by Bill Fisher
As we become more dependent on technology to complete our everyday tasks, we tend to forget how easily the information stored on our computers can be lost. Imagine what would happen if your computer was misplaced, damaged, or even stolen. Would you lose any important music, documents, photos, or other files?
Fortunately, you can protect your files from accidental loss by creating a backup on an external hard drive or online backup service. Should anything happen to your computer, you can rest easy knowing your files are still safe and secure.
Using an External Hard Drive
One of the easiest ways to back up your files is to purchase an external hard drive. Once the drive is connected to your computer, you can transfer files manually or automatically depending on your needs.
Keep in mind that an external hard drive is subject to the same risks as your computer, including fire, theft, and accidental damage. That’s why it’s important to keep it in a secure location away from your computer when not in use, like in a fireproof safe.
Backing Up Files Online
For added security, you can also back up your files in the cloud. When you store something in the cloud, it’s saved online to servers instead of a physical hard drive. The main advantage of cloud-based storage is that your files are much less vulnerable to risks like theft or accidental damage.
If you want to back up a few files or folders online, you’ll need to sign up for an account with a cloud-based storage service. Most services will give you a small amount of free storage, which should be enough to store your most important files. You can also buy additional storage for a monthly fee.
Either way, you’ll be able to access and share your files from any device with an Internet connection. Popular storage services include Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive.
If you want to automatically back up more files or even your entire hard drive, you’ll need to purchase storage from an online backup service. While these options may seem expensive at first, they often cost the same as an external hard drive while offering the added security of storing your files in the cloud. Some popular options here include Carbonite, Mozy, and iCloud.
In the end, the backup option you choose should be the one that makes the most sense for you. The most important thing is that your files are backed up somewhere. This way, you’ll have a better chance of recovering them if the worst does happen to your computer. Better safe than sorry!
Fisher is an instructional designer with GCFLearnFree.org, a program of Goodwill Community Foundation and Goodwill Industries of Eastern North Carolina Inc. For more information, visit www.GCFLearnFree.org/techsavvy/backing-up-your-files.