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Our least favorite Help Desk call, is the one that involves a dead Server or PC that has one-of-a-kind, important, non-replaceable files on it – and no backup. Sometimes, there’s simply no way to fix the problem – and all of that content is lost forever.
It’s surprising – how many times, we find a personal or business system that has no back up – because today, backup options are many, easy, and inexpensive.
If you just had a jolt, thinking about all the things you’d lose if your PC or Tablet suddenly died – NOW is a great time to achieve some peace of mind, and BACK THAT DEVICE UP!
Most computer systems store information on some kind of HARD DRIVE – and that information includes your files, photos, videos, and setup information for email and other online services. In order to easily recover everything from a computer failure, best practice is to create a copy of ALL your computer files – using some kind of backup program.
Is That Complicated?
Most backup programs try to make it simple – and typically, they include a step-by-step “wizard” program that leads you through the process.
What Should I Use to Back Up My Computer?
We recommend two basic options – either back up to an EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE, or back up to the CLOUD.
External Hard Drive Options
If you buy either the Western Digital My Passport device (WDBGPU0010BBK-NESN) or the Seagate Backup Plus device (STDR1000100) you get a fast, USB connected drive that includes an automatic backup program for your PC. There are also MAC versions that work the same, and many other brands and models that may also include the backup program. For roughly $60, you can back up 1 TB of files onto this device, and then simply keep it in a safe place in case of computer failure.
These are just two popular examples – there are hundreds of similar products. For ease of use, find one that includes its own backup program – it makes it much easier to create a PC backup.
For those of you using any kind of Apple product, you get a FREE subscription to iCloud – their web-based cloud storage, that let’s you store files on their web servers. Easy to set up, and FREE. The only catch, is that it has a storage limit, and doesn’t back up the “operating system” files – so your setup files for programs, email, etc. may be lost in a computer crash.
Free Services for PC’s – important files ONLY
The only caveat – FREE is LIMITED – they only allow so much storage space – so entire system backups aren’t possible.
If you have a new PC or tablet, many include a free Web Storage program – check out what’s included, see if that’s a good fit for your needs. HP, Asus, Dell all offer some kind of included Cloud Storage program with new devices.
If you don’t have a new device – here’s some options:
MiMedia – 10 GB
MOZY – 7 GB if you refer a friend
iDrive – 5 GB
Subscription Services with Automatic Backups – PC, Apple, Tablets
IDrive – Tablet, Mac or Windows – $60 per year
CrashPlan – Tablet, Mac or Windows – $60 per year
Carbonite – Windows Only – $99 per year
Acronis – Tablet, Mac or Windows – $100 per year
There are other services that do the same things, with similar features – these are the top-rated programs. They work automatically when your PC or Tablet is connected to the Internet, and allow for full system backups.
How Often Should I Back Up my Device?
If you aren’t subscribed to some kind of automatic web backup, we recommend doing a full backup once per month – and before you do any kind of change or repair, such as adding memory or upgrading programs or Operating System.
Where to Keep Backups?
If using external storage devices, a cool, dry place, preferably away from heat, fire, and water, and in a perfect world, at another building – so in case a disaster strikes, your backup will survive. Fireproof/waterproof safes or cabinets are also good.
Web Backups are stored “in the cloud”, so they have the advantage of being available at any time, from any device with an Internet Connection. This is more of a “set it and forget it” approach to backups, but it also has a recurring cost.