The other day I had to replace a hard drive in a customer’s laptop. Ordinarily, one can retrieve the data on a drive by placing it in a data enclosure and then reading the data. But this drive had completely broken and I could not read the data. She had some important information on the drive but did not back it up. So she lost this info unless she wanted to spend thousands of dollars by sending it to an online company to get the data.
A lot of my customers do not back up their data either because they don’t know how to, or think that they will never need their backup. The truth is that your hard drive could fail tomorrow or ransomware could hold your data hostage or malware could delete your data.
Backups don’t have to be difficult or confusing. Today we will discuss which back–up method is best for you.
There are two kinds of backups: You can back-up your personal files or you can back up your entire system. You can always reinstall your operating system and download your programs but your own data is irreplaceable.
Methods of backup
- Backing up to an external hard drive: Using an external hard drive, you can use your computer’s built-in back up. For Windows, you can go to control panel and find back-up and restore for your back up. You can also use file history for a back-up too. The first one will back up your system and the second one will back up your files. On a Mac, you can use Time Machine. You can keep the external hard drive in place or take it out and use it once a week or once a month. The advantage of this method is that it is cheap and fast. The disadvantage of this is that your external hard drive can be damaged and you will lose your files. Last year I dropped my hard drive and damage it substantially. I immediately purchased another external hard drive and did a back up again.
- Backing up over the Internet. You can use an Internet service such as Backblaze, Carbonite or Mozyhome. For a low monthly fee, these services run in the background and back up your files to their Internet server. I used Backblaze for a while, but then I had to pay a fee. I concluded that my external hard drive was better for me. This method will consume computer resources and if you have 2 GB of memory, you will see a slowing of your computer. The initial backup will take longer, an hour or two. If you have a metered connection, you also may pay a little extra. Keep in mind that if you delete a file from your computer, it will be deleted from your backup after 30 days.
- Using a cloud storage service: Using Dropbox, Google Drive or other services, you decide to store your file on this service rather than on your hard drive. This service automatically syncs to your computer and it can also sync to other computers if you have more than one. These services offer a few gigabytes for free, but after that, you have to pay for it.
- Using a flash drive: This method is simply copying your files to a flash drive and it may work for some people, but it is not fully adequate. Insert your flash drive and go to your file or folder that you want to copy. Do a right click and click send to. Your files will be sent to your flash drive. This will be time-consuming, but it will work in a pinch.
To be really serious about your backups, you should use two methods. So you should use both on site and off site (Internet storage). But you don’t have to use Internet storage as off-site. You can have a second external hard drive and store it at the office or at a relative or in a safety deposit box.
Now if you have concerns about how to use an external hard drive or other questions, call Perry’s Computer repair at 443-783-2269 and we will help you.