Backing up your computer

Now more than ever before we're storing important, often irreplaceable files on our computers– precious family photos and videos, financial documents, resumes and digital portfolios, correspondence histories, extensive contact lists, and so on.

That's why you should make a habit of regularly backing up (i.e. duplicating your data and storing it safely), away from your computer. After all, if your important files are not on your computer, there's no way for a hacker to get your information.

Also, by backing up, your data is protected in any number of unforeseen circumstances: if you have a total system failure and all your files and documents are destroyed, if you accidentally erase files, if you experience theft, a flood or other destruction of your computer, or if you encounter a fatal virus that requires the complete reinstallation of your hard drive.

Follow these tips for secure data backup:

  • Organize your files and documents using folders and sub-folders instead of saving your files to random folders or leaving them scattered around your desktop.
  • Use external hard drives, USB keys and network drives; data CDs or DVDs which you create using a CD/DVD burner; or online server storage through service and utility providers. Some external drives come pre-installed with auto-backup software that automatically and regularly backs up everything for you. For extra peace of mind, consider backing up on two different storage devices.
  • Keep your data back up storage separate from your computer, perhaps even away from home – to minimize the chances of both being stolen or destroyed.
  • Back up all the folders, files and documents you want to protect. It's not necessary to back up application programs, utilities or your OS – for these you would use the original disks to reinstall.
  • Protect your data backups by enabling passwords or encryption security.
  • Check or restore some of your backed up data once in a while just to make sure that everything works.

No matter what else happens, by backing things up you'll know that all of your data, special photos, personal files and important documents will be intact and easily available.

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