It’s not a question of “if” your hard drive will fail, it’s really a question of “when.” Hard drives are the most sensitive pieces of equipment on a computer. They are essentially floating platters that spin at high speeds with a head that moves back and forth over the platters. It’s actually a wonder they don’t fail more often!
- Have 2-3 copies of all your important data. One copy on your computer, one on an external drive, and one in the cloud.
- Ideally, one of your backups is not local. It is stored in another location in case of a problem in your home/office. Cloud backup services such as Carbonite are a perfect solution for off-site backup.
- Do not use CD/DVD’s as backup. They are not reliable in the long run and technology is moving away from these discs.
- Set up a backup plan that you will use! This doesn’t have to be hard.
- Not everything has to be backed up. Your 100 GB music collection can most likely be recreated if need be.
- Backup all your electronic devices – mobile devices as well as desktops/laptops.
- Backup regularly.
- Test restoring data to make sure backup is working.
TYPES OF BACKUP
- Local – This means using an external hard drive plugged into your computer or a NAS (Network Attached Storage) that plugs into your router and allow all computers on your network to use the drive for either backup or storage.
- Off-site – Your home or business could suffer some kind of damage that would render your computer and your external hard drive useless (think flood or fire.) One type of off-site storage is the “cloud.” This is a great alternative for laptops since you don’t have to plug an external drive into it.
Some backup suggestions:
- Carbonite – For $60/year, get unlimited storage space in the cloud. Carbonite installs a program on your laptop or desktop that quietly runs in the background and keeps your computer backed up. Incredibly easy to set up and use. The first backup takes a long time but after that only changed data is backed up. Works with Windows or Macs.
- Windows Backup and Restore – Windows Vista and 7 have a built-in backup and restore program that works with your external hard drive. It can also do full system images. Windows 8 has a built-in utility called “File History” that effectively works as a backup of all your files.
- Time Machine – Mac OS X comes with a program that will automatically back up your data when you plug in an external hard drive. Time Machine saves multiple copies of your files so you can go back through versions to find a file you accidentally deleted.
- Acronis True Image – Acronis is a program for Windows computers that backups up data or can backup a whole image of your hard drive. It works great and is easy to use. Highly recommended for local backups.