Computer Backup – How To Backup Your Computer

Computer Backup Tips and Free Backup Software.

Everyone knows they should have a good computer backup of any important files that are on their computer in case the Hard Drive crashes or the computer is otherwise destroyed by something like a fire, flood, or hurricane. The problem is many people don’t even know where to start to try and create a backup of the files and folders that are important. Here are some tips and suggestions to help you with your computer backup.

The easiest and most reliable way to backup your data is using an Online Backup Service that runs automatically in the background and stores your files off site. I use Backblaze Online Backup. An online backup that stores your files off site is important because if your home is destroyed by a natural disaster or fire your data is still safe. If you use a laptop and it’s stolen then your files can be recovered from the online backup.

If you would like the ability to sync your files and folders between two computers at the same time as your backing them up then the service to use is SugarSync.

If you don’t want to use an Online Backup then you’ll have to manually perform your computer backup using another hard drive, which of course could fail at some point as it’s a mechanical device just like the hard drive in your computer. The rule of thumb is not if a hard drive is going to fail but when a hard drive is going to fail. I have seen too many cases of external hard drives failing and people losing their data that was stored on them. So remember, if the data is only stored in one location then you don’t have a backup.

The first thing you’ll need is a good external hard drive.  I like this Seagate External Hard Drive as it is small and doesn’t require a separate AC Adapter to use. It connects to your computer via a USB port and is powered from the computer. The most affordable model is the 250 GB size and you can buy a larger model if needed.

Next you need a software program to backup you data and preferably one that creates a System Image. You could bypass this step and just drag and drop or copy your files manually but this gets tedious after a while, isn’t automated, and won’t create an image of your system.  A Free and fairly simple to use program for Home Computer backup is: Genie Timeline Home Free Version

If your computer came with Windows Pre-installed on it then you should consider a Backup Image or Disaster Recovery program because if your hard drive does stop working the recovery option that the manufacturer installed on it won’t work either. This means to get your computer working again you’d need both a new hard drive as well as new Windows software and this can be expensive. Of course if you were diligent enough to make the Factory Recovery Discs when you bought your new computer you won’t need the Windows Software but my in my experience 90% of people never make these recovery discs.

Another major advantage to having good Backup Images is if your computer becomes infected with a virus that requires reinstalling the operating system to clean you can reinstall an image from a time when your computer wasn’t infected. The advantage to this is reinstalling the image is faster and will put your computer back to a specific point in time with all your documents and programs included.

The products I recommend for creating Backup Images are Macrium Reflect (Free Edition) and True Image 2014 by Acronis

I hope that you incorporate at least one, if not both, of these computer backup methods into your computing habits as it will save you a lot of time, grief, and money when something goes wrong with your PC.