I mentioned yesterday that you should have an “offsite” backup, whether it lives in your car or at someone’s house. I also mentioned that you should not keep your external hard drive plugged in and on at all times. Here are a few more I wanted to mention, but I was getting too wordy…
Your backup drive should not be used as “additional” storage. If you need additional storage you should buy a separate hard drive for storage only. If you want to be super safe, I would also back up that storage drive to ANOTHER external hard drive. I know it’s starting to add up to a whole lot of external hard drives, but how valuable is your information? It could be tricky trying to figure out how to backup one external hard drive to another. The easiest way is to just plug them both into a computer and copy the data from one to the other. There is nothing worse than finding out the hard drive you have been using as additional storage has failed, and there is no backup of it. You think since it’s not part of your computer it’s always there, but if that fails it can be very costly to try and retrieve the files you’ve lost.
There are a few types of backups I’ve discussed earlier. The more data you backup the longer it’s going to take. If you want the quickest backup, you can just backup your most important files. This would be your pictures, documents, videos, etc. If you keep everything you are going to want backed up in a certain folder (for example “My Documents”, don’t forget to organize your files within the main folder), then you can just take the entire folder. You won’t have to go looking around your computer for more things to backup, you’ll just know that you are getting all the correct data.
My last best practice is that you backup OFTEN. Anytime you add a lot more data to your computer, when you upload a family vacation, when you have a large project you are working on, you should create a new backup. I also backup about twice a month. If my files changed more frequently it could end up being even more frequently then that.
So ask yourself today… what would you do if your computer crashed?
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Sarah Kimmel has spent the last 16 years of her career as an IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com