"My computer stopped working."
"My kids spilled a Coke on the computer."
I've heard all of these and the first question I ask in each situation is, "Are your files backed up?" Nobody wants to pay hundreds of dollars to fix or replace a computer, but what price do you put on all of your pictures from the last five years or that Master's thesis or BIG presentation you've been working on for weeks?
March 31st is World Backup Day. Yes, "World Backup Day" is a "real day" just like "Grandparents Day" is a "real day". Both may have been made up by companies that would profit from their creation, but they have become "real days" nonetheless
I have already written a couple articles about the importance of having a backup system for your computer, but in honor of World Backup Day, and because the topic is so important, here are some suggestions and links to help you avoid being an April Fool:
- Why backup? Here is a one minute and thirty second video from the World Backup Day website that very succinctly explains why a backup system is a must-have.
- Where do I start? Start your backup system with an external hard drive (links to follow). Your external hard drive needs to be larger than the hard drive in your computer.
- What do I do once I have an external hard drive? Most external hard drives come with software to help make an original backup of your files (documents, pictures, music, videos, etc). Windows 8 and 10 come with File History and Macs come with Time Machine, both of which are free programs included in the operating system itself. (Here are some other options for your backup system in Windows 10)
- Is that all I need? No. A local backup is a great start, but what if there is a natural disaster, home fire, etc that takes out your computer AND the backup drive sitting next to it? The second level of backup you NEED is an online backup. While online storage/sync options like Box, Dropbox and OneDrive offer a level of online protection and are great sync tools (read here why I recommend OneDrive), a dedicated online backup solution is a stronger option. For dedicated online backups, I recommend Carbonite or iDrive. I have used Carbonite for years, and I like the new Carbonite Plus feature where Carbonite will take care of your local backup (external hard drive) allowing you to copy not only the data, but also the programs on your hard drive, as well as the online backup. iDrive has had this feature for a while and they frequently run specials. I am thinking seriously about giving iDrive a try when my Carbonite subscription expires.
- What do I look for in an external hard drive? As stated earlier, get a hard drive that is larger than the hard drive on your computer. I would stick with name brands (Western Digital, SanDisk, Segate, Buffalo to name a few). Use Google to check for product reviews and use Amazon to customer reviews of the particular hard drive you are pricing. When looking for a deal, Google "compare prices <specific external hard drive>" and be sure to check EBay (buy from US seller, check seller ratings and be sure to compare prices so you know what is a good deal).
- Misc. Links:
- Segate is giving away 3 external hard drives in honor of World Backup Day. Get our name in the drawing here.
- Three Ways to Backup Your Data
- Current sales on external hard drives at New Egg (look for the exact same hard drives on EBay to compare prices)
- Amazon Sales (look for exact same hard drives on EBay to compare prices)
- Locally, check the Fry's ad in the Friday Star Telegram. (If you find a drive you want, take the ad with you to the store, find an associate, point to what you want and ask, "Where would I find this item?")
Feel free to leave your thoughts, questions or "great deal" finds for external hard drives in the comment section below.