How many times have we thought the following after working on our computers? Sound familiar?
“As soon as I get a moment, I’ll back up all my files,” you think to yourself.
And then life happens and the thought gets put on the back-burner. Everything is as dandy as can be until the unthinkable comes to fruition, and, yes indeed, your hard drive crashes. Wait a minute…doesn’t that stuff just happen to other people?
Unfortunately not. Make life easier and save yourself hours of stress and anxiety by getting around to backing up your computer sooner rather than later. Trust us – the return on that investment is enormous both with respect to time and peace of mind. The last thing we need is spending hours having to recreate files (if that’s even an option) or trying to get our hard drives to come back to life.
Case in point
Just a few months ago one of our laptops just crashed out of the blue. It had been working just fine that November morning. A few hours later, after a few hours break, the computer screen was blank and we could do nothing to re-start it. Luckily, the computer had been backed up a couple of weeks prior using an external hard drive, so most of the files were there. However, that could have easily not been the case.
Our suggestion is to back-up your computer a couple of times a week if you use it occasionally and more frequently if it is your main laptop on a daily basis. After having learned a lesson, we are now backing up our files multiple times a week. The same goes for smartphones as well.
So what are the different and easiest ways to back up your computer?
1) External Hard Drive
The external hard drive is probably the most popular way to back up your computer. An external hard drive can store all types of files and is portable. All you have to do is connect it to your computer using a USB cable and copy over the files you want to back up. Note that just like a computer hard drive, an external hard drive can also fail and stop working over time. We haven’t experienced this personally, but the chances of having your computer and external hard drive crash at the same time would be fairly slim. We use and like hard drives by Seagate (1TB should be more than enough space for important files and photos).
2) Thumb Drive (or Flash Drive)
A thumb drive provides much less space than an external hard drive, is also portable, and we primarily use these to transfer files from one computer to another and to store files that we use over and over again. Similar to an external hard drive, you just plug it into a computer’s USB port to copy over the files you want. It’s also possible that these can fail over time, but like an external hard drive, the chances of having your computer and flash drive stop working at the same time would be rare.
3) Email Attachments
Send your most important files to your e-mail account as an attachment. Clearly, we would not recommend doing this for all your files, just those few that you want to ensure you can access at any point, even on the go via your smartphone email app.
4) Back up to the Cloud
Finally, you can back up files through cloud storage. Here your files are saved on a server which is hosted by another company and you pay a monthly fee depending on the amount of storage needed. Examples of cloud storage include Dropbox, Google Drive and Amazon Web Services.
Some of these services also auto-sync and back-up your files, so no action needed on your part.
Note that depending on the type of file and need, we use all of these methods to save and back-up our data. Our motto? Back up to get back up on your feet fast.
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