How and how often should I back up my computer? This is a great question, and one that has a few different answers. I wonder if we all stopped to think what would happen if our hard drives died, I wonder how many of us could honestly say that we had sufficient backup to be up and running again without any, or only minimal interruption to our businesses? How many of us would be in serious (or worse) trouble? I’d like to show you how just a few minutes a week, and a couple more a month, can keep you out of serious trouble and give you the security to know that if the worst was to happen, you’d be back up and running with minimal downtime.
To begin with, I’ll answer the second part of your question first. In a small business situation with an average data usage, you should do a quick back up of all your working files at the end of each week. If you have a high data usage, I’d recommend twice a week, say Wednesday and last thing Friday. This ensures you have the most current, up to date information (in most cases) should the unwanted happen, and your computer suffers a crash, virus or other memory corruption.
You will find it much easier if all of your documents are in one central location ie. My Documents to avoid trawling through your computer and missing valuable files. It will make it quicker too, and should only take a few minutes. Set it up to back up, and grab yourself a coffee. By the time you’re done, so will it be, and you can get back to work… if you want.
At the end of each month, you should do a more comprehensive back up, including your programs, systems settings and all of the files on your computer. You can use this backup if your computer ever ceases working. This backup will take a little longer to complete, probably around 10 to 15 minutes. Again, set it to run and make those phone calls that you’ve been meaning to make… or put your feet up and give yourself some time out.
Now to the first part of the question and how to back up your computer.
To begin with, you’ll need to decide which storage type you’re going to use for your data. Without access to a large network, you have three options:
- Hard Disks (internal or external);
- Other removable disks; and
- Writeable DVDs and CDs.
For those with Windows, backing up is easy, you simply follow the instructions in the Back Up Wizard. You can do this backup manually or set it up to complete automatically – it’s up to you.
- Open Backup and Restore Center by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Maintenance, and then clicking Backup and Restore Center.
- Click Back up files, and then follow the steps in the wizard. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
Other operating systems will have their own Back Up Wizard, or alternatively, it’s as simple as copying and pasting your files into the back up drive or sending them Send to the Writeable DVD’s or CD’s.
Finally, when storing your backed up data, it’s important to store the media used for the backup in a secure, fireproof location away from your computer. This will ensure your files are always safe and protected from the unforeseen.
It really is true that backing up your computer is vital for business. Take those few minutes each week and ensure that your data, and your business, is protected.
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