As I mentioned in an earlier article, computers wear out and many times one of the first things to go is the hard drive. The hard drive is really one of the most important things in your computer. It is where all your information, pictures, music, videos, and other data is stored. If this breaks down or is the operating system is so corrupted, it might have to be wiped orreplaced. This means it is completely possible to lose all you data. There is also the possibility of theft.
Now there is a solution to this…. BACK UP YOUR DATA regularly. How you ask? Well there are various ways to do this. Most PCs and laptops come with some type of backup program; Windows, Dell, HP, and various other programs. Do not backup to your hard drive, this doesn’t make sense, if you hard drive fails, needs to be wiped or stolen, then those backups just became meaningless. You need to back up your data to somewhere else; another drive, either internally or externally, a DVD-ROM, or to a web-based storage. We will briefly look at these options.
With another drive, either a slave drive in your system or an external drive hooked up with USB, Firewire, or E-SATA, you have the data on hand and don’t need to be connected to the internet to access it. There are various external drives out there. I myself prefer external enclosures with a separate drive. This way you can use, upgrade, replace many different drives. There are also various external drives that are one piece, meaning the drive in the enclosure cannot be replaced easily. I have one external drive enclosure, but I have over 10 hard drives that I can put into it. You plug the enclosure in and connect to your computer and run you backup program.
There is also cloud based (internet) backup solutions available. These take your data and send it to a web server and store you data that way. These are nice, but there are also downsides. You need a good internet connection. If you have caps on your broadband connection, a lot of data, especially photos and videos, can put you over that limit easily. There is also a chance that these servers can be hacked and all your data is compromised, so if you do this, the best bet would be having some kind of encryption program to encrypt you data before uploaded. One of the most popular is Dropbox.com
Should I back up everything? This is a common question. Really you don’t have to. What you should back up is data like documents, photos, videos, and e-mail. Things like programs & operating systems do not need to be backed up. If you have a hard drive failure, you need to reinstall those anyways, so you are just wasting space on your back-up if you try to save those. What I do, is I have a few folders in my structure, say My Documents and Downloads, and maybe the desktop, as many people save directly there, and I back those up. I do an original full backup, and then I do incremental backups, just adding files that are new or have changed. I personally store to both an external and also a cloud based solution with an occasional backup to a DVD-ROM.
As always, feel free to contact us at IoR Services if you have questions or comments or would like to hire us to help you.