Backing up your computer is one of the most important things you can do. It’s the only way to ensure you don’t lose anything important if, say, your hard drive crashes or gets stolen. If you have important files on your computer, you should back them up. Backing up your computer is the best way to safeguard yourself from data loss and protect yourself from having to spend time and money rebuilding your computer.
Why you should back up your computer
It’s an important question, and the answer is simple: because it’s good for you. Backing up your computer is about more than just protecting yourself from data loss—it’s about protecting yourself from heartache, too. If your hard drive fails, or if someone steals your laptop and deletes all of your information, all that time you spent organizing and reorganizing all of your files will be gone forever.
But don’t panic! There are ways to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening to you in the first place! The following guide will walk you through everything you need to know about backing up your computer and keeping it safe throughout the years.
How to start backing up your computer
The first step to backing up your computer is to decide which method you want to use. There are many ways to back up your computer, and each one has its own benefits and drawbacks.
On-site backups are local backups that store data on an external hard drive or other storage device. These devices can be kept in a safe location, like a fireproof safe, so that if something happens to your computer, you will have access to the data you need. Offsite backups are local backups that are stored offsite from the original computer. These backups may be stored at home with family members or friends, or they may be stored in a secure location such as a bank vault or a safety deposit box. Offsite backups provide extra security for your data because they aren’t vulnerable to natural disasters or theft as easily as on-site backups would be if they were kept at home.
Cloud-based backups are a type of online backup that allows you to keep your files stored safely on the internet. With cloud-based backups, you don’t need to store your files locally on your device; instead, you can keep them on another server. The benefit of cloud-based backup services is that you don’t have to spend money on additional equipment (like an external hard drive); all you need is a stable internet connection and the space for your files.
What the options are for storage, if you don’t want to go with a cloud backup solution
There are a few different options for storing your backups. If you don’t want to go with a cloud backup solution, you can use an external hard drive, a USB flash drive, or even burn a DVD if you want.
An external hard drive
An external hard drive is essentially a portable computer that stores your data and allows you to transfer it between computers. These are often sold as backup drives and are often used by businesses to back up their data. They can be a great option for individuals as well, but they do have some limitations. For example, they have limited storage space and they may not be compatible with every computer.
A flash drive or disk
A flash drive or disk is another option. Flash drives are small devices that store data and can transfer it from one computer to another via USB port. They aren’t as large or as fast as external hard drives, but they are much cheaper and easier to use than external hard drives because there’s no installation process involved—just plug the device into your computer’s USB port and go!
A CD of DVD disk
A CD or DVD disk is an excellent way to make sure that your data is stored in a physical medium. You can store them in a safe place, like a bank vault or fireproof box. The downside is that they’re limited in size and may not be able to hold all of your files at once. Also, if the disks are damaged or lost, it’s almost impossible to get them back because most people don’t know how to read them anymore!
A NAS drive
A NAS drive is an external hard drive that connects directly to your home network router (think “cloud”). They connect over WiFi or Ethernet cables and can be controlled remotely from any computer on the same network. They’re great because they’re reliable and can hold massive amounts of data. But they do require that someone stay home while they’re connected so they can access them remotely; otherwise they won’t work!
What external hard drives are and how they work
An external hard drive is a device that plugs into your computer’s USB port and stores all the files on your computer in an enclosure. External hard drives come in many different sizes, ranging from about 500 gigabytes (GB) for $50 up to 5 terabytes (TB) for $500 or more. The size of the drive determines how much data it can hold, so you may want to get one with a larger capacity than you need now so that when you need more space later you can just buy a new drive and swap them out.
What cloud or online backup services do and how they work
Cloud backup services offer an alternative to backing up your data locally. Instead of storing your data on your own computer, this type of service allows you to store it in the cloud — meaning they will host the data in their servers and give you access to it from anywhere in the world via any device connected to the internet (e.g., smartphone). The biggest advantage is that you don’t need any additional hardware (like an external hard drive) to perform these backups.
How to use cloud services
Cloud services are a great way to back up your data. You can use them to back up your files, photos, videos, and other important documents. Cloud services come in two main varieties: synchronizing and remote storage. Synchronizing services keep a copy of your data on their servers and then sync it with whatever device you’re using at the moment. Remote storage services store your data on their servers and allow you to access it from anywhere with an internet connection.
Google Drive is a good example of a synchronizing service. It lets you store all of your files in the cloud and keep them up-to-date across multiple devices. If you edit a file on your computer at work, it will automatically update on your phone when you get home so that both devices are always in sync. Dropbox is another example of a synchronizing service. It offers 2GB of free storage space for users who sign up for an account, but also has paid plans starting at $9/month for 100GB of space.