I recently got robbed. I lost my laptop and phones. As I am slowly trying to recover from what happened: I realize that I do not have any of my phone contacts apart from the 3 numbers I have in my head. I also realize that I have lost at least 3 months work. Though most of my work is on line, quite a lot is missing. And what hurts is that I may never recover any of it. There is a 1% chance that the Police may be able to track down my stuff, but not so sure given the state of affairs in Uganda.
That said: I have had to learn the meaning of backup, the hard way. And so I want to help y’all before you get into trouble like me. And as I get used to having to start all over again, I realize that I am not the only one that has thought about backing up their data BUT HAS NOT done it. And like someone said: ‘Things go wrong sometimes Computers get viruses, hard drives fail, and ex-girlfriends [and ex-boyfriends] launch belongings out of windows, leaving you in a bind.’
Here are the very many options that we can use to back up our data.
Windows 7 Backup:
I know that Windows 8 is out but most probably we are all going to still be using Windows 7 or awhile. Windows comes with a very cool feature called Backup and Restore, which has been improved for Windows 7. What makes the Backup and Restore feature so cool is that it simplifies the entire backup process for you. With easy-to-follow steps and prompts, you can decide whether to back up specific files or your entire computer. Well, it is a good idea to back up your entire computer when you first set it up. This option captures everything from files to software programs to system settings. If your computer ever stops working completely, you can potentially restore it using the initial entire computer backup.
The most common method for backing up your data is an external drive. There are some which come prepackaged with software for easily duplicating your files. Many drives come with a one-click solution, meaning all you need to do is press a button on the front of the drive or your desktop to begin an automatic backup. Of course, you can use any backup software you choose depending on what PC you are using. And as a bonus, some models have a Web interface for accessing your files even when you’re away from your PC.
NAS devices or Network Attached Storage devices. These are autonomous storage devices that sit on a network outside of your PC but is connected via your home/work Wi-Fi or wired network. The technology was primarily a tool of businesses up until fairly recently, but now it’s more widespread for personal use. In many ways, your computer treats a NAS device like any other hard drive. It will show up as a separate disk in ‘My Computer’ or as an icon on your desktop and you’ll be able to access the files just as you would on any drive (external or otherwise). Since it’s not directly attached to a PC, it can easily be accessed by several computers at once for sharing files.
Online file storage solutions are becoming increasingly popular and are an excellent option, especially if you want to share files between several PCs. Some Internet storage solutions are used without ever leaving your Web browser, while others add themselves to My Computer like they’re just another hard drive. Still others install small apps that work in your computer’s background, syncing your data to the Web without you ever having do a thing. Drop Box and or Mozy are the most used these days. But their use depends on how much Data you want to store.
Windows Live SkyDrive is one option available if you choose to back up your data to an online storage space. A couple of additional storage options from Microsoft include Hotmail, which offers enough storage for you to store your email, calendar, and contacts, and Windows Live Mesh, which lets you sync all your files and folders across your PCs and devices and provides enough cloud storage for your most important files. Google also offers such through GMAIL.
USB devices commonly known as Flash disks come in handy as well. You can purchase one with a lot of storage space and the good thing about them is they are not bulky. You are also able to access your data on the go: whether or not you re near your PC.
And lastly but not least:
CDs and DVDs
Blank CDs and DVDs are a quick and cheap way to create extra copies of important files but they fall short in other areas. For one, rewritable discs are not very common, so if you’re stuck using write-once media, like CD-R, you’ll have to burn an entirely new disc to update your backup. Second, backing up to optical media is time consuming and hard, almost impossible, One needs lots of time. Of course, with the largest DVDs topping out at 8.5GB — around 2,200 songs, or the size of the smaller capacity iPod Nano — they’re still not ideal for backing up large data collections. It would take over 100 DVDs just to equal the storage of a 1-terabyte external drive.
At the end of the day: Backing up Data is A LOT of work, but it must be done. It is time consuming, and it is one of those things that you have to not just think about doing but have to do if you own a computer. So I hope that you stop thinking about it and go on and do I as often as possible. Cheers!