When it’s time to back up your computer you want a method that’s easy, fast and reliable, whether you’re using Apple or Windows. Bad things can happen to your computer: hardware failure, virus infection, theft or disasters.
Your important files, documents, videos, music and photos will be gone, too. Keep them safe by backing up your computer. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Your first step for a computer backup is to select the folders you want to back up and estimate their combined file size. Then you’ll know what backup technique is right for you. Here’s how to proceed.
If you have a small number of files to back up, the fast and easy way to backup is to send an email to yourself with the files as attachments. Your data will remain safe online with your email provider until you need it again.
If your email service has limits on the number and size of attachments, use as many emails as necessary. Over time, your email service may delete old emails for lack of activity, so be aware of their policy.
Handy-dandy flash drives plug into the USB port to back up your computer files. If you have a mid-size collection of files, the flash drive comes in handy.
It’s tiny and portable, very inexpensive and easy to use to back up your computer and restore the data files later. Flash drives are multipurpose devices, often used to transport data from computer to computer. SanDisk is a familiar brand for Windows PC or Apple.
Online data storage sites provide fast and easy computer backup in the cloud. They will keep your data safe and accessible, sites like MozyHome, MyPCBackup and Dropbox. This is cloud computing at its best. Services like these offer two gigabytes of data storage for free, but you are likely to need more.
For heavy-duty computer backups, look at NAS devices, or Network Attached Storage. Often used by businesses, NAS is an independent external box that connects to computers via an office network or your WiFi at home.
A NAS box will automatically back up several computers every night. It comes with 500 gigabytes of expandable storage and its own software. You’ll access it from an icon on your computer desktop. Cost starts at $100. Brands include Buffalo, Netgear and HP SmartMedia Server.