– a tutorial on backups
I dont think you can ever realise how important it is to backup your files until the first time you lose them… I have had many people ask for me to recover data from a crashed computer because they have never backed up their computer. Products are being produced all the time that aim to make it easier and easier for the home user to backup their data. But today I am going to do a little tutorial for people who dont know how to back up data – not only so you can read it, but also so I can direct people who come and ask me to it so that I do not have to explain this over and over!
I hope you find this tutorial easy to follow…here we go!
1)The first step is to determine how much data (or files) you are needing to back up. Generally speaking if it is just documents (like Word or Excel) you will not need a lot of storage to back everything up. The more media files you have (photos, music and video) will mean you will need bigger storage to back up your data.
To find how much data you need to click any given folder (probably my documents because that is most likely where all your files are!) with the right mouse button and select properties, this will tell you how much data is in the file.
2)Below is a rough guide comparing how much data on the computer compared to the different mediums you can use to backup your files. (this is a simplified table – but contains the mediums most commonly used)
Amount of Data
Ideal Medium of Storage
Up to 700mb
Up to 4.7gb
DVD (Single Layer)
External Hard drive
This is only a guide. In my opinion the ideal solution is to buy an external hard drive, no matter how much data you have. Currently from ebuyer.com you can buy a 320gb external hard drive for about Â£65 ($130 USD) which will be plenty of space to back up files for a long time.
What I personally do in addition to using an external hard drive is back up my pictures and music to DVD – because I know I would have a horrible feeling (not to mention be upset) if I lost all of my pictures!
3) To back up to a CD or DVD is pretty much the same. It will differ depending on what software you use to burn the discs. Generally speaking you need to open the program you use to burn the discs (such as neroCD Burner XP (Free)or Roxio). then open a new session and copy all the data that you want into that session, then simply – select go (or burn) and the software will do the rest.
4) To use an external hard drive is also very simple. Some hard drives (such as Western Digital come with software that, when installed, walks you through a simple wizard that sets your options for how often you want to backup and which folders you want to back up.( you just need to remember what time your choose and make sure your hard drive and computer are connected and switched on at that point.
If your hard drive does not this software it is still simple. First open the folder showing the files you want to back up, then in another window browse to the hard drive (in windows go to >my computer and then it will be in there as something like E:\WD USB 2 , WD being the name of the company that make the hard drive) then using the right hand mouse button drag the folders and files you want backed up from the first window into the external hard drive window. When you release the mouse it will give you the option to move or copy the files – choose copy.
There is free software out there called syncback SE that I have written about before. This will also run a scheduled backup between any two folders on any two hard drives – so if the scheduled option would help you – I recommend having a look at this!
There you have it – your files safely backed up – no worries.