In this day and age, it’s important to have a copy of your data stored in a secure place. Having to deal with losing your data can be incredibly frustrating — and trying to retrieve it is a journey full of uncertainties. The Acronis 2019 World Backup Day Survey presented on Help Net Security notes that 65.1% of consumers have experienced data loss at least once, further pointing out that accidental deletion, hardware failure, and software issues are to blame.
This is why it’s crucial to constantly backup your data — especially those that are stored on your PC. PCs tend to be the central hub of a user’s music, movies, photos, projects, and files, so accidentally losing the data on your computer can be devastating. Thankfully, the process of backing up your computer isn’t that complicated. With that being said, we’ve drafted a short guide on how to backup your PC.
Choose What to Backup
First you need to decide what to back up. Obviously, you should start with your personal files. Any software you have on your computer plus your operating system can be easily re-downloaded, but if your hard drive glitches, your personal files won’t be as easy to recover.
In recent years, everyone has been encouraged to go digital as physical forms of music, photos, movies, and documents are prone to deterioration. So any file that you deem to be irreplaceable should go first on the list of what to backup — especially financial and legal digital copies of your documents. This should be done at least daily or before you shut down your PC, just to be on the safe side.
But that’s not to say that you shouldn’t create a backup of your operating system, settings, and any software that you’ve purchased or downloaded. In cases where your hard drive fails completely, having a system image — or full copy of all that you have in your computer — can be a lifesaver. But, most experts advise doing this only three times a year as this process is arduous and can take up a sizable amount of free storage.
Cloud, Bootable Clone, or External?
There are three main methods to backup your computer. One that’s gaining a lot of traction nowadays is backing up your data to the cloud. This means subscribing to a cloud storage vendor in order to have a digital hard drive. Unlike physical forms of storage, the cloud stores your backup in a secure server where it’s protected by sophisticated encryption and isn’t prone to physical failure. This makes this type of backup a great option when it comes to data protection, as Box highlights that cloud services let you recover lost data easily through reliable power sources and backup systems. This way, you can rest assured that you and your team can have frictionless security and regulatory compliance by design.
You can also create a bootable clone of your system or files. A bootable clone is a full copy of your computer — from your operating system to your personal files. The great thing about bootable clones is that you can instantly boot up your PC in case your main hard drive fails — saving you the time and effort of installing a new operating system and migrating your data. However, booting up from a clone won’t necessarily restore how your computer performs, so you may still need to purchase a new hard drive that has a faster processing time.
The most common method of backing up is copying your files to an external hard drive. Simply connect an external hard drive and copy the files that you need to be saved. External drives are also becoming more and more advanced. If you want to always have a copy of your backup without lugging around a cumbersome external hard drive, companies like Sandisk now offer a micro SD card with 1TB of storage that can be clipped onto a keychain. And if you’re a stickler for security, Samsung’s SSD T7 touch has a fingerprint reader to bolster your data’s protection.
The key takeaway is that no matter what option you choose you need to be proactive in backing up your PC. As mentioned above, lost data and files due to not taking the proper precautions are one of the most frustrating things that can happen to any computer user.