The best ways to back up your computer
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Everyone loses data at some point in their lives. Your computer’s hard drive could fail tomorrow, or a software bug could delete your important files. In this article, we shall state different ways to back up your computer to reduce the risk of potentially losing your files forever.

Backups don’t have to be hard or confusing, though. You’ve probably heard about countless different backup methods, but which one is right for you? And what files do you really need to back up?

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Well, first and foremost, you need to back up your personal files. You can always reinstall your operating system and redownload your programs if your hard drive fails, but your own personal data is irreplaceable.

Any personal documents, photos, home videos, and any other data on your computer should be backed up regularly. Those can never be replaced.

Here is a list of ways to back up your computer

Back-Up to an External Drive

If you have an external USB hard drive, you can just back up to that drive using your computer’s built-in backup features. On Windows 10 and 8, use File History. On Windows 7, use Windows Backup. On Macs, use Time Machine. Occasionally connect the drive to the computer and use the backup tool, or leave it plugged in whenever your home and it’ll back up automatically. 

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Back Up Over the Internet

If you want to ensure your files stay safe, you can back them up to the internet with a service like Backblaze. Backblaze is the well-known online backup service we like and recommend since CrashPlan no longer serves home users (although you could pay for a CrashPlan small business account instead.) There are also competitors like Carbonite—we also used to mention MozyHome, but it’s now a part of Carbonite. For a low monthly fee (about $5 a month), these programs run in the background on your PC or Mac, automatically backing up your files to the service’s web storage. If you ever lose those files and need them again, you can restore them. 

A great advantage is an online backup protects you against any type of data loss–hard drive failure, theft, natural disasters, and everything in between. However, these services usually cost money, and the initial backup can take much longer than it would on an external drive–especially if you have a lot of files.

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Use a Cloud Storage Service

Backup purists will say this isn’t technically a backup method, but for most people, it serves a similar enough purpose. Rather than just storing your files on your computer’s hard drive, you can store them on a service like DropboxGoogle Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or a similar cloud storage service. They’ll then automatically sync to your online account and to your other PCs. If your hard drive dies, you’ll still have copies of the files stored online and on your other computers. 

This method is easy, fast, and in many cases, free, and since it’s online, it protects you against all types of data loss. However one of the downsides is most cloud services only offer a few gigabytes of space for free, so this only works if you have a small number of files you want to back up, or if you’re willing to pay for extra storage. Depending on the files you want to back up, this method can either be simpler or more complicated than a straight-up backup program.

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While backup programs like Backblaze and cloud storage services like Dropbox are both online backups, they work in fundamentally different ways. Dropbox is designed to sync your files between PCs, while Backblaze and similar services are designed to backup large amounts of files. Depending on how much data you have, one could be cheaper than the other.

Another point you should note is Backblaze and Carbonite do have one big limitation. If you delete a file on your computer, it will be deleted from your online backups after 30 days. You can’t go back and recover a deleted file or the previous version of a file after this 30 day period. So be careful when deleting those files if you might want them back.

Use Multiple Methods

It might be hard to choose from the many ways to back up your computer. Ideally, you could use all methods to back up our computer, sticking to one method can be quite risky. You’d use at least two of them because you want both offsite and onsite backups.

Onsite means backups stored at the same physical location as you. So, if you back up to an external hard drive and store that at home with your home PC, that’s an onsite backup while offsite backups are stored at a different location. So, if you back up to an online server, like Backblaze or Dropbox, that’s an offsite backup.

Onsite backups are faster and easier, and should be your first line of defense against data loss. If you lose files, you can quickly restore them from an external drive. But you shouldn’t rely on onsite backups alone. If your home burns down or all the hardware in it is stolen by thieves, you’d lose all your files.

Offsite backups don’t have to be a server on the Internet, either, and you don’t have to pay a monthly subscription for one. You could back up your files to a hard drive and store it at your office, at a friend’s house, or in a bank vault, for example. It’d be a bit more inconvenient, but that’s technically an offsite backup.

Similarly, you could also store your files in Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive and performing regular backups to an external drive. Or you could use Backblaze to back up online and Windows File History to create a local backup.

Source: How to geek

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