With all technology and software out there, there are no excuses in not wanting or forgetting to back up our computers. Our digital life is as important as our biological life and the files stored in our devices are part of our personal history.
When I visit new customers, sometimes I see that they have old pcs and they haven’t backed them up for years. I also saw people with new pcs not being backed up at all, maybe because those folks believe that a new pc has lower chances of crashing. Both attitudes are wrong.
As I keep checking up regularly the backup of my customers, I believe that if I write an article about backing up computers, readers of my blog will find my resource helpful and will feel encouraged in taking a positive stance towards the files stored in their machines.
- WINDOWS 7 COMPUTERS
– If you still own a Windows 7 pc, please back up all your files to an external USB hard drive and get a new machine as soon as possible. Windows 7 has been discontinued in 2020 and running a machine that has no patched software is risky and will make your files more vulnerable. If for some reasons you still need to run Windows 7, unplug the ethernet cable from the pc and run the machine offline. Needless to say that even an offline pc still needs to be backed up, so back it up !
- WINDOWS 10
– The reason why we need to backup a Windows computer is not only to protect it against data loss but also because we want to avoid ransomware. The best way to backup a pc nowadays are three:
- Backup up your files only to an external hard drive: go to Control Panel>File History, attach an external hard drive and setup File History to backup your pc every hour or so. File history is very user friendly and easy to setup. However, the problem with this type of backup is that if your machine is hit by a ransomware while the hard drive is plugged in, the virus will go to the hard drive and infect all the files in it. I recommend to perform this type of backup only periodically. Once the backup is finished, unplug the hard drive from the computer and store it in a secure location.
- Backup to a cloud provider: this type of backup is really bulletproof because it sits idle at the bottom right of your screen and it backs up your files every 15 minutes. The advantage of this type of backup is that if your machine is hit by a virus, the files will be safe because they are stored in the servers of the cloud provider. I personally use and recommend Chrashplan , but Carbonite works fine as well.
- Back up an Image of your computer: another effective method to safeguard your file is to image your pc. An imaged pc is no other than a screenshot of your computer hard drive taken at a specific point in time. If you can take those images and store them safely to an external hard drive, recovering a machine will be matter of minutes. The image will restore your computer OS, files, folders, programs and settings to the exact time when the image was taken.
- MAC COMPUTERS
1- By default Mac computers come with the utility called “Time Machine” which allows users to backup the entire computer to an external hard drive or to a network drive. I highly recommend to use this method but with the caveats highlighted in the point number 1 above.
2- There is also another effective way to store Mac files in the cloud and I have found easy to use Backblaze . Backblaze backs up your Mac every 15 minutes to the cloud and it has been tested to protect your files against the most common threats, including ransomware.
3- If you don’t want to invest in Backblaze and you have enough storage in your Icloud account, Icloud is also an easy and secure way to store your files in the cloud.
As you can see, there are many ways to protect your files from computers that can shut down without notice. It’s up to each user to be educated and select which solution best fits budget and usability.