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Computer Backup – How Should Home Users Backup Their Data?

This is a question that MOST home computer users (Mac or PC) HAVE NOT asked themselves.

How do I backup my computer & What data do I need to backup?

In a business setting there are unlimited options that IT professionals have access to in order to backup up corporate data. Home users have many of those same options, but are completely unnecessary due to the amount of data that home users will be backing up.

When you backup a computer there are many different ways to do it and many files & folders that can be backed up. For this article we are only going to focus on the actually data files (word, excel, mp3’s, jpegs, etc.), and NOT everything else, such as the applications folder, the program files folder etc.

For a home user there is no need to backup everything on your entire hard drive. That will just take up too much time & get too expensive.

I suggest saving all of you data files to 1 spot, if you are a Microsoft Windows user, most software packages default saving your data to the My Documents folder. If you are a Mac user it defaults to only God knows where! Actually it usually defaults to the desktop).

Make a folder & name it something meaningful.

Call it something you will remember, like “Computer Backup” or “My Backup Files” or “Hey Stupid, Back Me Up!”

Next make sure you save all your important files to that folder. I repeat, put any data file in that folder that you work on and wish to save. You can default many of your files to save in that folder so you do not have to worry about clicking & dragging to the folder. If you are truly interested in getting FREE instructions on how to do that, visit one of my 2 sites listed in my bio and contact me through them. I will get back to you ASAP.

Once you have saved all your important files in that one folder, we have to decide how to physically move (copy) that folder off your existing computer hard drive. I have outlined 3 different ways this can be done, in no particular order of importance.

Your first option would be to purchase a USB Key (thumb drive etc, whatever you want to call it). These devices are an extremely cheap form of backup device. Purchase one at your local Best Buy, CompUSA, Radio Shack or online at Amazon. Bring it home, plug it in to your PC (or if you have a Mac, plug it in and pray the Mac recognizes it). The USB Key will be assigned a letter (ie E: ) in My Computer (Windows) or will show up as a mounted drive on the Mac. Open the USB Key up and copy and paste your “Computer Backup” folder to the drive. Once it is done copying, remove it from the computer and you have a safe data backup off of your existing computer hard drive.

Another computer backup idea would be to purchase an external hard drive (fire wire or USB cable) and plug that into your computer. You will need to treat the external hard drive just like the USB Key solution. The only difference is that there is more space available on the external hard drive than the USB Key. You can also purchase an internal hard drive and have it installed or if you are just purchasing a new computer, you can add one for a small amount of money. This will be treated just like your original hard drive, it will have a letter assigned to it (ie C or D) or it will be mounted to your desktop (Macs). The only problem is if your computer crashes you will need to contact an IT Professional or someone who can access that hard drive & reconstruct your OS.

The third idea for a computer backup solution would be to simply burn the data to a CD or DVD. This solution may take a little longer, depending on how much data you are backing up at once. It may also turn out to be the most expensive, of course depending on how many times you backup per month, week, etc.

There are many ways to perform a backup of your data on your home computer. I have outlined the 3 easiest & least expensive solutions for you to try.

You would be surprised how many people have actually never thought of backing up their data on their home computer. While working in the private business sector, supporting residential & commercial clients, I encountered 2 -3 customers per week who lost important files due to not having a proper computer backup plan in place.

Take action now! Save yourself heartache & frustration. Follow one of these three solutions TODAY! If you have more questions please visit one of my sites below or shoot me an email.

Good Luck.

About the Author: Bender Smith is 10 year vet of the Technology Profession. He is currently a Network Administrator & a staff writer for a Free Technology Article website called Bender Smith also writes & reviews technology products & services on his personal blog, The Complete Geek.

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