How do you backup your computer? Windows and Mac drive backup

One of the most common mistakes you might’ve experienced is losing the contents of your PC due to unforeseen circumstances and being unable to recover any of it because you didn’t back it up. If your hard drive fails or you have a malware attack, you can rest assured that everything will be just fine if you took the necessary precautions to back up your PC.

Not sure what to back up? You can start with personal files like your home videos, photos, music library, and important documents that would be difficult to recover. Personal files should be backed up often. You can also back up your operating system, programs, and other settings that you deem necessary. Backing up your computer frequently and making it a priority will save you money and time in the event of an emergency.

There are several ways to back up your system including online and local backup. It’s recommended that you have at least three copies of all your important files — the original, the backup, and the backup’s backup. A combination of online and local backups will protect you from 99 percent of potential data loss.

Screen shot of  Windows 10 File History

A local or onsite backup is one kept physically at your location such as backing up to an external hard drive which is faster, easier, and much more secure. Windows provides a simple solution to back up your data called Windows Backup. It’s known as Restore in Windows 7 and File History in Windows 10 . First, make sure that your external hard drive is the same capacity or larger than the internal drive you are going to back up. Next, type the word “backup” in your search bar and choose Backup settings. At the top of the screen, you’ll see Backup using File History and you can use the plus button to tell your PC which drives to back everything up to. You can then schedule the backup to take place as often as you’d like.

Screen shot of MacOS Time Machine

For Mac users, you can go to System Preferences, Time Machine , and choose your backup disk. You can then set it to run hourly updates and make copies of any changes to your chosen hard drive. This is a simple process, but it only stores backups until your hard drive runs out of space. Anything after that will overwrite the oldest data which might be an issue if you need to access data further back in the timeline.

An offsite backup is anytime your files are stored somewhere other than your current system location. Technically, this could be a hard drive you keep at a friend’s house, but it usually means backing up your system online. Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, and OneDrive are convenient, low-cost options that have sync options to automatically sync your most important files. Depending on how much data you plan on backing up, you may need to purchase a data plan. You can use your chosen storage platform’s software to set your preferences. Your data will be backed up according to your preferences whenever you’re connected to the internet.

A more comprehensive and secure way to back up your entire system is to use a disk image or ghost image. You will need specific software to do this. There are free options like Macrium Reflect and EaseUS for hard drives 1TB or less along with paid options like Acronis True Image. Find the right backup and recovery software for you and do your research like reading reviews and watching videos to see if it accommodates your needs. Mac users can use the Disk Utility app to make a disk image.

The bottom line is backing up your computer is an easy and simple process that will save you a lot of money and time just in case something happens to your computer. Making it a priority and taking the time to back up your memory and storage frequently are great protective and preventive measures from having your data lost or stolen. Overall, it’s a great habit to get into especially if you work with a lot of sensitive personal or business-related information.

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