Done a Computer Backup Lately?
Think of a computer backup like a safety belt in your car. In the event of a crash, a backup saves the valuable information on your computer from being lost forever.
Your computer drives (internal or external drives) are the main storage location for the Windows operating system and your installed applications, so backing them up is critical.
If you haven't done a backup lately, the following information will help you get started on this important task.
There are three main ideas to consider when backing up your computer:
How often should you back up your files?
In my opinion, computer backups should be done as frequently as your most important data changes. If you are working on a large important project every day, then you should be backing those files up every day.
It depends on how valuable your electronic files are to you, and how stressed you would be if you lost them.
What files should you back up?
Personally, I include the following in my backup procedure:
What methods should you use to backup you computer data?
Here are three of the most common ways. Option “c” is my favorite if you want to cut to the chase.
Backing up to a small external drive is by far the best way to get a reliable computer backup. I say this because:
1. It's EASY, which means you and I will actually do it and..
2. It's PORTABLE, which means you can take the saved data out of the house when you leave. I bought a little case for my Hitachi external drive, and I just throw it in my suitcase if I'm going to be away from home.
There's not much point in doing a computer backup if the backup unit is sitting right next to your computer when your house floods or burns down.
So, here are the steps to perform a manual computer backup with an external harddrive:
1. First, of course, buy a large capacity external drive if you don’t have one. They are available at any office supply or computer supply store, or you can buy one from Amazon or any other reputable online store. (Just type in external drive in the search field). A 500Gb drive shouldn’t cost more than $80 USD.
I'm partial to the Western Digital My Passport Portable External Hard Drives, the Hitachi Portable External Hard Drives, and the Buffalo Technology MiniStation External Hard Drive with Shock Protection.
2. Once you have the external drive, turn on your computer and wait for it to finish booting up. Then plug the drive into one of your USB ports. These are the ports which have a 3 pronged arrow symbol next to them. Here’s a picture of the symbol and the ports on my computer:
3. You may see a hardware symbol pop up in the system tray of Windows, (that's the tray in the bottom right hand corner that holds the time) or this dialog box: Click Cancel if it comes up.
4. Open Windows Explorer by right clicking on your Windows Start button, and left clicking on Explore. The drive will show up as another drive letter, most likely E: or F: drive.
5. On the right side of the Explorer window, find the folder on files that you want to back up.
6. Right click on the file or folder and drag it and drop it onto the external drive letter. Choose “Copy Here” from the menu that appears. The file or folder will begin copying onto the drive.
7. When you are done, close Windows Explorer. In the time tray, look for an icon which has a green arrow on it, and says Safely Remove hardware when you point to it with your mouse. Click on it and then choose to eject your device. When it is ready, it will say "Safe to Remove Hardware". You can unplug your drive now.
Reminder: Once your backup is done, don’t leave your drive plugged into your computer. Backed up files should be moved to a separate location in case you have a fire or other disaster that destroys your computer. Take it with you when you leave the house. You can buy a portable hard drive case for your drive to keep it safe while it's out of the house.
Here's an even easier way to back up your files to a drive.It takes a little time up front, but after it's set up, it makes a computer backup process much faster and easier.
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Need an external hard drive for backup?
I recommend these brands: