How to Back-Up Your Computer and Files.
How you back up is not as important as having a backup and not just one, the standard is at least three backups but one is better than none. It is best to have one backup off-site (perhaps at your parents house or in the cloud) and at least two different media (remember floppy discs or zip or jazz drives or tape drives) for when the current media becomes outdated. Backing up is easier than ever now with portable hard drives or thumb drives and cloud access is everywhere. Also a backup of a computer on that computer, is not a real backup. If the hard drives suffers a mechanical failure, then the backup is usually irretrievable as with the data you backed up.
The least costly in dollar terms is currently DVD. You can copy all of you files onto DVDs and store them away, but that is often the most costly in time. Depending on your operating system (Windows or Apple or Linux), it should have a built in backup program (or app) that will write to the DVDs for you and just tell you when to change discs.
Similarly but easier is the use of a portable (or external) hard drive. Again most current Operating Systems have a backup program built in and will do all the work for you, but remember to disconnect and put the portable hard drive away from harm after the backup is finished. Some Operating Systems call it a feature to leave it connected so the OS can keep the backup incrementally updated, that is fine so long as you have a regular backup elsewhere for when disaster strikes.
Finally there is cloud or internet based backup. There are numerous cloud backup services available, they usually have an app that you can download or you can login and let them know which data you want backed up. If you are on a slow connection they can let it trickle up to the cloud a little bit at a time so it doesn’t interfere with whatever you are doing. Or some of them can just back the whole lot up in one go but it usually takes hours, so start it up before you go to bed and by morning it could be done. Once again have a backup of your backup because if you are relying on cloud backup but your internet is down or the cloud service is no longer available, your backup will be useless.
The above scenarios are pretty much for whole system backups, but if you have a single project you want to backup, it can be as simple as burning it to a DVD or copying it to a thumbdrive.
The most important thing is to have a backup because if you don’t have a backup, you can’t retrieve it from the backup.
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Updated 21 February 2019