When your computer stops working, or significant upgrades are due for an operating system (Think Windows 7 to 10), it can be terrifying to think you might lose all of your pictures, music, and documents. So, what can you do to protect your data? We recommend backing up your computer regularly, and having at least two separate copies of everything important to you. This post will help you protect all of your files from a catastrophe.
Why Backup Your Computer
Here at "A Better Tech," we frequently see panicked customers needing to recover personal files from a dead or failing computer since they don't have a backup. Many times it is possible for us to retrieve their data, but many times it is not. And if not, the next option for customers is to have a 'Data Recovery Lab' rebuild and retrieve their files. Unfortunately, this can be very expensive and cost as much as $1000 or more.
Computer Backup Options
As we mentioned before, you should maintain at least two copies of all your files. Computer backups help ensure you're data is protected in the event your computer fails or you have to replace it. Some of the options available for backing up your computer are external hard drives, NAS (Network Attached Storage) Boxes, servers, or 'The Cloud.' Picking from a couple of these options decreases the chance of you losing your stuff to practically 0. Keep reading to find out more about the different ways to backup your computer.
An external drive is possibly the easiest backup option available. These devices are relatively cheap and available at any electronics or office store. Some manufacturers of external drives even offer built-in software to make your computer backup effortless. Once you plug the external drive into your computer, follow the manufacturers' instructions for starting your backup. You should be able to choose between manual or automated backups. Just be sure to plug your external drive back into your laptop if you disconnect it to move around.
NAS Boxes, like the ones provided by Buffalo, are made for simple deployment and management. NAS boxes are similar to external hard drives, except they connect to your local network instead of directly to your computer. Once set up, they appear as a storage drive on your computer.
Servers can be a little more complicated to set up, but once things are working correctly, backing up your computer will be effortless as well. Servers are computers that will run all the time and stay connected to your local network. With the help of backup software, your computer can copy your data to the server. Keep in mind that servers require more maintenance to keep the operating system updated.
NOTE: Both NAS Boxes and Servers can be used as your primary storage location as well to facilitate having shared files with others.
The Cloud is another technology that many people don't understand, but it can be beneficial.
Services like Dropbox, iCloud, OneDrive, and Google Drive allow you to access your files from multiple devices. Any data you have saved on your laptop can be accessed on your smartphone as well. You can even log into a completely different computer and access your files. Whatever changes you make on a device will be synced across all of your devices.
Backup services like BackBlaze and Carbonite strictly store a copy of your files in the Cloud for you to restore to another computer if you have to replace it or re-install Windows. These Cloud services are similar to an external drive, yet your files are securely stored off-site from your primary device.
All of these Cloud options can be instituted quickly and keep your files well protected since your data are stored off-site from your primary location. One thing to remember is the free services are limited in space. Some users may need to purchase more.
Operating System Software
Microsoft and Apple both provide software with their operating systems that help with backing up your computer. Windows Backup and TimeMachine, respectively. Both of these options are easy to set up and do an excellent job of keeping your documents, and other files safely backed up to one of the above options. If you're unable to use built-in software, there is third party software available as well.
Keeping at least two copies of all your files in separate locations from your primary computer is the safest way to ensure you don't lose your valuable pictures, documents, or program files. Several of the options listed here are relatively straight forward and should be easy to setup. But if you find you need help creating a computer backup, feel free to contact us.