As our lives become more intertwined with the digital world, the importance of protecting these bits of ourselves becomes greater. A frequent question we are asked when given a computer that is not functioning properly is, “Will you be able to recover my files?” Depending on the scenario this can be quite a costly endeavor. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so too is the value of having a good backup.
Microsoft also recognizes the importance of backing up your files and has included a backup utility in their operating system for some time now. A utility that has evolved right along with the way users interact with their files. However, no matter which iteration you have it is of no value unless it is used and used properly.
Before you begin backing up your files it is important to have a good place to store them. We recommend getting an external hard drive with a capacity at least the size of the hard drive in your computer, preferably twice that. This will give you enough room to store several copies of your files and protect these files in case of a hard drive failure in your computer.
The next thing you will want to do is establish some schedule for backing up the files. When using the older backup utility found in Windows 7 and older, this entails picking a day of the week and time. As the backup can take several hours to complete, you will want to pick a time where you are less likely to be using the computer heavily. If you run it weekly, the time needed will not be too bad, but at a minimum you will want to run it monthly. If you have a Windows 8 or newer machine, Microsoft phased out their old utility in favor of something called File History. This is a constant backup, so beyond the initial first run, this will take no time. Best of all is runs constantly and saves your files when it detects a change and even lets you restore an older version if you made a change by accident.
No matter what your case is, having a good and current backup is almost always worth it. It brings peace of mind and can save you considerable money in the event your computer heads south. If you are not comfortable with setting up your own backup or just want some reassurance you did it correctly, give us a call. We are always happy to lend a helping hand.
By: Andrew Owen, MCP, Tech Services @HCCS, INC.