More and more often we are getting customers asking us about backing up files and what’s the best and safest way to do so. We know that your files are the most important thing on your computer and losing them would be a disaster!
Here is just a few examples of recent customers that we have in with us with loss of data issues :
A virus had found it’s way onto the customers machine and encrypted all the files on the machine so they couldn’t be opened! No anti-virus or malware scans could unlock the files. Luckily, a backup had been made only a few days before the infection, so while the machine had to be repaired, all the files could be restored from a backup so we had the machine back up and going like new in a matter of hours, all because a crucial back up had been made! Incidentally, at the the time of writing, there is still no known way of unlocking the files (Tesla Crypt or Cryptolocker – look it up if you don’t believe us!)
Hard drive failure is something that can strike anyone at any time. However, this customer dropped their laptop and damaged the hard drive. We tried to run recovery on the hard drive to try save the files but the hard drive was too badly damaged, worst of all, no backup had been done, EVER!. This meant that every file on the machine was lost and nothing could be done about it since no backup had been made, if it had, a few hours work and the customer would have been back running as good as ever!
Everything is digital now and downtime can be a costly and time consuming experience. Therefore we cannot stress the importance of a good backup system. Once such a system is in place, it needs to be checked regularly to make sure the backup is up-to-date and completing properly.
At Bridge PC Repair we can manage your backups for you. Its what we do and its what we are good at. We know the warning signs to look out for. We can tell you what backup system suits you best and we can monitor that back up continually for you. Its like insurance, you might get away with it for years, but when that crash does happen, unless you have a system in place, you are screwed!
OK, here’s the boring stuff……
Backing up your data
Backing up your hard drive is very important to ensure that you don’t lose your data. A complete loss of your data could happen for a number of reasons, your computer may fail, you could accidentally delete something and have no way of recovering it, or external forces like theft or damage could mean your files become inaccessible.
This isn’t a measure solely for tech-savvy people or for those who do heavy work on their computers, it is something everyone should do to ensure that they don’t lose all their pictures, music or documentation. Thankfully, it is simple to do but you need to do a small bit preparation first.
Where are you backing up?
Before you get started, it’s recommended that you use an external hard drive to back up your computer. You can back up your data on a cloud hosting service if you wish, but it’s usually cheaper and easier to rely on physical devices.
There are numerous versions out there of varying sizes, but you have a choice between a Solid State Drive (SSD) and a traditional hard disk drive (HDD).
The two are different in their own ways; SSD are faster and more durable but HDD are cheaper, which means you can get much more space for less. It really depends on how often you’re going to use it. If you’ll use it daily, an SSD is useful to have, but if it’s just for saving files that you won’t use that regularly, a HDD is a better fit.
As for the space needed, it’s a good idea to check how much space is available on your computer and get one that has double the space. It may seem like you won’t need that much space at first glance – especially if your hard drive is taken up with games which can be installed again – but since you’ll be saving multiple backups over time, it’s better to have the extra space.
How to back up your data
For this, we’re going to assume you use Windows or Mac OS but either way, you may be asked to erase (or reformat) your hard drive first before it’s ready to back up your data so if you have important data saved on it, save it elsewhere before you continue.
If you’re using Windows, go to start and search for ‘backup’, the option ‘Backup and Restore’ will appear.
For Mac, you have Time Machine, which is found through the same methods (go to finder and type it in or find it in ‘Applications’).
And that’s it. Just follow the instructions provided and you’ll be ready to back up your device. It will take a bit of time to complete so make sure you don’t need to do anything important in the meantime. It is also a good idea to ensure your charger is plugged in during this process.
How often should you back up?
It depends on how often you update your computer and how many new files you save on your computer. For most people, updating it every couple of weeks would be enough unless you regularly save large and/or important files.
Both services will serve reminders, but it’s good practice to set your own for every couple of weeks so you don’t forget. Better yet, turn on automatic backup so you don’t have to worry about it as much.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lee is the newest member of the Bridge PC Repair Team. He is our Chief Technician and Support Manager, specialising in Computer Repairs and Networking Solutions for Businesses.
Contact Lee: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tele: 051 560767