It’s like losing a person you cherish the most if you lose important data and files on your computer. Ransomware and software bug could inevitably infiltrate your computer so backing your data and files is really the best way to prevent this catapult.
There are lists of backup methods you could adapt, but which one of them really works on you? Or what are the files you must consider backing up?
Start by backing up your personal data
Isn’t it obvious by now that what you must make a backup first is your personal files. Technically, your hard disk may crash. And although, you could always just reinstall your operating system and redownload your apps, however, your personal data will be gone forever.
You should back up any personal documents, images, home movies, and other data on your computer on a regular basis. Since you really can’t replace any of them. If you’ve spent hours ripping audio CDs or movie DVDs, you should back up those data as well so you don’t have to repeat the process.
You may also back up your operating system, apps, and other settings just in case your entire disk crashes. If you prefer to mess with system files, alter the registry, and update your hardware on a regular basis, having a full system backup can save you time if something goes wrong.
Different ways to back up your computer
You can back up your data in a variety of ways, including utilizing an external hard drive or uploading your files to a remote server over the Internet. Albeit, there are advantages and disadvantages of each which you may comprehend below.
Back Up to an External Drive: Using your external USB hard drive, you can use your computer’s built-in backup tools to back up to it. Use File History in Windows 10 and Windows 8. Use Windows Backup on Windows 7. Use Time Machine on a Mac. Connect the drive to your computer as a backup utility, or leave it plugged in so it will back up eventually.
Pros: Backing up is inexpensive and quick.
Cons: If your house is robbed or burns down, your backup could be lost along with your computer, which is extremely inconvenient.
Back Up Over the Internet: Still feel paranoid about the safety of your files? Use a service like Backblaze to back them up to the internet as well as competitors like Carbonite and MozyHome which is now a part of Carbonite. These apps run in the background on your PC or Mac for a reasonable monthly price (about $5), automatically backing up your files to the service’s web storage. You can restore those files if you ever lose them and need them again.
Pros: Online backup safeguards your data from a variety of threats, including hard drive failure, theft, natural disasters, and everything in between.
Cons: These services are usually expensive and the initial backup can take a long time–especially if you have a lot of files.
Use a Cloud Storage Service: Instead of saving your data on your computer’s hard drive, you can use a cloud storage service such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or another comparable service. They’ll then sync with your internet account and other PCs instantly. You’ll still have copies of your files stored online and on other computers if your hard drive fails.
Pros: This approach is simple, quick, and in many cases, free, and it protects you against all forms of data loss because it is done online.
Cons: Most cloud services only provide a few gigabytes of free storage, so this only works if you only have a few things to back up or are prepared to pay for additional storage. This method might be either simpler or more involved than a straight-up backup tool, depending on the files you wish to back up.
Dropbox vs. Blackblaze
Dropbox is for syncing files between computers, whereas Backblaze and comparable services are for backing up enormous amounts of data. Backblaze will save numerous copies of various versions of your files, allowing you to restore the file to its original state at any time in its history. And, unlike Dropbox, which is free for limited quantities of storage, Backblaze’s low pricing is for as much storage as you need. One may be less expensive than the other depending on how much data you have.
Backblaze and Carbonite both have one major drawback that you should be aware of. After 30 days, if you delete a file from your computer, it will be removed from your online backups. After this 30-day period, you won’t be able to recover a deleted file or a previous version of a file. So, if you want those files back, be cautious when removing them!
The more, the better!
It’s recommended to use two of them since you may want to use an offsite as well as onsite backups.
Onsite vs. Offsite
“Onsite” refers to backups that are kept in the same physical location as you which means you back up to an external hard drive and store it at home with your home PC.
Offsite backups are kept in a separate place. Backing up to an online server, such as Backblaze or Dropbox.
On-site backups are more convenient and faster since you can rapidly restore files from an external disk if you lose them. However, you shouldn’t rely just on onsite backups. All of your files would be lost if your house burned down or if all of the hardware in it was stolen by burglars.
Offsite backups don’t have to be stored on a server connected to the Internet, and they don’t have to be paid for on a monthly basis. You could, for example, back up your files on a hard drive and keep it at your office, a friend’s residence, or a bank vault. Although it would be more inconvenient, this is technically an offsite backup.
Also, you may keep your data in Dropbox, Google Device, or OneDrive, then back them up to an external drive on a regular basis. You could also back up online with Backblaze and build a local backup with Windows File History. There are numerous ways to combine these services, and the method you choose is entirely up to you. Just make sure you have a robust backup system in place, with both onsite and offshore backups, to ensure you never lose your files.
Automate the process!
Rather than moving files to an external disk by hand, you should use an automated tool. It’s simple to set up and forget about.
Online backups like Blackblaze is considered favorable since when it’s backing up to the internet, it can do it on a daily basis automatically. If you have to plug in an external drive, you’ll have to put in more work, which means you’ll back up less frequently and possibly quit doing it altogether. The cost of keeping everything automated is definitely worth it.
You can consider using a file-syncing service like Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive to synchronize your essential files online if you don’t want to pay anything and want to rely on local backups. That way, if your local backup is ever lost, you’ll have an online backup to fall back on.
Finally, take note where your files are and make sure you have several copies on hand at all times. Ideally, the copies should exist in multiple locations. You should be well ahead of the majority of folks if you’re truly considering what you’ll do if your computer fails.