Be safe and back up your data

Philip Brooks urges you to back up data in his latest blog
Philip Brooks urges you to back up data in his latest blog

Our home computers contain some of our most precious data – from photos to financial records, to school and college work.

But all it takes is a fire, theft, a virus, a drink spillage or an inexplicable hard drive failure for all this data to disappear for good. Most of us know that we should back up, but we put off doing it for various reasons. So the aim of this week’s blog is to hopefully convince you to back up at least part of your computer: the data that matters most to you, the data that cannot be replaced.

For a quick, simple and cheap solution to back up part of your computer, we advise:

Cloud service. A real benefit of cloud storage is that it creates a copy of your files in a physically separate location. You can access the files from practically any computer with an internet connection and you can also keep files in sync across multiple devices. Start by signing up with a simple file-syncing service – Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive are our favourites.

Most services provide you with between 2.5GB to 10GB of free space, which is probably all you’ll need if you’re only backing up some files. However, bear in mind most cloud storage services sync files in a certain folder on your computer. This means if you delete a file in that folder, it will disappear from your online storage too.

USB flash drives. This is a simple way of backing up selected files. Just pop one into your PC – there are slots on the side of your laptop or on desktops these slots can be found at the front or the back of the machine. You then use Windows Explorer to copy files from your computer to the removable drive. Tip: A simple way of doing this is to “drag and drop” the files using your mouse. Then remove your USB flash drive and keep it somewhere safe, as far away from your PC as you can!

Just remember that these two methods back up certain files, but they’re not sufficient to get your PC or laptop back up and running if your hard drive fails or your computer is damaged or stolen. Making a back-up of all the files on your computer is a little more complicated and does take more time. In our next few blogs, we will focus on this process using “File History” and “Back Up and Restore” which are easy to use back-up utilities built directly into Windows 10.