There are two basic methods of backup available to you today; removable devices and on-line. A removable device is either a USB memory stick or a removable hard disk and the simple difference is the size. A USB stick is probably between 8 and 64 gigabytes of storage, whereas a removable hard disk would be between 500 gigabytes and 2 terabytes in size.
So how much backup space do you need? Most computers we see have between 40 and 100 gigabytes of data made up of documents, pictures and music. You’ll see therefore that a memory stick, whilst useful for a quick copy to take from one computer to another, is not really practical for a proper backup. A removable hard disk is much more suitable, robust and long lasting. Whatever you do, you must never move data from your PC to backup as the whole idea is to have TWO copies of your precious data in case of failure.
Let’s dispel a myth here - Don’t be worried about how much stuff is stored on your PC in terms of documents, pictures and videos; it won’t affect the speed of your PC one little bit. The speed of your PC is dented by the programs you’ve installed and have running at any one time: Don’t go deleting pictures in the hope that your PC will speed up again, have it cleaned up properly or if you have an old style hard drive in your PC or laptop then let us upgrade it to a Solid State Drive as its much cheaper than buying a new one!
Once you’ve got your backup device, then it’s simply a matter of copying your data from your PC to your device. You can do this manually, use the Windows Backup system that came on your PC (Backup & Restore – Windows 7 or File History – Windows 10) or use any of the many proprietary backup programs (FBackup or Always sync). If you use a MAC then use the built in “Time Machine” backup system. If you accidentally lose a file or have a disaster with your PC then it’s simply a matter of restoring your data from your device using the same method as you used to create the backup.
On-line backup is a paid-for service (about £50 a year) where your computer uploads all your data to a secure storage server for safe keeping. We supply a program called LiveDrive, PC world use the same program with their own branding. These programs automatically update every day or whenever you set them to back up and restoring is simply a matter of downloading your data again. I always recommend this method as its automatic and you don’t have to faff about with sticks or other USB things; furthermore, you don’t have to remember to do it! Although you should always check every so often as these programs require updating from time to time and like any other program can crash and won’t run again until you restart or shut down.
The final word… These days we store more pictures and more documents than we’ve ever done and it can all disappear with the click of a wrong button or a sudden hardware failure. Back up now and don’t regret it! As always, you know where to come!
Added: 6th October 2020