I’ve recently implemented a straight forward backup method I think anyone and everyone should be doing. So today’s article is going to try and convince you to start doing those all-important backups at home and at work (if you’re not already backed up some other way). The idea is simple, get a hard drive with plenty of capacity and plug it in. Then tell it what to back up, how often, and viola, you’re ready for catastrophe to strike.
For me, I purchased a Corsair GTX Voyager 1TB SSD Flash drive. First, an external hard drive is just another name for a big closet to keep all your stuff. When you get one, you just plug it in and the computer sees another hard drive (or closet) and you can put your stuff in it. External hard drives can be used as extra storage, but I’m going to use it to make an extra copy of everything just in case the computer goes kaput one day. I bought it on line from Tiger Direct because they’re reliable, have quick delivery, and great prices. But you can pick up through Amazon or wherever you like.
Now to install the drive and get the computer talking to it, you just plug the USB connection into your computer and you’ve just installed your hard drive. The next trick is to get the drive to backup your important things – music, photos, documents – and have it do so on a schedule. If you’re looking for something that will do this job, there’s a free program called SyncBack I highly recommend, and you can download it here from Download.com.
So, let’s back it up
Because every backup software is different, and to explain how to set it all up is going beyond this article, you might check out the manual for the software (there should be a PDF somewhere) for a detailed explanation. The main idea is to tell the software what you want backed up and how often. An example might be to backup the entire My Documents folder, which includes your My Music and My Pictures folders. Then tell it to backup every Friday at 5pm. If a weekly backup isn’t frequent enough, tell it to back up every hour! The important thing is to make sure the drive is plugged into the computer when backup time comes. If the drive is not plugged in, it will probably just skip that backup session and wait until the next one comes around.