Backing up your computer and mobile devices
By Eric Geier (Our Founder & Owner)
Originally published by Cox Media Group on 7/15/19
If your computer “crashes,” your data maybe recoverable, or it may not. The same applies if you get a virus. Some viruses are a mere annoyance, while others destroy or lock all your files. So just in case you’re one of the unlucky ones in the future where you can’t recover your data, I highly recommend setting up an automated backup now, if you haven’t already.
Setting up backup is something you must do proactively, before your computer crashes or becomes infected. I often see customers ignore backing up their computer because it’s not a pressing issue when all is good. I see backup like I see home or auto insurance. You may never have to “use” the insurance/backup but spending the time and money setting it up beforehand can surely pay off if you do run into trouble.
It’s something you’ll wish you had if the time comes where you need it.
So, if your documents, photos and other files on your computers or mobile devices are important to you, keep them backed up!
Here are some tips on how to do this: Consider buying a backup drive: One way to back up your files is to buy an external hard drive, or a USB flash drive that offers enough storage space. You can then use the features built into Windows, the hard drive, or other backup software to automatically copy your personal files or entire computer onto the external hard drive every so often, maybe once per week, per day, or with every file change.
Windows 10 includes a new backup feature called File History, but I’ve seen it mess up too much to recommend it. Even in Windows 10 I suggest utilizing Microsoft’s old Windows 7 Backup feature (excluding their image saving) that’s still available in Windows 10.
Consider cloud or online backup service: Although backing up your files to a separate hard or flash drive — as just discussed — will keep them safe if your computer crashes, it may not provide protection against bad viruses, theft or disasters.
If you get a bad virus and the backup drive is plugged into the computer, the virus could also wipe out the backup drive. Or someone could break in and steal your computer and the backup drive, or a tornado or fire could destroy everything. For protection against these situations, consider backing up online.
I recommend I Drive (www.idrive.com). They offer a free edition, giving you up to 5GB of storage for free, enough for some households. If you require more than that, current pricing is $52.12 per year for up to 2TB of storage across an unlimited amount of computers, which is enough for most households.
Don’t forget about smart phones and tablets: Though cell phones and tablets these days can hold hundreds of photos, you should regularly download them to your computer in case the device becomes lost, stolen, or damaged. Perhaps get into the habit of connecting the device to the computer each month and downloading the photos onto your computer.
For even better backup on your phone or tablet, setup an automatic online backup. The I Drive backup solution I recommend for your computer also supports backing up your mobile devices. If you don’t want to pay for mobile backup, check out the Google Photos or I Cloud backup options.
Don’t forget about your flash drives: If you use a USB flash or external drive to exclusively store and access files on, remember to back it up, too. They can be easily stolen, lost, or broken.
You may be able to set up backup software to keep it backed up, or you could at least manually copy the files onto your computer once in a while.