Computer Backups Aren’t Just for Nerds

“Backups”

Let’s first discuss the definition of a “backup”, what it is, and most importantly, what it isn’t. A backup of your most important files, pictures, music, movies, documents, etc. is quite simply, a copy of them. A solid backup plan is to not only make a copy, but put that copy in a different place. Most often I see people MOVE their files to an external hard drive, and call them backed up. That’s not a backup, that’s just moving them somewhere else, and that “somewhere else” can fail just as easily as the location it was in originally.

Why do you need a backup? Because things fail, that’s why. Your car throws a rod, your pool cracks a leak, your zipper rips, and your computer’s hard drive breaks down and corrupts. It happens. Sometimes these things happen two days after bringing it home from the store, and sometimes it happens thirty years later. The point is, assume it’ll happen tomorrow, and prepare for it.

How do you begin a backup plan?

Step One: Decide what needs to be backed up- Pictures, Music, Word Docs, Excel Spreadsheets, etc. Right-Click the folders you want to backup, choose properties, and tally up the megabytes and gigabytes of data. Calculate the total.

Step Two: Decide how often your chosen data needs to be backed up. Is it once, daily, weekly, monthly, etc.. If the data will change between backups, do you want to keep separate versions, or overwrite the old version with the new version each time. If you want to keep old versions, how many? Factor that into your storage size needs.

Step Three: Choose a backup storage device/media- This involves choosing an appropriately sized storage device that will accommodate all of your data now, as well as allow you to add to it later. This may be cloud backup, an external USB hard drive, a simple flash drive, or even more simply, a CD/DVD.

Step Four: Using your operating system’s backup features, or using a third party software solution. Windows and Mac have built-in features that cover most peoples’ needs, and won’t cost an additional cent. The features available on some more expensive software are not suitable for discussion in this post, but can be discussed on a per-customer basis if you feel you have some complicated backup/storage needs.

Notes: The process for setting up the backup varies considerably from person to person, computer to computer, and can be discussed at great length. The most important part is the plan. Give AVA+ Technologies a call, or stop in for more information.