Now, backups can be a complicated and mundane task, having to remember to put DVD’sCD’s in the drive and running scheduled backup tasks can be a bore. However, don’t doubt just how important these can be. I have lost count the amount of times I have been saved by a backup of some description.
Unsurprisingly enough they don’t actually have to be such a task, and there are ways and means around making it almost completely automated. Ensuring you sleep well at night, knowing your data is safe from hardware failure or accidental loss.
I am in the process of converting my friends and family (who seem to believe their laptopPC hard drives are indestructible) from their current ‘no backup’ method to a complete solution. So I decided it was about time I put something together, that even the least tech savvy person can understand.
First of all, it’s always good to have your data stored on a second removable media device, something like an external hard drive or USB pen is good for this. You can pick up Terabyte hard drives
now from almost anywhere for as little as £60. To put this into context I am a heavy user of computers and have thousands of music and picture files. I am barely even filling half of my hard drive with backups! So a terabyte will more then suffice the average household.
Network attached storage devices
are a good option, but can be costly. You can generally only get wired solutions for £150. However using an external hard drive along with an Iomega iConnect
can provide you with a wireless Nas solution for less then £130.
Once you have sourced your hard drive, and hooked it up to your PC you will need some backup software. Products such as Norton Ghost
not only backup your data, but can also take complete images of your PC in its current state. Which makes reinstalling a breeze! Obviously if you’re lucky enough to use a Mac, then the built in ‘Time Machine
‘ will detect the external hard drive or Nas unit and backup to it.
However, using this method is not fool proof, and will require manual connection of the drive and the loss of your computer whilst it does it’s thing. No matter how fast your PC is, your backup will be governed by the volume of data you have and the speed of data transfer.
Your second option, perhaps the most obvious one is to use a backup application such as Norton Ghost
to burn data to DVD’s or CD’s. Again, this can be a slow and painful process.
Which is where my third and personal favourite solution comes in. Cloud
based backups… Which essentially are web based backups of your files and media!
Using applications such as Microsoft’s Live Mesh
you can create synchronised folders, so as soon as you make a change or save a document it’s automatically and seamlessly backed up to the web. Without you doing a thing, and without even disturbing you. I am a big fan of mesh – if not just because it’s so easy to use but for the fact you can use it to ‘sync’ files between several computers. So not only is it a backup solution, but it could be used for teamwork on files etc.
Once you data has synced to your mesh desktop, you are then also able to access it from anywhere.
I currently have several mesh accounts for the devices around my home. Even my parents use Mesh to backup their computers. It’s so simple, there’s no excuse not to use it!
So what are you waiting for? Get backing up!