The Beginner’s Guide to Backing Up Your Computer

From your personal email to your business documents, there’s undoubtedly a lot of information that you need on your computer. If your computer has issues, you could lose this information forever. Backing up your computer will ensure that there are other copies of your files elsewhere, so that you can restore them if necessary.

What to Backup: Sorting Your Files and Folders

Before you begin backing up your computer, you need to determine which files you have to back up. Though you can back up your entire computer, it isn’t always necessary or even desirable — you can easily run out of space in storage. For most PC users, the bulk of your files will be in your “My Documents” folder or on your desktop. Documents, photos, and videos are all commonly backed up.

When to Backup: Scheduled Backups or Syncing

There are two ways that you can complete a backup: through scheduled backups or through syncing. Scheduled backups run at set intervals, such as once daily. At that time, they take a “snapshot” of all of your data. Often, they are staggered so that you have multiple copies: you might have one copy for every year, every month, and every day of the week.

In addition to scheduled backups, you can also perform syncing. Syncing takes a copy of a file every time it is modified, so there’s always a perfect and complete copy of your documents elsewhere. Syncing can consume processing power and bandwidth because it has to remain in constant connection with the server, but it’s generally preferred.

Where to Backup: Local Storage or the Cloud

Once the type of backup has been decided, the location for the backup needs to be chosen. Backups can either take place locally or on the cloud. Local backups are generally to external drives or to other media such as USB sticks. Local backups are highly secure because they aren’t transmitted or stored on the Internet, but they are also physically vulnerable: in the event of a fire or flood, they will be damaged just like the computer.

Cloud-based or Internet-based storage will store the files on a remote server or collection of servers. Though this does mean the documents will be accessible through the Internet, it also means they will be impervious to local issues.

How to Backup: Setting Up Your Backup System

Setting up a backup is going to vary depending on the type of backup that you have chosen.
For local, scheduled backups you can use the Windows backup solution or another similar utility. Simply type “Backup” into the Windows search bar and go through the Backup and Restore utility. It will walk you through the process of scheduling your backups.
For cloud-based, synced backups you can use a tool such as Dropbox. Dropbox will install on your computer and will let you select which documents you want to sync. The documents will then be automatically stored for you.
For local, synced backups you can use a utility such Synchronicity. It will let you select your files and sync it to an external drive.
For cloud-based, scheduled backups you can use a product such as AVG Online Backup. Many antivirus solutions will include this type of backup product.

As you can see, there are many ways to backup your system — some easier than others. If you’re confused, you can always talk to us about a suitable solutions or to help with data recovery from infected or damaged devices.