Backing Up Your Computer – Best Strategies

Backing up your computer is a very important thing to do, but nothing is ever failsafe.  Even if you back your data up to an external drive, that drive could always break.  Backing up to a cloud is a good idea too, however you will be limited by upload speeds, especially if you’re backing up lots of data such as photos and videos.  So what is the best way to back up your data, and what methods should you use?

Local Hard Drives

crashedBacking up to external hard drives is one of the most standard ways of backing up your PC.  Make sure that you use a different hard drive!  Having a backup on the same hard drive that breaks means nothing – the hard disk is broken!  The cost of external data storage is so low these days that you can afford to buy yourself an external hard disk.  I’ve used Western Digital for years and never had a problem.  Get a hard disk that will allow you room to grow.  If the hard drive you’re backing up is 1 TB in total storage space, then get a 1 TB drive for backup.

Make sure you get some decent backup software tools – I’ve been using Acronis True Image for a while, and it saved me from a broken hard drive at least once.

Schedule your backups!   Don’t forget about this.  Sometimes I really hate backups because they bog my system down.  Perhaps you can set them to run overnight – make one night a week a night where you let your computer run as it does a scheduled backup.

Cloud Backups

I recently started doing cloud backups using Acronis True Image 2014.  The company itself is responsible for making backups of the backups, and it’s basically their job to continuously make sure your data is still there.  No normal person is going to constantly check their backups and make images of their external hard disks every day.

However, despite the great speed of my ISP, I was astounded at how long it was going to take to upload a simple backup of my laptop that was around 30 GB.  Most companies that provide cloud backups will allow you to mail in a hard disk, and then you’ll only be responsible for uploading the “changes” to your hard disk.  But this is still a lot of data if you’re working with photo and especially video.

Cloud backups seem best for smaller file types at the moment.  Folders containing important files, etc.  There are actually two types of cloud backups: dedicated backup systems that monitor files for changes and then back them up as you go along.  One example is Mozy.com.   And then there are cloud backup systems that create a folder on your PC that automatically mirrors the contents into the cloud.  One example is DropBox.

Things to consider:

  • How much of a strain does the automatic backup software put on  your system?  There’s really no way of knowing, however you can use the free trial versions of these software tools to assess this.
  • Will the company stay in business?  Some new companies will give you a killer deal, but who knows if they will be here today and gone tomorrow?
  • How secure is the sign on?  Some companies use your email as a sign in.  Make sure you make a VERY secure password.

I am leaning towards using cloud backups for important files, and leaving the system backups to my local hard drives.

Recommended Products And Services

Backup Software Programs

Acronis Backup And Recovery
Nero BackItUp
Genie Backup Manager
Rebit

Cloud Backup

Mozy.com
CrashPlan+
Backblaze

External Hard Drives

Western Digital
Seagate

 

 

About the Author

Roger Feinstein has grown up with computers his entire life and strives to help others understand what goes on behind the scenes in their PCs. He's been writing tech articles for websites for over 5 years.

Comments (1)

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  1. Russell Smith says:

    The above post defines about distinct strategies to backup data at right time. This resource also encourages the user to take necessary steps for backup methodology.

    Regards:
    Russell

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