Backing Up

folder_icon_01When was your last backup? For most computer users the answer is probably “never” or “doesn’t it do it automatically?”

Desktop PCs usually come with a Cloud facility such as Dropbox or Apple’s iCloud that can be used to backup documents and photos. These facilities are usually free to start then charge once you reach a limit, for example Dropbox allocated 2Gb to start and this can be expanded.

How much is 2Gb? That’s two hours of video or 500ish high-definition photos.

There’s also the issue of transferring the data to the cloud provider, uploading files onto a website takes much longer than downloading.

What’s the alternative, particularly if you have alot of data or confidential information you don’t want to risk in someone else’s hands? One option is to backup locally, as done for decades before. Here it depends of the size of the backup media. Microsoft provide a backup program with Windows, although you might need to use the search facility to find it.

What can you back up onto? A USB stick/thumbdrive may be ideal, but their size varies and they do have a finite lifetime. A CD can hold 700Mb, a DVD 4.6Gb. Both will last indefinitely if stored correctly (cool, dry and in a scratch-free case).

What if you have more than 4.6Gb, lots more? Splitting data between discs is time consuming and beyond some backup programs. Where possible, keep everything together! Having just done a backup of all my documents & photos I needed 29Gb of space. For this it really means using a hard-drive. If you have more than one physical drive in the computer then this can be used but remember C: and D: drives (Windows) are usually on the same physical drive, if that drive fails you lose C and D!

You can buy relatively cheap external hard drives with capacities from 100Gb to 3Tb that allow you to backup everything in one place. Keep this drive in a cool/dry/safe environment and keep the backup up to date.

Doing a backup once only does not allow for newer documents/photos. Work out a schedule, be it weekly or monthly, and keep to it. For businesses, weekly is the minimum advisable, daily is better.

For mobile phones and tablets, Android (Google), Windows Phones (Microsoft) and iPhones/iPads (Apple) devices all have a backup facility for photos and much more. Check whether it’s enabled, and whether it automatically shares photos with your friends/non-friends? Open the app on the device or visit the relevant website on a PC:

If you’d like specific advice for your devices, whether a home-user or a business, please contact me.

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