One day, your hard drive WILL fail!!

In the world of mainframes and microchips it’s called data backup or data recovery and it can mean the difference between a slight computer setback and living through your own electronic apocalypse.

Let’s face it; our computers are a bigger part of life than ever before. We shop, work and play using computers. They’ve replaced stereos, encyclopedias, even the mailman. They’ve become journals, photo albums and canvases for our art.
But computers aren’t perfect. Files become corrupt, motherboards malfunction, CPUs call it quits taking our precious data with them.

Common Excuses for NOT Backing Up Your Data

We are busy; work, family and friends fill our days and leave us little time for boring things like computer maintenance. But today’s backup software manufactures make it easy. Through scheduled backups, your system can automatically perform a backup that fits your needs at an interval you choose – without interrupting life.


Like preparing for a natural disaster, most of us understand how important data backup is, but don’t know where to start. A big step is deciding how you are going to store the data you backup. One option is Removable Backup Media, but this only narrows the field a little, You could buy a million 3.5″ discs or perhaps invest in a larger-capacity external Zip drive. You could take the plunge into writable CD’s or stretch out your legs with the help of an external hard drive. Another good data backup option is to backup to an FTP location, which allows you to backup a file, a folder or your entire hard drive to a separate location online.

You’ve had your computer this long and haven’t had problems so far, why worry about computer backup now? Data backup is about protection of your data when you crash. In today’s high-tech world of sneaky spyware and venomous viruses, your are in more danger of data loss than ever before. computer viruses grew by as much as 11% percent during 2003 alone. Like tires on your car, the electronic circuits your computer rides on will eventually wear down and blow out. When this happens, you can either grieve at your loss or simply restore your data with data backup software.

Don’t let these excuses prevent you from backing up your data. Consider the inconvenience of having to recreate all of the information stored on your computer – how much of it is important to your academic or professional career – and how much of it might actually be irreplaceable.

So now you know you should back up. All that’s left is to actually do it. Luckily, we have options just for you.

  • Back up to the internet. Online storage is a growing field, allowing users to back up their data to remote servers. Incorporating online backups into your backup routine can help make sure your backups are redundant, and will allow you to access your backed up files from anywhere you have an internet connection. There are a variety of services, both free and paid, that offer a wide range of features. Any online backup service worth their salt should encrypt all files that are transmitted to and from their servers. They may have access to metadata, such as folder names and file sizes, but the actual content of your data should be unreadable to anyone but you. Nearly all online backup solutions come with software or a browser interface that allows you to set what is being backed up and how often. Set a schedule that works for you.
  • Back up to an external hard drive. An external hard drive is a hard disk drive just like the one inside your computer, where you can store any kind of file. Many are often small and portable, making them easy to stow away in a desk drawer or carry with you. Others are much larger and are designed to sit on your desk. Using a USB cable or other method of connection, plug the storage device into the computer you wish to back up. Inserting the device should automatically bring up a dialog box asking what you’d like to do with it. One of the options should be to use the device as a backup and open File History. Choose this option. Once the program has opened, you may wish to alter some of the settings in the Advanced Settings section, accessed on the left. This will allow you to change how often the computer makes a backup, how long files are kept, and how much space is allowed to be taken up. With the settings configured, make sure that the correct backup drive is selected (the external drive should be chosen by default). With all of the settings entered correctly, click “Turn on”. This should start the process. Once you’ve done the first backup you can also set a schedule that works for you…just make sure your external is connected 🙂

Windows 7, 8, and 10 have a built-in backup utility: Windows Backup and Restore – you’ll find it if you type ‘backup’ into the Start menu search box.

Get in the habit of backing up files on a regular basis, every week or month or whenever you get new important documents and pictures. Also, beware that physical storage solutions, like external hard drives and flash drives I outline below can break down over time. You’ll need to replace them after several years or so to ensure they don’t fail, destroying your files in the process. The best way to ensure that you do not lose important documents and photos is to not rely solely on one backup method. Make sure to store copies of files and photos on your computer and in two or more of the methods listed below. You can even keep copies on a secondary computer, if available. The more backups you have, the better!


Originally Alameda Typewriter, ABM COMPUTERS has served the entire San Francisco Bay Area with professional, first-rate IT support and computer sales from the same location since 1939. Building on decades of experience, along with a dedicated team, we continue to provide in-shop and on-site standout, services and comprehensive, affordable solutions for all your computing needs.

Posted on February 17, 2016, in Computer Advice. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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