up to, and in most cases allow you to schedule automatic backups for the future.
For most users, running a backup once a week should suffice but if it would help you feel more at ease, there is no harm in running one more regularly. It is also a good idea to schedule the backups for late at night, or early in the morning, that way the backup won't interfere when you are working on the computer.
Since losing my data, I have found the best backup solution for me (a cloud backup solution) and I run scheduled updates twice a week to my cloud. I am now safe in the knowledge that if something were to happen again, I won't lose everything. 

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