How much important information do you have on your computer? How many photos of the kids, holiday videos, songs you recorded with that band you were in (you’re never going to play those to anyone, we know, but stick with us) and countless hours of work you’ve saved to your home PC? We’d wager the answer to at least some of these is ‘a lot’, and these are things you should really be looking after and safeguarding from technical disasters.
Backing up your files and storing them off your computer is a smart move. If your files are all stored locally and your hard drive corrupts, or is destroyed in an accident or runs into any other kind of trouble, you risk losing your files. Storing them elsewhere means that even if the worst happens, all your work, music and treasured memories are safe.
Here’s our favourite ways of backing up files.
External hard drives
An external hard drive is exactly what it sounds like – the same as the hard drive inside your computer, just outside it instead. They come in a range of storage sizes – though realistically you should never need more than 1tb – and a range of prices. Shop around, find the best price, read some reviews. You’re not just buying a piece of kit, you’re buying a safe place to keep your memories.
Once you have your hard drive, operating it is fairly straightforward. Plug it into your computer’s USB port and wait for a window to appear. In this window, you can drag all of the files you want to keep safe onto your hard drive. Set up folders on the drive to make sure it’s all organized and easy to navigate next time you need to. Your files will still be available on your computer, but copies of them will be kept safe in duplicate.
Once you’ve copied everything across, safely remove your drive and store it somewhere safe. You have now safely stored your important files.
Don’t want to spend your cash on an external hard drive? Worried that, if you bought one, you may lose it? Well there is another option; cloud storage.
Cloud storage essentially means you’re storing your files on completely secure servers on the internet. You select the file you want to save, transfer it to your online storage service and hey presto, your files are safe in duplicate.
The as yet undisputed king of cloud storage is Dropbox, who offer a range of storage plans to suit any pocket (including some storage for free), however there are other options (Amazon Cloud, AVG LiveKive, Google Drive) that work just as well.
If you have concerns about storing your files online, you really don’t need to worry. These services are designed for purpose, and security is paramount. You really can trust them with your important or treasured files.
Backing up your files, be it online or on a physical drive, is great for piece of mind, and doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Be safe, back up!