Do you backup your computer? Is that what you’re really doing? Most likely, you’re only backing up your data. A complete system recovery requires keeping track of a lot of non-file data, too. This includes the boot sector, partition layout, and file and system metadata. And you want to know a secret? It’s not really needed.
There are several methods for backing up your data:
- RAID. RAID stands for “redundant array of inexpensive disks”. Many computers can be configured to use a second hard drive that will mirror the primary hard drive. Whatever happens to one drive, happens to the other. You always have an instantaneous copy of all of your files. The disadvantage of this is that your backup is kept with your computer system. This is a serious issue in the case of theft, fire, flood, or other disaster.
- External hard drive. This is a simple solution that allows you to keep your backup files separate from your computer. This is a simple and inexpensive solution worth considering. It’s possible to use USB sticks to the same end. However, a hard has the potential to store much more data than a single USB stick.
- Cloud backup. It’s also possible to back up your computer to a server in a remote location. You’ll always have access to your data, no matter where you are in the world. However, there’s always the risk of someone hacking into your data. There’s also a monthly cost associated with using this type of service. Also, uploading all of your files to the cloud can take a lot of time and destroy your internet and computer performance.
These are the basic options available to the average computer user. Backing up to an external hard drive is the best option for most computer users. It’s a reliable, inexpensive, and portable way to backup your data.
How often do you need to backup your data? That’s up to you, but once a month is sufficient for most situations. Think about how often you’re adding, or altering files on your computer. Pick a backup schedule that makes sense for your situation.