What the Tech? Backing up your computer

The chance of something happening to your computer isn’t enormous, but it happens.

There’s a difference between backing up a computer and storing data. A backup means if something happens, you could load and restore the backup onto a new computer where everything works as it does now. Storage means you have copies of the files, but it’ll be more difficult to restore them.

The easiest option is a backup service, like Carbonite, which has an annual subscription of about $100 a year. As you add photos and files, they’re backed up automatically in the background.

For storing files, Dropbox, Windows, Amazon, and Google offer free storage plans. But you may need to pay monthly for enough space.

Another option is to buy a portable hard drive and save the files yourself. Some external drives back up files in the background and overnight.

Losing your hard drive can happen because you accidentally delete the files or the computer gets damaged, or the hard drive crashes. You can pay a tech to try and recover them, but it doesn’t always work.

Ransomware is another culprit. A cyber-criminal installs a program on the computer that encrypts all files until you pay a ransom.

If you choose to backup to a portable hard drive, this is important. Malware will encrypt all of the hard drives. So backup, then unplug the hard drive and store it somewhere safe. Is it an over-reaction?

I don’t think so, and neither will you if something ever happens to your computer.

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