Hello friends, today I'd like to talk about a very serious subject -- backing up your computer. If you are reading this, and are not backing up, then you are in the right place. And if you are backing up-- a big thumbs-up to you good Sir or Ma'am.
Most people don't ever think about backing up their computer, until it is too late. Don't be one of those! Think about all the things on your computer right now- photos, docs, things you may never ever be able to get back. All it takes is one dropped laptop, one virus, or (God forbid) one stolen computer. You need to make sure, right now, that your data is safe. You can always replace that computer, but the things on it are really what is valuable.
I always recommend three different, basic types of backups. Some are automatic, some are manual. The best thing is to use a combination of at least two of these.
1. Backup to CD or DVD. This is an inexpensive way to backup your data. Burning a CD or DVD allows you to make "offline" copies of your data, that can be stored at your home, in a safe deposit box, or at a relative or friend's home. I always recommend this method for the most important data, such as your photos. The best thing is to make two copies of your backups -- that way, if a disc gets scratched or damaged, you have an additional shot at recovery. If you don't have CD/DVD burning software on your computer, I highly recommend the free ImgBurn.
2. Backup to external drive. External hard drive prices have really come down- you can get a good Western Digital MyPassport for less than $100. Using an external drive has the advantage of setting up a good backup program for your computer. If you are on a Mac, Time Machine is second to none. On the PC side, the Windows 7 built-in backup does an excellent job. Both of these are free, and very easy to use. Alternatively, you could just manually copy any files you want to keep backed up to the drive.
3. Cloud backup. This is a new one that many of you may not have heard of or have experience with. Basically, you pay a service provider to allow you to back up to their servers- in the "cloud." Right now I am using CrashPlan to back up all of my home computers. Their fees are extremely reasonable, and I enjoy knowing that all of my data is safe and accessible from anywhere- even from my iPhone with their free app.
Other ways of backing up files exist. If you only have a small amount of data, you could get a USB flash drive to copy files to. Also, if you have a Google account, you can use Google Drive to store your files in.
Regardless of what method or methods you select, make sure you are backing up your data. Trust me, the day will come when you need it, and when that day does come, you will be thankful you planned ahead!
If you have any questions please post in the comments below and I'll do my best to answer :-)