I have spent years trying to convince people about the importance of backups and unfortunately, this has fallen on deaf ears for some people. This small guide will help you understand how to backup your data and how much (if anything) you need to spend on it.
The first and most important question to ask is this: How much data can I afford to lose? A day, a week, a month, maybe even a year!? This will enable you to make a very important decision on how often you need to run backups.
What programs are available?
There are quite a few backup providers but for personal use, I would recommend EaseUS Todo Backup. There are both free and premium options available so no matter the budget, you can have this fantastic software looking after your system. The setup is user-friendly and the interface is very intuitive so even the most basic user will be able to set this up. The important part is to ensure that you set up the scheduler to run automatically based on your answer to the first question that you answered above. You can find the software HERE
But I always backup, So I’m safe……Right?
I think it’s probably safe to say that the majority of people reading this have a USB drive sitting on the top of their PC or sitting on their desk that they plug in whenever doing a backup so they don’t need to worry right? Perhaps……..
Backing up loaclly is fine and is really just the first step in backing up your data. You have to assume that an incident like a fire could break out and having a copy locally wont be much benefit to you if it’s kept in the same place as your laptop / PC. Cloud storage is super cheap these days so there is very little reason to NOT use it to store the information that is important to you either personally or for your business to function. Online providers like Dropbox, iCloud and Microsoft OneDrive are around €100 per year for a massive 1TB of storage space. These programs have desktop clients available to make it really easy to sync your files up (and down if you like).
Types of backup:
There are 3 types of backup that you will come across. This is primarily as follows:
- Full – This is typically taken the first time you run your backup software. Be prepared that this can take some time and depending on the amount of data you are backing up and the speed of your backup drive it could take a day or more.
- Incremental – This is what I advise you to use. This method backups (as the name suggests) in increments. Only the data that has changed between the time its run and the last incremental backup. This results in much smaller files and less time to run. If you run a full backup on Sunday and an incremental on Monday, the data change will be just one day. If you run it again on Tuesday, the data backed up will be the difference from Monday to Tuesday
- Differential – Differential backs up all of the data since your last full backup so unlike incremental backups, it ignores what it has already backed up. Eg. If you run a Full backup on Sunday and a differential backup on Monday, thedata chnage will be just one day (As with incremetnal) but if you run it again on Tuesday, it will still back up everything since Sunday so it’s not as effeciant as Incremental.
What Files or Folders should I backup?
If you are using windows, this is pretty easy. The most important folders for you will likely be located in “C:\Users\YOUR_USERNAME\”. This contains the files on your desktop, your documents folder, your pictures and your videos as well as some other folders that you may or may not need to backup depending on your preferences. The one thing I always do is remove the “Downloads” directory. This can be down to how organised you are but when I download anything important, I move it to a folder that is relavent(or create one) rather than leaving it there. That way you know you can periodically remove the files which are often large setup files and not needed more than once.
Once you have your cloud client installed (Dropbox, iCloud, OneDrive etc) and you have signed in you can tell the program to sync these folders to your online account. This will ensure that you have a recent copy available from anywhere in the world!
If you would like a little more detail, just drop me a message and I’ll write it up. Thanks for dropping by!!
N.B. I have no affiliation with any of the companies products mentioned.