You will see mention a number of times within this site about the importance of regular data backup.
To be honest, until you have experienced losing your own data you’re not going to fully appreciate just how important this is.
Seriously, the first time this happens you’re going to be so, so angry with yourself if you haven’t made provision for a data backup, and a regular one at that!
And if you’re working on some document or other that is really important to you, or perhaps for your work, then you do need to ensure that you are properly backed up.
Ok, enough of the lecturing lets investigate our data backup options.
Back Me Up
So, what data should you make sure you’re backing up?
Let’s make a list of the most likely files and folders that you should be thinking of.
- My Documents Folder
- Digital Photographs
- Email Address Book
- MP3 and Music Files
- Video Files
- Accounts Data
- Project Data or Files
- Internet Explorer Bookmarks
- Software Downloaded from the Internet
That should be enough to get you thinking – what else would you consider you would be lost without if a failure occurred with your PC?
Sorry, that should read ‘when a failure occurs’!
Before you go down the data backup route, take a little time to make sure your files are in some sort of logical order.
This will make it a lot easier to organize your backup and to know where to look for various files when you come to reinstall them if needs be after a failure or if a file becomes corrupted for instance.
Now, on to back up hard drive options.
You need to decide where you will be storing all you’re back up data.
Here are a few of the most common choices.
- A separate partition on your PCs hard drive, i.e. partition your PCs hard disk drive so that it has a C: and D: drive available for access. Your data and programs will all be on the C: drive partition but you will backup all your important files and folders to your D: drive partition
- A shared network drive on another PC on your network
- An external hard disk drive attached when required or permanently via a USB interface
- A RAID mirrored set of drives
- A Home Network Attached Storage Device
- A second hard disk drive within your PC for data backup
All of the above options will have their pros and cons and the most important thing for you to do, once you have decided upon which option suits you best, is to ensure that you do actually carry out a regular hard drive backup.
Get organized, set aside a regular time to do this.
You can instruct Windows to do this for you or you can install a third party piece of software to organize this all for you.
We would recommend that you consider an external backup of some sort as the safest option available to you.
Backup With a Simple Touch!
Maxtor ‘OneTouch’ external hard drives offer a simple option with backup being automated to occur at a particular time of day of your choice and the facility to backup at any time using the front panel ‘OneTouch’ button.
Just written an important document and want to ensure that it’s backed up immediately?, just hit the ‘OneTouch’ button and you’re all safe and secure!
The Maxtor ‘OneTouch’ is available in various sizes depending upon your budget, from 160GB up to a massive 1TB!
The external hard drive will protect you against your primary hard drive in your PC failing and accidental deletion of files.
It is still susceptible though to power surges and system viruses or Trojan horses etc.
This leads us to the next option – read on for our recommended 'bells and whistles' backup plan.
Why would you want to go down the online data backup route rather than organizing your own backup?
Well, probably the best and most important reason you might choose to do this is the assurance that you won’t lose your important data due to any potential mishap with your PC or hardware backup facility that you may have set up at home.
Let’s see, if you choose to go down the RAID mirror route for instance and your PC power supply fails with a fault that causes damage to your hardware then you may well lose both / all RAID mirrored disks!
Or you may just fail to do an automated backup successfully and when you come to reinstate your data after a failure or whatever, you find your precious data just isn’t backed up as you had envisaged.
With an online backup scenario you will have access to your backed up files no matter what disaster befalls your PC.
An online backup is probably the safest route to take, for the home PC user, to ensure peace of mind against losing their precious data.
Which online service would we recommend?
Well, there are a number of services on offer but the one we would recommend for ease of use, functionality and pure value for money has to be Carbonite.
The latest version, Carbonite 3.5 offers a year’s online backup for around $50 with free upgrades and support for both Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 platforms.
Carbonite provides an incremental style of backup once the initial file selection has been made.
A wizard is used initially to allow you to choose which folders / data you require to be backed up.
Once set up the process is completely automatic and the folders you have selected will be incrementally backed up in the background without you having to instruct the program to do anything.
The connection is secure and encrypted and the moment you add or modify files, Carbonite will automatically backup your data via your internet connection.
And what’s more, there is no limit to the amount of data that you can back up!
If you need to add files and folders then this can be achieved with a simple right click of your mouse.
File recovery is again performed with a simple 'right click and select' option.
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