Everything you own breaks. Your washing machine, your lawnmower, your car, your television, your coffee machine. Everything gets old and dies. Computers are not exempt. One day you will turn it on and it will refuse to boot. Or there will be some distressing noises and your lifetime’s photos will have disappeared.
I am frequently contacted by people to whom this has happened, and they all say two things: “It worked yesterday!” and “No, I haven’t made any backups.”
Let me tell you an immutable law:
"any file you only have one copy of, you will lose. At some time that drive it resides on will break and you won’t get it back."
So it is simple: make at least three copies of all your irreplaceable files:
one on your computer, the primary copy
one on a hard drive or memory stick that you keep at home
one that is ‘off site’, i.e. not where it could be stolen or lost in a fire at the same time as your computer.
That off-site copy might be at a friend’s or a ‘cloud’ copy like Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive – which have the advantage of running all the time. Either way, you have one copy to hand for convenience and a ‘backup backup’ in case of disaster.
But how? Firstly, you need something to copy onto. The cheapest option is an external drive, also called a USB drive. A better option is a Network Attached Storage device (NAS) which you link to your network and is always available, and is a good option if you have more than one computer in the house.
Secondly, don’t rely on manual copies as you won’t remember or things will go wrong. Get a proper backup program that makes the backups to a schedule and reminds you if it needs that USB drive to be plugged in. EaseUS Todo Backup Free is simple and reliable, but there are many offerings out there. Such a program will also make ‘system backups’, which are essential, different from file backups and will let you recover your machine if it won’t even boot up.
Thirdly, I recommend professional advice to get you started the right way and give you peace of mind.
More information can be found on my website at www.goggleboxtech.uk/blog
Andrew - GoogleboxTech