Your data is the most important thing on your computer. Be it family photos, important tax documents, pieces of art, your band’s music, sensitive research papers, or anything else, losing it is simply not an option. Unfortunately, computers fail, and often. Having a backup plan set before anything goes wrong is one of the most important tasks you will undertake as a responsible computer user. Thankfully, backing up your data has never been easier. Follow his guide to learn how.
- Manually Backing Up Files. The quickest way to back up files is to plug an external hard drive or usb drive into your computer and copy the files to it.
You can also use CDs or DVDs, but these are more unwieldy to store and are more prone to loss and failure than an external drive. You will also need to burn the files to save them, whereas with an external drive you simply drag and drop.
- Using a backup program. There are programs available for free and programs that cost money, but all offer many of the same basic features. One of the advantages to using a paid program over manually backing up your data is the scheduling and automation options. This allows you to take a hands-off approach to your data backups.
- Backing up to the cloud. There are several free cloud services available that you can use as an always-online backup location for your files. These include Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, Apple iCloud, DropBox, and more. These services all come with a fair amount of space for free, and can be upgraded with more space for a fee.
The following methods are unique to the NWU:
- P-drive: Staff and students can save files to their p-drives. The data on you p-drive is automatically backed up daily. This Data Storage & Recovery service also provides the function of restoring data, should you accidentally delete data. For more information visit services.nwu.ac.za/it/sc/data-storage-recovery.
- Share: The NWU enterprise content management can also serve as a place to save your data. Share is available to Staff. For more information visit services.nwu.ac.za/it/sc/share.
- Back up data timely and regularly.
- It's a good idea to back up data in several different ways, so that you have an extra backup in case your primary backup medium fails. You may also want to dedicate backup media to backing up certain files, such as a flash drive just for your current writing projects or an external hard drive just for your photographs or music files.