How to Back Up the Data on Your PC or Mac

How to Back Up the Data on Your PC or Mac

Posted by Team Recompute on 7th May 2019

More than 50% of computer owners backup less than once a year or worse, never.

Are you part of that 50%? If so, your data is living on borrowed time. Could you afford to lose all the information on your computer?

Backing up your data is one of the least interesting things you'll do on your computer but it's also one of the most important. Let's look at why it's so important and how to decide on a backup strategy.

What Makes a Good File Backup System?

There are three aspects to a good backup system:

  • Multiple backups
  • Off-site backups
  • Automated backups

Having a single backup is better than none but it won't provide 100% insurance against data loss. Technology can fail and there's a small chance that your computer and backup could both fail at the same time. Adding a second backup (or more) reduces that chance to virtually zero.

Having everything in one place might be convenient but if something like a fire or flood happens and your computer is right beside the backup everything will be lost. Keeping your backup documents off-site avoids this problem.

A lot of that 50% of computer users who only backup once a year have good intentions but never get around to running a backup. Automating your system means you don't have to remember to do it.

Backing Up Your Data on an External Drive

The most common backup method is to use an external drive. It could be a hard drive, an SSD or a USB thumb drive. The type of drive isn't that important, as long as it has enough space for all your files.

Most PCs come with backup software built-in that will backup to external drives. Macs come with Time Machine and Windows has File History in Windows 10 and Backup and Restore in earlier versions. Both systems will let you automate the process so it happens without you having to think about it.

Cloud-Based Backup

Another good option for backing up your data is a cloud-based backup service like Backblaze or Carbonite. These services run in the background on your computer and upload your backup to their servers over the internet.

You can also use cloud-based storage like Apple iCloud or Google Drive. These services create a folder on your computer and anything saved there gets uploaded to their servers, creating a backup of your files.

These all solve two of the most important components of a good backup system - it's automated and it's off-site. You should use these services along with an external drive though. That meets the need for multiple backups.

It's Not Only About Data Loss

Protect yourself from data loss isn't the only thing to consider. Backing up your data can also make it a lot easier to move your files over to a new computer. When you switch to a new system, you're going to want all your information on it and with a good backup, you can copy everything over and be up and running in no time.

Or you may prefer to reuse or repair your computer to help cut down on the environmental effect of putting older computers out to pasture. With a few well-chosen upgrades, you can keep an older machine running quite well. And some of those updates could mean you need to restore from your backup.

If you're interested in reusing and recycling computers, take a look at Recompute's selection of refurbished and used computers. We offer industry-leading support and are very picky about the machines we sell. You can help save the environment and save money in the process.