Why you should be backing up your data: 4 easy ways to keep your files safe
Backing up your data from time to time is always a good idea. Keeping a backup at all times can save you from the tragedy of losing your precious files if it happens. You may also be doing this before switching to a new computer, or before getting your computer repaired. Either way, there are many ways to backup your data that can help you feel at ease that your data is safely stored. It could be quite a beneficial thing to take a few moments to do.
Why should you back up your data?
Any important data should be backed up. We may never know what could happen to our computers at any time, and data could get lost or corrupted when the computer does fail. So you can thank yourself for backing up your data when that does happen. While most computer users do know that their hard drive will fail eventually, they may not know that they could lose their data as well. Along with hard drive and other computer-related failures, another reason to back up your data is simply, convenience and ease of access.
Hard drive failure
The inconvenient truth is, all hard drives will fail after roughly 2-4 years of use, no matter how you take care of it. While traditional hard disk drives with moving parts are more prone to damage, even the more durable solid-state drives can fall to bad sectors. The accumulation of too many bad sectors is one of the main causes of hard drive failure.
Bad sectors are physically damaged and unusable parts of the drive. They usually start out as very small parts, where the drive can still work great. In fact, a hard drive is always manufactured with a very small number of bad sectors, as it is impossible to make a perfect one. But once the drive comes across software issues, improper shutdown, and physical scratches on the disks platters, it will accumulate more and more bad sectors. It’s fine when they are isolated in a small area, but after a few years of use, they will get more spread out.
At this point of intolerance, data loss or corruption may occur, and even escalate to hard drive failure. You may notice slower performance, slower boot up times, or even errors like “SMART failure” and “no bootable device”.
Before it gets to total failure, keeping a regular backup of important files is a great precautionary measure. You won’t have to worry about losing your files or having to search frantically online for data recovery hacks. If you choose to get your laptop or desktop computer professionally repaired, you could also save money and time by not needing data recovery done.
Speaking of data recovery and time saving, having a backup could make things easier for both you and the technician who’s fixing your computer. And this isn’t just limited to hard drive repairs either.
When you have a backup of your files, you might be able to save money and get a shorter turnaround time on your repair services. You won’t need data recovery services and the technician can work better when not having to worry about data loss. Being prepared can go a long way, after all. Learn more about how you can reduce the costs of repairing your laptop or desktop computer here.
We can offer you some tips to pick the right method of backup for you. This depends on the types of files you’re looking to back up, or even together with your operating system (OS). Deciding on what kind of files you need to back up and the right method is important in making the process hassle-free.
Your data backup needs
What you’re backing up is one of the first things you should consider. You can backup only specific files or data by a simple drag and drop onto a hard drive, but backing-up all your files including your OS can also be something you may want to do. This brings us to the different methods that suit different data backup needs.
Backing up to an external hard drive
Using an external hard drive for backups is the traditional backup method. Simply drag and drop data to the drive to back it up. Alternatively, you can use Windows 10’s built-in “File History” to back up data, or Apple MacOS’ “TimeMachine” to backup your files.
You can either use File History or Time Machine, or just drag and drop your files onto an external hard drive. It’s a good idea to have a combination of both options in case one doesn’t work. All important data should stay on a computer, a server, or a mainframe computer, not on an external hard drive. This is because the hard drive inside computers is more well protected than an external hard drive. A common mistake that people do is only backing up their data only when their computer crashes. Backups are meant to be done before the system crashes rather than after it has crashed.
Up in the cloud
Using an online option to store your files offsite in the cloud is also a popular option to keep your backed-up files updated and ready to use at all times. As long as you have an internet connection, you’ll be able to access the cloud to backup and use your files.
Popular cloud services include Microsoft’s OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Apple’s iCloud. These often come with a set amount of free storage with subscription options for more storage space. Cloud storage can help you automatically create backups from time to time, so you can set it and forget it. Having an offsite backup can also give you a sense of security that your files are safe in case your onsite backup fails.
One thing to keep in mind though, you would need a secure and reliable internet connection, like NBN, to maintain regular backups. With that said, you may also want to use the cloud for only smaller files, like documents, and not larger ones like video files. If you are only creating backups for a smaller amount of data, cloud storage can be a cost-effective and low-effort option for you. Other than the popular options mentioned above, software for dedicated cloud services are also available.
Creating an image of your drive
Apart from simple backups on external hard drives and cloud services, there are some more advanced and in-depth types of data backups. This includes creating a disk image of your hard drive. Imaging a hard drive involves compressing everything on your hard drive and creating an archival image of it. The image can be used to restore your data and boot up a new hard drive. This would come in handy if your hard drive crashes or you’re switching to a new hard drive.
The difference between creating a disk image and creating a standard backup is whether the OS is included. On a disk image, your operating system is copied onto a disk image to boot up or restore a drive. You can image your drive on both Windows and Apple computers.
Network Attached Storage (NAS)
A method more suited for business use than personal use, NAS is a more large scale network backup system. It makes use of a group of drives connected to a network. This is like keeping an onsite cloud backup that is accessible by multiple users at the same time. Because of this, most businesses use this to back up multiple devices at the same time over the network.
Besides choosing the type of device for your NAS, you would also need a professional technician. Setting the NAS requires some system settings configuration that only professionals are familiar with. Business computer servers are much more complicated than personal computers or home servers. You might want need to call in an expert to make things easier for you.
Things to consider
Depending on your computer use, you can decide what kind of backup method that is best for you. You may want to only back up specific files or even your entire system, and the right backup can save you time and effort to do so. Depending on the sizes of the files, you might also want to do a combination of online and offline backups. Uploading large files over the internet can take a long time, so using an external hard drive might be better.
It may also be a good idea to keep multiple backups of different files, both onsite and offsite. These backups can guarantee that your backed up data is safely stored and accessible at all times. If things are too complicated for you, it’s best to seek professional advice to help you set things up.
What we do at Safemode Computer Service
Whether you need a hard drive repair or help with backups, we are happy to help! We can advise you with the different types of backups that you can choose from. Company network server configuration is also something we can do. Desperate and need help recovering lost data? No worries, our experienced technicians can have a crack at it. But be prepared though, data recovery repairs are not always successful.
Either way, our highly-rated services are available in Inner West Sydney, where we are located in Enmore. We are a quick stop from the surrounding suburbs of Marrickville and Newtown. Come on down to our Enmore store or make an appointment today!