Making Backups : Microexpress Blogs

Making Backups

by Oscar Vallenilla on 05/03/12

Making a backup of your computer should be something that you are already doing. Many people don't realize the importance of hard drive backups. Hard disk drives can and do fail (including brand-new drives).  Some viruses and spy-ware are so difficult (or impossible) to remove that restoring from a backup is the easiest (or only) way to get rid of it.

Backups should be done regularly.  You should ask yourself how important your files are to you.  Do you care if you loose the pictures you took on your last vacation?  Do you want to make sure you never loose the photos of your wedding?  Is that cost and analysis report that took you 30 hours to write important to keep?  What about the genealogy research you have been doing for the last 5 years?  Tax and business records?  Important emails and address book?  Almost everybody has something on their computer that they can't afford to loose.  Those things need to be backed up.  If you rarely create important documents or pictures, you can afford to run backups only after you add something important to your computer.  If you are running a business on your computer, you should be making your backups much more frequently and using reputable software to do it.

There are many different kinds of backups and backup services.  In many cases, there is backup software built into your operating system.  Typically this software makes a "File Backup" which backs up your important documents, pictures and email but does not back up your programs and operating system.  This type of backup is typically quick and can be done more often.  The drawback to this kind of backup is that it takes more time and is more labor intensive to restore the computer.

Another backup method is the "Image Backup".  This kind of backup makes a single backup file that represents every single byte on your hard drive.  This type of backup backs up everything - your operating system, all of your programs and settings as well as all of your data.  This type of backup will also back up any viruses or spy-ware on your system as well, so it's important to do this kind of backup before your computer gets infected.

An excellent strategy to backing up your computer is to use a combination of both backup methods.  After you have your computer configured how you want it, do an image backup.  Then on a regular basis, also do a file backup.

Once you've decided you need to make a backup, the next item you need is a place to store the backup. This can be on USB Memory-sticks (most reliable but not as much space as a hard drive), external hard drives, online backup services, DVD disks, and even CD's (CD's are not recommended due to their limited storage space).

If you need to bring your computer somewhere for servicing, you should have already made backups of your important files.  All repair shops have contracts that state they are not responsible for ANY of your data that gets lost while your computer is being worked on.  If you need to send your computer back to the manufacturer for repair, you should just assume that all of your important files and programs on your computer will be gone when you get your computer back.

Keep your data safe and make backups!