How to Back Up Your Computer
What is the best way to back up computer data?
First of all, let’s look at what back up means.
Back up is the process of storing and copying data from a computer, server, mobile phone and any data storage device that is stored on the hard drive and memory of the device stored on an external hard drive or other data storage devices.
Data may include videos, photos, songs, files, and other personal and corporate documents. The backup process should be done regularly because sometimes the computer hard drive might be damaged, and in that case data recovery would be difficult.
The answer is obvious, if the hard drive breaks down or something happens and the system does not recognize it, we can reinstall our operating system and programs on the new hard drive. But it is impossible to retrieve personal information, and sometimes part or all of our information may be lost due to human error and unexpected events. That’s why we need to back up our personal information. Failing to do so may result in losing all our important files forever.
Ways to back up files
- There are many ways to back up data, from using an external drive to backing up to a remote server over the Internet. Below we will discuss some of these methods. We will also look at their advantages and disadvantages.
Back Up to Cloud
- Cloud Back Up is more about storing data on a remote cloud server via the internet. The examples of this could be Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive or Dropbox. Cloud storage is maintained by cloud service providers. These providers are responsible for keeping the data accessible at any time for the users.
- Access to files from anywhere and any device that has an internet connection
- Risk of system failure and loss of data is low compared to external hard drives
- Changes made to a file on one system will be updated across all devices that we access cloud from
- Requires internet to access data
- Might not be very secure because the data stored is no longer on the physical storage
- Additional costs for uploading or storing files that are bigger than the free cloud storage limit
Back Up on Internet Service
It is very important for us to secure our files and protect our computers from all kinds of data loss including ransomware and natural disasters. One of the ways to protect our data is by using internet services like Backblaze and Carbonite. Backblaze offers unlimited backup storage for a single PC and is easy to set up. It’s personal backup plan runs at a low cost of $7 per month (which is a little less than £4). Carbonite is offering its users different plans including basic, plus, and prime plans. The price for each plan different based on the services provided.
- Perhaps the most important point is that the data is stored off-site meaning that it is stored in a different location from the original storage. This protects the data from on-site risks or data being stolen.
- Record data automatically in the background
- Accessing the data might become difficult sometimes if the service provider goes out of business or the business is purchased by another company. In this case users might lose their data or might have to pay extra cost to continue using the service.
Back Up to External Hard Drive
An external hard drive is a storage device that is not connected to the PC. This can be a USB drive (which has to be with a minimum of 4GB memory) or any other hard drive which can be purchased at one of the electronic stores. There are several ways we can back up our data to an external drive. For Window 10, Microsoft has built-in features which allows us to back up. In order to do this, we use “Back Up using File History” option from the setting. MAC users can use Time Machine for this.
- External hard drives are very easy to use
- They are portable in many ways. We can carry them around with us anywhere.
- We can copy data between operating systems just by connecting the drive to them
- One of the biggest disadvantages of external hard drives, is that are very sensitive. We should keep them in a safe place. Any external force or fall can cause damage to the drive and can result in loss of our data. We do not want that to happen!
Storing data only in one place is not enough. It would be good to have at least two copies of our data stored on-site and off-site. There are many ways we can use these services and it is totally up to us how we do it.
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