Here are 3 different ways you can back up your data.
1. Use a storage device, such as a USB hard drive
The simplest, but most manual way of backing up your important information is to use a usb drive. You simply plug in the device, drag the files onto it and you are done. A USB hard drive are available in large sizes and you can easily pick up a 1TB drive which will generally be more than enough.
Things to consider.
- Your data is only as good as the last time you backed it up. As this is a manual process, you need to make sure you do it regularly
- Store the usb drive away from your computer. If you were burgled / your house caught fire, you have a better chance of being able to retrieve your back up if it is kept separate from your computer.
- You need to be organised. If you store your files here, there and everywhere it will be very hard to find the ones you want to back up. Starting in your “My Documents” folder is probably your best bet
- USB drives don’t work well with tablets. Many tablets simply don’t have usb ports, making it difficult to back up the data from them.
2. Use backup software
You can get free and paid for backup software programs to automate the back up process for you. They take a little bit of setting up, but once established, you can take comfort that your data will be being backed up on a regular basis. Acronis True Image is one of our favourites, we find it easy to use and a reasonable price.
Things to consider
- Takes a little bit longer to set up, but once in place, you are done!
- Don’t back up to the same hard disk, or even a separate one in your computer. If it is stolen / catches fire, you lose the original and the backup
- Some software can back up to the cloud (just think of it as the internet). This means that whatever happens to you locally, your data will be available from anywhere
3. Use cloud storage
Cloud basically means “somewhere on the internet” and it really is the future for this. Many services offer a large amount of storage for free such as microsoft one drive, google drive, drop box and the apple iCloud. You can treat cloud storage like you would a usb drive and dimply drag and drop your files, simple to do, but a manual process and uploading data to the internet takes a lot longer. Integrate it with back up software and you get the best of both worlds. We recommend Crash Plan it works on PCs and mobile devices and is a reasonable annual fee. It works in the background so doesn’t disturbe you and can also handle any external usb drives, so the next time you connect them, it will start to back them up.
Things to consider
- Usually has an annual fee associated
- Make sure you pick one you like from the start, switching at a later stage means starting over
- Go for a family version so that all devices in the house can be covered
- Many offer a free trial version, so give them ago before committing.
If you do nothing more, get a usb drive and just drag some stuff onto it. Photos tend to be the most precious items to people, so just set aside one day to make the effort.
If you have a lot of data, and especially if you have kids who are going through important school years, we recommend getting a cloud based family service. Chances are they will do something to lose / break their laptops and with it will go their 6 month assignment!