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Archive for June 21st, 2010

How To Properly Backup Your Data: Use DVDs, Another Hard Drive Or Offsite Backups

June 21, 2010 By: lilybird Category: Software

The files on your PC can be very vital to you, even moreso if you are like those of us who make a living using a computer. Over the past several years, the PC has grown on all of us, making our day-to-day lives a great deal easier. For this reason, it’s easy to conclude that if we lost the files on our PC, it would totally wipe out a majority of our own identity. Losing data can be a great disaster, to say the least. Although personal computers usually store your data reliably, these devices have been known to fail occasionally. Three of the main ways to backup your data are DVD backups, complete hard drive backups and offsite backups.

Even though the personal computer has become a lot more reliable in the past several years, it is almost impossible to keep PCs from losing files. You must not give up without a fight though, as you can indeed take control. The best approach to ensure that you don’t lose your valuable information is to back up and continue backing up. You ought to back up the data on your personal computer at least weekly, with a backup daily for new or changed data being the recommended way to go.

Previously, and even for some today, the DVD disk is the usual method in use to preserve the information on your computer. Although DVDs store a fairly small amount of files, they are easy to obtain, easy to utilize, and almost every personal computer has a DVD drive. So determine which folders – usually ‘My Documents’ and perhaps your folders for Email, Music, Photos and downloaded software – then burn them straight to a data DVD or compress them to a zip file and copy that archive to the DVD. When you use DVD/RW disks, you can keep on adding files to them the next time you run a backup. If you do not use the RW (re-writable) media, then you won’t be able to come back at a later time and add more data to the DVD.

If you plan to use DVDs, you will need a DVD drive, which you may buy for a great price nowadays. The DVDs are cheap also, which only makes this method of backing your information up so much better. Copying files directly to DVDs is the form of backup that most people are making use of nowadays, however, a preferred method of backing up your information is to backup the entire hard drive. Those people who are looking to move up to the next level should look into backing up your whole hard disk. Backing up your whole hard disk is in fact one of the prime and safest ways to backup your computer. If you do a backup of your entire hard drive, it will copy all of your files, so if a hard disk crash occurs you’ll always have your information.

Doing a full backup of your entire hard drive is great, although it can take a long time. To make matters worse, they advise that you make a full backup at least weekly. On the other hand, however, if the information on your personal computer is very important, you will discover it is more than worth the effort and time required to back up your things. You’ll need an extra hard disk that’s at least as large as your primary hard drive.

The most modern method you can back up your data and programs is to use offsite backups. Several companies provide offsite backup services, and you may learn about them at the link below. Just like using DVDs, when setting up one of these offsite backup services you have to specify what folders to backup, then you simply let the service make its first full backup of those folders which usually takes several hours. After that, it’s all automatic: the backup program looks for new and changed files, and uploads them to their offsite backup computers.

An important issue to consider is if your offsite backups keep previous versions of data. This is called “versioning.” That way, when you need to restore one or several files that somehow got updated incorrectly, simply go online – often you can use your web browser – and download a previous version to your PC. Making use of offsite backups means that you need not worry about someone stealing or destroying your backup media – DVDs or extra hard drive – together with your computer.

Whether it is for your business or for personal reasons, you can’t go wrong backing up your files. You should always strive to back things up properly, including the registration keys for all software you bought, because this will ensure that your programs along with your data will always be recoverable when you have to recover them. You can most likely find copies of installation programs on the Internet or by asking your friends, but you will need your own registration keys to install those programs legally.

This way, if you inadvertently delete some files, or your PC is stolen, lost, or damaged in a fire or flood, or your hard disk happens to burn out and you lose all the data on it, you will always have your backup files to restore from. This by itself can save you lots of worry, time, effort, and very possibly even hard-earned cash – just for the fact that the files are all but a simple copy away to recover, either from DVDs, an extra hard disk or offsite backups.

Best regards,

Robert Hosken
“Dr. Bob the CompuNerd”

The author, Dr. Robert Hosken, has over 30 years of career experience in software development. Starting in his teens he has started and run many businesses and non-profit entities. Download his free e-Book “How To Maintain Your Computer” and learn the modern methods to save your valuable information at offsite backups or see his homepage at www.CompuNerds.Net or write him at Robert@CompuNerds.Net – thank you!

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