Probably the scariest phrase you’ll ever hear is, “Do you have a backup?”. We’ve all had it before, your laptop / desktop was fine one day and the next day, you are unable to start it up / access your valuable info. Granted, most of the time it’s due to your machine taking a coffee (or other beverage) break, gone swimming, been infected with a virus or ransomware (or even grown legs). If it is due to “natural” hard drive failure, there normally is a few warning signs before it finally gives in.
Easily accessible and ease of restoring backups are paramount to minimizing downtime and frustration when hard drive failures / other catastrophes occur. Backing up your system (Especially the Windows Operating System) has become a lot more reliable and sophisticated than it once was. I remember using products like Norton Ghost to create an image of the system and praying (quite literally) that it worked when needing to restore the backup.
We’ve tried to demystify the whole process below:
- What to Backup?
This may seem quite obvious. Backup everything that you need, duh? but backups require space (either on a physical drive or in the cloud) and this space costs money. In certain countries, where internet access is slow and/or expensive, uploading everything to the cloud isn’t an obvious solution. A suggestion would be to categorise data into 3 categories:
(Operating Systems like Windows, Irreplaceable data like home videos and photos of you at Kruger National Park with a Lion, would fall under this category). If anything can be backed up, this is it. Windows 10 offers a backup solution here:
This is data that it would be a pain to lose, but can be rebuilt. Things like gaming profiles, old bank statements that can be resent, or previously backed up data would qualify here.
3. Not Critical
This is data that you do not mind losing. Old software installations / settings or personal documents that are no longer required fall under this category
- How to backup / where to store?
As mentioned above, storage media is a valid concern. Data is getting larger and larger (think about how old cell phone photos were grainy and low quality – these took up a fraction of what the higher resolution images that modern cellphones take). Longevity of storage media is also something to consider seriousl
Backing up to writable media (CD’s, DVD’s Blu-Ray)
This used to be a popular option – writing everything to a CD or DVD (and later Blu-Ray) seemed logical – a storage media that was more reliable than stiffy disks, and could hold a whole lot more data. The fact that there are Rewritable varieties also adds an attraction to this method. The drawback would, of course be cost; Writers and media can be quite pricy and writers do have a limited lifespan.
Backing up to removable media (Removable Hard drives)
A portable hard drive is a good option. They provide more space than writable media, are more mobile (think about carrying a whole case of DVD’s vs carrying one compact drive) and can be a lot quicker.The drawback, is they are more prone to failure and certain makes still require a power connection (which can be a pain). Cost, is also a factor, but generally a 1TB drive is in the same price region as a BluRay writer.
Backing up to the cloud
Cloud storage is also a very popular option, whereby data is uploaded to a cloud server and stored there for future use / restoration.
Data costs and speed are a consideration (especially in countries where data is expensive or data speeds are horrendous).
Other considerations are safety or security of data (remember the iCloud hack of a few years ago?)
Regardless of what medium data is backed up to, it's needs to be reliable, cost-effective and convenient. Contact us today for assistance in getting your backups setup or for any other hardware or software related advice. If you don't have any backups, get in touch with us to try and assist in recovering your precious data
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