Posts Tagged ‘ computer backup ’

4 Ways to Back Up Your Computer

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Last week’s Mac Flashback virus served as another reminder that hackers are always out there creating malware with the intent to harm your machine.  Using common sense and antivirus software is helpful in eliminating the threat of viruses but it’s also important to back up the data on your machine.

Most often times we don’t think about our data until the computer’s performance starts to slow to a crawl, the blue screen of death appears, or we hear news of a widespread outbreak affecting users.  Documents, files, and your extensive digital photo and video collection could disappear.  If the thought of losing data sounds horrific, consider the various ways you can back up important information well before your computer is compromised thanks to a virus.

DVDs

Burning DVDs are a way to maintain a history of your files and can be a good solution because they’re permanent and fairly inexpensive.  A quick check on Amazon shows that you can purchase 100 DVD-Rs for around $20.  You never have to worry about writing over the data and erasing important files but using DVDs as a backup system isn’t for the forgetful because you have to remember to burn them regularly to be effective.  Each blank DVD has limited space meaning that multiples are required to back up your entire computer and if you have a lot of data, you could be burning lots of DVDs.

USB Flash Drives

These little devices are affordable, portable, and ones with larger storage capacity are becoming more inexpensive.  It’s easy to use USB flash drives by simply dragging and dropping to copy files.  However, the compact form of USB drives makes them easy to lose.  They can fall off a keychain, sink to the bottom of a purse, or take a trip through the wash in your pocket.  Sometimes they can wear out with extended use and die with no notice.  Since they are limited in space, they aren’t the best option for backing up all the files on your computer but a great temporary solution.

External Hard Drives

External hard drives are portable drives that can back up all documents on your computer on one small device.  Plugging it into your computer and installing software to perform regular automatic backups ensures that you will never forget.  One drawback to external drives is the price. The bigger the drive, the more expensive. Always buy a bigger drive for room to grow so you can use your investment for a longer period of time.  Just like other backup methods, it can fail if subjected to a power surge or dropped.

Cloud Backup or Cloud Storage

Backing up to the cloud fancy phrase that refers to a web based method of online storage for your files. Mozy, Carbonite, Apple’s iDisk, and Windows SkyDrive provide secure and remote online disk space.  Predetermined pricing payable monthly can make this a more budget friendly solution to automated backup when compared to the cost of purchasing an external hard drive. Just pay, automate, and breathe a sigh of relief that your computer is backing up regularly! Cloud based storage requires a high speed internet connection and since you’re relying on a company, if the company goes out of business, you’ll need to look for another service immediately.

Now that you’re thinking about it, which of the above solutions might work for you and your family’s data?  Choose one and start backing up because you never want to be in the situation where your machine is crashing and you are losing data that hasn’t been properly backed up!

Backup computer key in blue via Shutterstock

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Free Tools to Spring Clean Your PC to Optimize Performance

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Just as a cluttered home makes it hard to find what you need, a disaster of a desktop on your computer can also hamper productivity.  Over time, extra files and information about your computer’s programs and activities can slow your machine to a crawl.  This spring clean up your PC by taking these easy steps:

Scan for viruses.  BitDefender QuickScan is a free online virus scanner that looks for malware such as Trojan horses, viruses, worms, and spyware that installs itself with the intent of damaging your computer while you use it.  Running QuickScan helps determine what viruses your computer has and will fix them for free.

Install a program to declutter and remove and errors to keep your PC running at its optimal speed.  Programs like ChicaLogic’s Chica-PC Fix offer a free scan through their website.

Secure your computer against viruses and hackers.  AVG offers free trials of their Anti-Virus program to protect your computer against viruses and spyware while you’re browsing online or on social networking sites.  While you’re on the AVG site, get a 30 day trial of their Internet Security to keep your personal information safe from hackers and spammers.

Back up your computer.  Now that you’ve cleaned up your computer to speed up performance and armed it with software to keep it operational, back up your data. Often times we don’t think about our data until it’s too late.  By backing up your data, you won’t have to worry about your files when your malware-infested computer is on the verge of the blue screen of death. Having a backup allows peace of mind. You never have to worry about a potential system crash or losing your files and photos in the case of theft. Carbonite offers secure automatic online backup that you can try for your home or business for free for 15 days.  Automatic backup is wonderful because it allows you to set a time for your computer to backup so you never have to remember to do so.  I often run mine in the middle of the night or at a time where I know I won’t be working on my computer to ensure that I always have a backup of all the files on my computer.

Miniature maids or cleaning women on a laptop computer via Shutterstock

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