How to Backup a Computer

We all think we are protected until it's too late. A book proposal, pictures of the kids, or a work project could be gone in seconds. With the cost of storage getting cheaper by the day, there's no reason to ignore the real risk of your computer crashing. So, you know you need to back-up your data, but don't know where to start. Let's review the basic backup solutions along with the advantages and disadvantages for each.

CDs/DVDs, USB flash drive, network drive, external drive, online, tape, etc. What's the best backup solution for you?

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you narrow the options:

1. How often is the data being altered?

2. What do you want to protect your data from (Computer failure, fires, etc.)?

3. How important is the data being backed up?

4. How far in the past will you want to recover from?

5. How much data is being stored?

6. How quickly will you want your data back in the event of a failure?

7. How sensitive is the data being backed up?

8. How many computers or servers will you need to back up?

External Hard Drive:

Pros: Inexpensive, easy to set up and relatively quick backup.

Cons: No off-site protection and connected to only one machine at a time.

USB Flash Drives:

Pros: Easy to set up, quick backup and portable.

Cons: Expensive, limited size, easy to lose and connected to only one machine at a time.

Network Drives:

Pros: Multiple computer access, file sharing and added features by each manufacture.

Cons: Setup requires some experience, no off-site protection and potential security risk.

Online Services:

Pros: Data is protected from burglary and natural disasters, data can be accessed from any computer with Internet access and redundancy.

Cons: Slow backup and recovery speeds, expensive, trusting a third-party with your data and potential security risks.


Pros: Inexpensive, portable and readable available.

Cons: Time consuming, very limited space and easy to damage.

Our recommendations:

Some data is more sensitive and valuable than others. Identify what is important to you and is classified as critical data. Any information classified as critical should have two geo-located backups. For example, use a hard drive for your local backup, then JungleDisk or Amazon storage for a redundant off-site backup. This strategy allows you to gain the benefits of both local and off-site backups and gives you the greatest chance of recovering the data you need in the event of a disaster.


Michael Wylie is the founder and CEO of ServNet LLC, an author, technology consultant and Internet marketing expert. For more great content or to get in touch with Michael Wylie, Email or follow him on Twitter today @TheMikeWylie.

Article Source: Michael_Wylie


  1. This only proves that there are, indeed, so many ways to backup your computer files. One just has to choose the most functional device /software that has the capacity to accumulate all the data. This simple process is necessary, especially if you don’t want to lose any of your important records.

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