(Updated February, 2017) A lot of people tend to ignore the process of backing up a computer yet it is vital. If you don’t know how to backup your computer, be prepared for a series of disappointments especially if you lose important files such as documents, photos and videos. If you have never learned or paid any attention to how to backup a computer, it’s time you to take it seriously and ensure you always have a backup you can rely on in case you lose your precious data. Ask anyone whose computer has crashed and you’ll be told in no uncertain terms that it’s time you learned how as well.
In this article, we shall show you how to backup computer files using different techniques and computer backup services. In order for the process to be successful, it is always good to ensure you select an ideal back up computer strategy that will effectively meet your needs. We’re all guilty of simply ignoring or failing to make a regular backup which is wrong. Music, photos, videos and documents are often saved across laptops, PCs and external hard drives. We shall focus on how to back up your entire PC or laptop in the event that in case your computer fails, you can easily and conveniently restore information you had lost back to your PC.
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In case you’re wondering ‘how do I backup my computer?’ the following are 3 main computer backup techniques you can use;
Use an external hard drive to backup:
This method is simple and straightforward. For instance, you can use a USB flash or hard drive to copy files from your computer to an external drive. When you read how to backup computer on external drive, you’ll realize that the procedure is usually manual. However, you have a choice of downloading computer backup software to automate the backup process. In recent times, we have external drives that come with pre-installed software for backing up files.
Backup to the cloud:
Nowadays, cloud technologies have become common with technologies such as Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive simplifying the process of computer data backups. Once you sign up on these platforms, you get free storage back up computer plans that offer reasonable space. If you need more storage space, you can either pay monthly or yearly; the fee is affordable. The benefit of doing this is that you get a chance to keep your files in a separate location guaranteeing safety from theft, fire and floods. Also, once you have stored your files in a cloud, you can access them from anywhere via multiple computers. The downsides? Clouds can be hacked at some point. In addition, while free initially – there’s generally a fee or charge waiting for you at some point. The convenience factor generally does come with a price.
Complete laptop and Windows PC Backup:
The two methods discussed above back up a section of your files. However, to be completely safe, you need a mechanism where you can learn how to backup computer to external hard drive. Here, you create a backup of all your files also known as a ‘disk image’. To do this, you need to install software that will enable you to perform the backup procedure.
Basics of How to Back Up a Laptop or Windows PC
Aside from online computer backup, backing up to an external drive is a wise idea. Nowadays, a lot of people are using writable DVDs for their backup needs. However, new technologies are coming along fast and so, choose a technique that will favor your needs. When researching the best way to backup computer, take into account file conversions (verify if the file types you are copying can be restored successfully even after the file type has changed during the backup process).
If you’re backing up a PC using software, you need to understand the difference between incremental and full backups. In the case of incremental computer backup, only files that have been modified and new files should be backed up; not the entire data. A full backup on the other hand, copies the entire data; for instance an entire 500 GB hard disk. You also need to consider how to restore backed up files. There are some applications that will allow you to restore specific files you need while others compel you to retrieve the entire backup.
Local Backup: How to Do a Local Backup for a Windows PC or Laptop
In case you’re interested on how to backup computer to external drive, you can either make use of an external hard disk or optical disks such as Blu-ray or DVDs. A USB flash drive can be used if you don’t intend to backup a lot of data.
When it comes to costs, DVDs are obviously cheaper than a portable hard drive. However, they can be an inconvenience because you have to be physically present to do a backup; since the process is manual, your intervention is needed during the backup process.
One of the concerns of an offline backup is data longevity; this is a major issue that you cannot afford to ignore. Ideally, a hard disk is reliable for up to 5 years but the danger of accidental damage is high. On the other hand, backing up a computer to flash drive guides have suggested that flash drives can last up to 10 years depending on use. However, the period your data will remain intact and readable depends on factors such as the environment of storage, whether a disk is re-writable or writable and manufacturer specifications. The risks are still there and taking precautions such as storing your backups in a fireproof safe or at a friend’s place is a wise thing to do.
The good news is that you can create local backups without requiring any software at all. Using Windows Explorer, you just need to copy your folders and files to your backup media. However, specialized backup software makes the process simpler and comes with extra features. If you have Windows 7, you’re lucky because it has a built-in backup utility; Windows Backup and Restore which is extremely useful.
Online Backup for Laptop and Windows PC
This is a great alternative to local backups and comes with numerous advantages. First, it is not restricted in regards to the type of media to be used. Furthermore, with an online computer backup, you don’t need to worry about the safety of your data since it’s stored in different locations. Because cloud technologies are still relatively new, you don’t need to worry about issues of online computer backup media becoming obsolete. If you’re learning how to backup computer on cloud, your broadband connection, especially upload speed, needs to be fast.
In summary, both local and online computer backup are effective ways of storing your data elsewhere. Remember, data risks are real and can strike anytime; make sure you have acquired knowledge on how to backup your computer to avoid the stress of losing data and not having a backup you can restore.
What and how do you protect your computer and data? Let us know in the comments!
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