Unfortunately most people only think about backups when it's too late! As you're reading this post ask yourself "Do I have a backup of all those family photos, music, work or homework?" if the answer is no, read on...
Backing up your stuff doesn't have to be complicated in fact it's as simple as not keeping all your eggs in one basket. There are many ways to backup your files, probably the most simple method is to copy your important files to a USB pen drive and put it away in a safe place.
There are numerous ways to backup your computer, here a few of my preferred methods:
- USB pen drive (or USB stick) - This method is as simple as it gets, no software to install or accounts to setup, just plug in the drive and copy your files across. Note a USB external harddrive will suit larger file size requirements.
- Use your computers own built in backup program - On Windows 10 you'll find Backup in System Settings, just plug in an external USB harddrive and follow the prompts to setup. Once setup this method is fully automatic and will quietly get on with backing up your files in the background. On macOS or OS X the built in backup program is called "Time Machine", just plug in an external harddrive and when asked say "Yes I want to use this drive for Time Machine Backup".
- Cloud Storage - typically this refers to paid services such as Dropbox, Box, OneDrive or even iCloud (Mac). Cloud storage is my preferred method, once you can get your head around the fact that they're looking after your data and not you (not great for control freaks) cloud storage allows you to just put your files in a specific folder and relax, the software installed on your computer takes care of the rest uploading and syncing your files with their server on the internet (cloud). Dropbox, Box and OneDrive all pretty much work the same way as far as you the end-user is concerned, but iCloud Drive by Apple is a little different, iCloud Drive takes your "Documents" and "Desktop" files and syncs them automatically to the cloud allowing you to access your files on any of your Apple devices, as most people tend to "dump" most of their stuff on the desktop I love this approach. Which ever cloud service you use the idea of all your files being on multiple devices all the time successfully lends its self to the basket of eggs rule.
- Number 4 isn't really a preferred method of mine - Backup Software, don't get me wrong some backup programs are great BUT sometimes they can be a little complicated to setup, and sometimes the restore files can only be accessed by that program (no good if it's a new computer and you don't have the program anymore!)
When to backup? Ask your self one simple question... How much data can I afford to loose.
...and finally if you do one thing today BACKUP!