Do you store anything on your PC’s hard drive that’s important to you and would be hard to replace? The answer to this can be very subjective and is certainly a matter of personal opinion. But if a disaster should strike, what would your loss be if you couldn’t restore these files or documents?
People are storing more and more vital information on their PCs without the thought of what could happen if this information was lost. If you store any of the following, you need to think of how you can safely retrieve this information in case of an emergency:
- Bank records or other financial information
- Digital photographs
- Music you’ve purchased and downloaded
- Software purchased online
- Email history, address books and calendar data
- Browser bookmarks
You probably don’t need to perform daily backups with offsite storage of the backup medium, but there are alternatives that are easy to implement and can give you some peace of mind.
System vs personal data
A different strategy is used for backing up your Operating System files than for backing up your personal data. If you suffer a system crash, you can reload the OS from the install disks or restore from what is called a disk image and I’ll cover that in another article.
If you’ve followed Microsoft’s suggestions, all of your personal data should be contained within special folders that are designed for your documents. It is a simple matter to determine how much storage the files in these locations use and this will help you decide how you want to back them up.
For the home PC user, there are 3 good choices for performing backups of your personal data:
USB Flash Drives
The low cost of USB flash drives (thumb drives) makes them an ideal choice for backup media. I’ve seen 16GB flash drives for $30 (USD) and there are free utilities that make the backup process easy and reliable. Check allwaysync.com for a solution that performs backup and sync functions
External Hard Drives
External hard drives have also reached a price point that make them a good choice if you want to have something even more transparent.
This method that is quickly growing in popularity. Several companies are offering this strategy without charge for the first couple of Gigabytes. Online backups may be good for true archival copies of important documents that you won’t need to modify, since even with a relatively high speed internet connection, it could take you several days to upload just 10 GB of data.
Don’t get caught without a backup if disaster strikes. Reliable backups can be performed cheaply and easily and I’ve only presented three possible methods here. Be Safe!