Why back up your files? How important is it to back up your files? Well, the long and short answer is back up your files as often as possible. If your computer files are important to you then you need to back up your files whenever you can to avoid loss when bad things happen, and unfortunately bad things happen to good files all the time.
If you are like most people you have many personal files on your computer, including precious photos, invoices, receipts, letters etc.….If your hard drive should fail, (the hard drive is where all these files are stored), then you are going to lose all these precious files. A hard drive can fail for many reasons, electrical surge, liquid spill or just wears out, (the disks inside hard drives spin at between 7500 and 10000 rpm). If your drive does fail there’s no easy solution to recover your files, some companies do offer services that involve rebuilding your drive, this often costs well over $1000. So, what should you do to prevent this? Well the short answer is to back up your files!
There are many options nowadays to back up your files. USB thumb, jump or zip drives have come way down in price recently and their capacity has become greater. To back up your files to an external USB drive, you can just plug in into an available USB slot, wait for the drive to be recognized, ( if it does not pop up you can navigate to “my computer” or “this computer”, you should now see your USB drive listed with the next available drive letter, your primary computer drive is usually C:, so your jump drive will be D:,E: or F: etc. depending on how many drives you have hooked up). Once you have located your USB drive you can back up your files by copying and pasting the files you want to back up to the USB drive.
There are plenty of other options, such as, external hard drives, these are used to back up your files in the same way as the USB jump drive, but the external hard drive will usually have more storage space, again these have come way down in price recently. Another option is to use a second internal drive on your computer if you have the space or you can back up your files on a networked drive on another computer if you are working in a network environment. Another popular option today is to back up your files online using dropbox or similar companies, storage is becoming cheaper all the time. Offsite back ups are a great idea for preventing catastrophic events such as fire or theft destroying your files as they reside on a server in ‘the cloud’ somewhere. The only problem if you back up your files online is that you are dependent on your internet connection, if your internet is down you can’t access your files! The best practice would be to back up your files with a mix of onsite and offsite back ups, this will dramatically increase your odds of preventing critical file loss!
You may be saying “this sounds like a lot of work!” Yes it can be, but if they are important to you, then it is worth the work to back up your files. There are plenty of options to automate the process. The one that I use is SyncBack Free. This is a great little program and as the name suggests it’s free. You just set up a profile consisting of the files you want to back up and the destination folder you want to back up to. Once set it just takes one click to back up your files. It also has a great feature to schedule back ups, this means it will automatically back up your selected files at a time of your choosing, without you having to do a thing. Great! If you want to give it a try you can download it from my site here. ( See a demo of SyncBack Free here ). However you do it, just do it – back up your files!