Sunday, March 31st, 2013
So many times we don’t think about backing up the data on our computers before it’s too late. When the blue screen of death appears or the contents of one’s coffee cup start to seep between the keys, shorting out your laptop, you’re often just minutes away from losing important documents and photos. In honor of March 31 being World Backup Day, it’s a good time to think about how you back up your home computers.
World Backup Day was started as “a day for people to learn about the increasing role of data in our lives and the importance of regular backups.” According to WorldBackupDay.com, more than 60 million computers worldwide will fail this year and with only 1 in 4 people backing up their information regularly, there will be about 45 million incidences where files will be lost for good. These files include thousands of photos, conversations, calendars, and more that could be gone in an instant. Baby photos, kids’ school assignments, and address book entries that could potentially be lost.
Now is a great time to take stock of how you’re currently backing up your data to figure out what you need for complete system backup before any mishaps occur. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start by thinking about how many computers, tablets, and smartphones you have in your home and what is most critical to keep for eternity.
Most families worry most about precious photos and video clips that document a child’s life. According to Techzilla.com Expert, Ben Weissman, the most important thing to back up are your pictures. Weissman says, “You can always buy a movie or music, but you can’t ever buy back memories.”
Portable external hard drives or cloud backup solutions through services like Carbonite provide the most comprehensive home backup systems. With Carbonite, you get unlimited backup space but if you’re purchasing an external hard drive, you’ll need to assess how many gigabytes (GB) of storage each of your devices is using to figure out the size of backup drive you’ll need. It’s always better to purchase the largest external hard drive available (usually 2 Terabytes) that can grow with your needs.
While you’re backing up your computer, also be sure to sync any tablets and smartphones to your machines regularly. Downloading photos from your phone to your computer is a way to safeguard content if your phone is lost, damaged, or stolen. Also be sure to backup content you may have shared on social networking services. Since smartphones are widely used as photo capturing tools that post images to social networks, it’s also important to backup photos and videos on your phone and ones posted sites like Facebook, Flickr, or Instagram.
A complete backup solution should provide a complete backup system to house files, photos, and videos all in one place. If you’d like to learn more about different backup options, read my piece on Parents.com called 4 Ways to Backup Your Computer.
Happy female photographer in studio with camera and laptop computer via Shutterstock
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.
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