The Beginner’s Guide to PC Backup

Although most people know that data backup is necessary, an alarming number of these same people fail to take the time to invest in backing up important data.  Many people don’t understand the urgency of data backup until they have lost an important set of photos from a family even, important tax documents or necessary school files.  With the help of Novastor’s reliable PC backup software and services, it’s become significantly easier for the average person to backup all their important data.  The first step in data backup is to identify your basic needs.

What Should I Back Up?

It’s easy to remember to backup your important documents, pictures, music and video folders, but there are several others you may not think about that should always be included.

  • E-mail (e-mail files must often be sought out before backup)
  • Browsers should be backed up in order to preserve favorites, bookmarks, passwords and cookies
  • Drivers, including any software that allows your computer to communicate
  • Social networks

What Type of Backup Should I Choose?

Data backup can be as simple as copying files and moving them to another spot, but new technology makes the process so much more complete.  The type of backup you use will determine exactly how much redundancy, access and security you have.

Backup Files and Folders – Folders and files should be backed up on a regular basis. Choose software that allows you to choose which folders and files to save, and always remember that a file must be COPIED in order to be truly backed up; many consumers mistake the moving of a file as making a copy.

Synchronization – If you use more than one computer, then synchronization is a necessity.  This process allows you to duplicate all of your files onto each computer, along with creating a backup file online.  Changes are automatically updated across all computers.  If redundancy is your goal, synchronization is key.

Full Disk Image – When backing up a full disk image, you have several options.

  • Copy files to a larger driver as an easy way to restore certain files when the need arises.
  • Make an image, or replica, of the data in the form of a snapshot of the drive.  Images are especially important for brand new computers as all data is restored to the state when the image was taken.
  • Regularly scheduled full-disk image backup is your best option.  Include data on your image and use software that has the ability to restore certain files and read images.  An external hard drive is a necessity with a regular full-disk image backup.

Where Should I Store My Data?

Once again, you’ll have several choices for data storage.  Choosing the right one is a matter of your preference for media type.

  • External Hard Drives – Possible the easiest storage destination, an external hard drive is plugged in through a USB.  Drives range from inexpensive and simple to costly and complex.
  • Discs – Available in CD, DVD or Blu-ray, although data storage is limited to what the disc can hold.  The benefits are that discs are cheap and portable.
  • Flash Drives – As flash drives get bigger, their costs consistently get lower.  These storage tools are incredibly portable, but are also easy to lose (and steal).
  • Network Attached Storage – Also called a home server, these drives allow anyone on your network to access your information.  Shopping around is necessary to find the right price with the right inclusions for your storage needs.
  • Cloud – Otherwise known as “online storage”, the Cloud requires you to manually upload and download any files you need to access, but is quickly becoming the storage option of choice for many companies.

Consumers have hundreds of options when choosing the right type of storage, but one fact remains clear: data should be backed up regularly in order to minimize inconvenience, save money and avoid the heartbreak that exists when those pictures of little Gracie are lost with the click of a mouse.

Courtesy of Novastor