How To Backup Your Computer?

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Why Backup is Important?

In today’s fast-paced world, it is your utmost importance that you backup your data and files. Often, photos, movies, musics, data files, and projects are all stored in one place which is your computer. While, computers have decreased in cost and storage inside them has increased a lot, it is really not advised (you shouldn’t at all) to store all your data in one place.

The ways for you to lose your data are plenty and I don’t need to remind you that your data is probably more important than your computer or business itself eh? You never think you would lose your files and when it actually happens, you’re doomed. You may think backups are complicated but they are actually not – all you need is big storage. Just like there are many ways to lose your data, there are also plenty of ways to backup your data.

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Source: unsplash

To be honest, there is actually no reason for you to not backup your data as it only take a few clicks for it to happen and using multiple forms of backup will greatly decrease the risk of you losing valuable photos of your newborn baby.

What Exactly is a Computer Backup?

In simple English, the definition of computer backup is an exact copy. In the case of computer files, this applies to copies of your first or original copy that you have on your device, be it a computer or an external drive. It is as simple as drag & drop. Creating a backup of your word document for instance, means you now have 2 exact copies of your files in different devices, provided that you backup your files in different devices and not on the same machine.

So, How Do I Backup My Computer?

There are various ways to backup your files. For beginners, it might sound overwhelming and complicated, but once you get a little familiar with them, you will start to understand the complexity of it which is the bad news. However, the good news is that there are various options available and they are not that complicated. Making backups is very easy and much cheaper than trying to recover files from your faulty hard drive and the only way to recover them is from backups. Think about this, what would be more important? Your project that involves 5 years of programming or a hard drive that would cost RM 300?

So start learning to back up your data and information and prevent yourself from the worse. Just note that all electronic gadgets will eventually fail you and spending a mere RM 300 on backups for 10 years of data is definitely worth it, lemme tell you that (coming from a victim). It’s just a question of time or whether you will be prepared or not.


Three Kinds of Backups

Bootable Backup or “Clone”

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Source: drivevault

Similar to a spare tire for your car, a bootable backup will be an emergency insurance that will let you get to your destination or at least aid you to a point where you can get help. Basically, this backup is a complete copy of your computer’s primary hard drive (the one you use to store everything). Lets say the worse have happened tomorrow, you can reboot your computer using the backup copy and have immediate access to all your files and data including your current settings and configuration you have made. This will be a lifesaver if you are in a middle of an important project and your computer has suddenly died.

Bare in mind a spare tire isn’t meant for long term use and it wouldn’t have the same performance as the original and you would want to get it sorted out asap. No matter what, your computer or your car, things will go wrong besides the hard drive failing. Your computer will definitely have a decrease in performance and will run slower when booted from an external drive.

Nonetheless, it is very advisable that you have a clone just in case your primary hard drive dies. A bootable backup can be done on a external hard drive or on a partitioned drive from your primary hard drive and the external drive needs to be empty before you create a clone with it. For a bootable backup, a simple external drive will get the job done. Such as the WD My Passport External Hard Drive.

External Backup Drive

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An external hard drive is also another method to backup your files or create an archive of your files. Somewhat different from a clone, an archive does not act as an bootable backup; second, it isn’t a full picture of your entire drive at a time but it creates additional backups, which follows your progress.

Backups to external hard drive are mainly used to backup your personal files such as memorable pictures of your family or saved game files. Instead of having an entire copy of your hard drive, this backup method looks only at certain folders. External hard drive basically is used where you can go back in time to make changes and or recover your accidentally deleted files. Simple plug it onto your computer and you can have access to your backup copies of your files. Most external drives have their own backup software and you might wanna take a look at the BUFFALO MiniStation Thunderbolt or you can browse for more below:

How to Back Up Your Computer to an External Drive

Last but not least; you would still have to keep in mind that hard drives will fail you in a long term and will eventually need to be replaced, at which point you will have to backup your data onto a new hard drive be it an external drive or a flash drive like the SanDisk 128 GB Extreme Flash Drive that has big storage.

Cloud Backup

While having a backup or two for your data is a good practice, it is still quite vulnerable to threats like theft or other disaster. Your best option to prevent those is to keep another backup, your third copy of your files on another different device. Even if you have made a clone or backup an archive, chances are the data and files would not be updated (you’d forgotten) and it will cause inconvenience.

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Source: adityakamalapurkar

As a matter of fact, out of the three ways of backup, cloud backups are the easiest and simplest way to create and keep your backups updated. All you need is an account on a downloaded cloud software and you are good to go by following the guide and initial setup. The software will then keep your data and information up-to-date by performing backups automatically. The upside of cloud backup is that your files are encrypted and no one else will have access. Your files are not just copied to one drive but to lots of drive on the cloud server and you wouldn’t have to worry about losing your files ever again.

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The downside however, is that it could take a long time for your files to be uploaded on the server depending on the size of it. If your current Internet bandwidth has a slow upload speed, you may wanna upgrade your internet speed or wait you might wanna prepare your shaver for your mustache. You can Google and there are plenty of cloud services or you would wanna have a look at WD My Cloud Personal Cloud Storage.

Which Method Should You Choose?

As mentioned before, you should have 3 copies of your files each on different mediums. A good way to start is to take what you can get and backup your drive on a partitioned drive on your primary hard drive. If your choices are limited, it is highly recommended to have an online backup for 3 straight-forward reasons:

  1. Bootable backups is an often used option and have saved many “lives”, but if your computer dies and the reason is not the hard drive, the backup won’t work. You also have to update it from time to time.
  2. Considering the advancement of technology, fewer and fewer people are using the bulky desktop computer and portable/mobile laptop are on the rise. If you are gonna use an external hard drive, you will have to plug it in and backup your files. If your files are big, the more time will be consumed and this would be very inconvenient if you are always on-the-go.
  3. Put it up and never have to worry again. Online backups will work anytime and anywhere provided you have an Internet connectivity. One the initial upload is done, you can save on so much without buying any hardware or waste time configuring it.

With all that said, no matter the things you do, you at least did something. Even if your backup is outdated, it is so much better than having nothing at all (at least you don’t have to start all over again).


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