Computers sometimes fail without a warning. Just like that. One day they work perfectly and the next day a disaster strikes. Now, you can always buy a new computer. It’s not a small investment but it can be replaced. This, on the other hand, cannot be claimed for documents, photos and other files we all tend to keep on our computers. They can often be recovered even if the computer can’t be repaired but everyone knows at least one person who has lost everything. So if you don’t want to be that person, then you better take care of data backup.
There are several ways to backup your computer and avoid losing your files forever:
CD or DVD discs. This is one of the easiest and the least expensive ways to make copies of all or only the most important files. You simply “burn” it all to a blank CD or DVD and you’re done. Be sure, however, to label each disc and store them properly.
External hard drive. This is a little bit more expensive but much more convenient option because everything is in a single box rather than dozens of CDs/DVDs.
Network Attached Storage (NAS). This is a very good idea if there are two or multiple computers in your household because it enables you to make backup for all computers in a single place. NAS is slightly more expensive than external hard drive but it is a lot cheaper than buying an external hard drive for each computer.
Memory cards and USB flash drives. Both provide fast, cheap and easy way to backup your files. Another great thing about them is that they compact and can easily be carried around. Unfortunately, they are also easy to lose due to their small size.
Online backup. Also referred to as cloud storage, online backup enables you to store all or just the most important files virtually. For free. But only if you need a few gigabytes. It is possible to get more space but there is usually a small fee that is paid on a monthly basis. The risk of hacking is low but it isn’t impossible. To reduce the risk of unauthorised access and an eventual theft of your files, you are advised to choose a reputable online backup service.
A word of caution.
Please note that there is no 100% safe and reliable computer backup. All physical backup options can fail, get damaged (for example in a flood or fire), or be stolen. Cloud storage eliminates the physical threats but isn’t 100% reliable either. Therefore, it is recommended to have both physical and virtual backup.