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  • Writer's pictureBurton Kelso, Tech Expert

How Can I Backup My Computer and Keep My Information Safe?

Updated: Apr 21, 2021

March 31st, is World Backup Day, the day we technology folks remind you of how important it is to back up your data. The main message to remember on World Backup Day is Your data is more valuable than Your Device! Hardware is cheap and getting cheaper. You know what's expensive or even priceless? That term paper you spent three weeks writing, the $1,000 in music and movies you have on your hard drive, and the digital video of your little boy or girl's first step. You can get a new computer or phone, but try replacing those important files: You can't! So what do you do? How do you make sure you never lose the bits and bytes important to you? You back them up! Here's how:

The Old Standby: The External Hard Drive. One of the simplest ways to back up your computer is to clone a copy of everything you have onto an external hard drive. If you own a Mac, it's as easy as hooking up a drive and firing up 'Time Machine'. Windows 10 users can take advantage of 'File History' which you can find on the right side of the menu bar. Click the "Backup Now" button and Time Machine will make a copy of everything on your machine. It's a painless process, though the initial backup will take a while. Be Hip and Cool: Take it to the Cloud. There are plenty of services that let you back up all of your data via the internet. Take Carbonite ( for example. The company offers automatic online backups of your entire system, and throws in file syncing, too. And it's pretty affordable at $60 a year for unlimited of storage. Plus, you can access your files on you mobile devices through the company's iOS and Android apps. The advantage to using these services is that you don't have to worry about losing or breaking a physical drive. It's also very unlikely that a highly-rated company would lose your data. Don't Forget Your Mobile Devices: Backup Your Smartphone or Tablet. We all store important information on our smart devices, so it's very important to have a strategy for backing up these critical files. Android users, Google has you covered when it comes to most of the important contact and email information. All your app data (like game saves) calendar, Browser, Contacts, Gmail, Photos, Music, People details, and even more detailed things like WiFi passwords and other device settings. All of this can be synced to Google's servers with two or three taps in your device settings, and restored when you get a new device.

iPhone and iPad users, one of the simplest ways to back up the data on your device is to use Apple's own iCloud service which allows you to backup bookmarks, contacts, calendars, iCloud documents, mail message, notes, and your iCloud photo library. If you take lots of pictures and videos then you may need to upgrade the storage capacity, as it will fill up pretty quickly.

Remember the three step approach: Backup the Backup. The best way to make sure that you don't suffer a huge digital data loss is to back up your data to three different devices. For complete coverage, you should have a local backup of your important computer files on an external drive. Mobile device users should consider copying items to a computer. You should have backup of your most important files to a cloud service like OneDrive or Dropbox; and a full system off-site backup using a service like Carbonite. This practice will prevent you from losing any files. As World Backup Day approaches, prepare to protect your data against loss by determining what and where your critical files are and choosing backup solutions that are right for you.

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