I am sure you have heard about backing up your computer. You may have wondered why you need to do this and how to create a backup. Backing up your computer saves all of your files and allows you to restore the state of your machine to a specific date should anything happen to your system. This gives you peace of mind because you know that no matter what happens, your computer and all the information saved on it will be available. Whether you have a PC or a Mac, backing up your files in order to prevent digital disaster is easy. They both have built in programs to help you backup your files.
Remember that it is extremely important to back up often so that the most current version of your files is on hand. If you only back up your computer once a month, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to an accident. Most programs have the ability to do automatic backups once a week or even daily, which is best.
Creating a Backup for Windows
1. The first step is to purchase an external hard drive to use as your backup drive. You don’t need anything fancy or too expensive, but make sure the drive you buy has about twice as much storage space as your computer. That way, you'll be able to store several backups from different days, each with all the information and files that you would want to restore on your computer
2. When you plug in your external hard drive, Windows will automatically ask you if you want to use the drive as a backup. Go ahead and select the option that says you want to do that. If Windows doesn’t ask you to back up your computer, you can find the program by searching in the start menu for “backup” and clicking on the first option, which should be "Backup and Restore."
3. Once you start the "Backup and Restore" process, click the “Set Up Backup” button and select your new external hard drive. Then proceed through the boxes until you get to the last screen. Select “Save Settings and Run Backup.”
4. Make sure to leave your computer on long enough so that it can finish making your first backup. After that, the program will automatically make regular backups as you work on your computer from day to day.
To recover your files in case of an emergency, search for “backup” in your start menu and go to the “Backup and Restore” program. Once in, select the “Restore My Files” or “Restore Users Files” and you are good to go.
Creating a Backup for a Mac
1. Just as for Windows, you will need to buy an external hard drive that can be connected through a USB. The drive should be about twice the size of your computer.
2. Once you plug your external hard drive into your Mac, the computer will ask you if you want to use the external drive as a backup. Make sure you select “Use as Backup Disk.” If you don’t get the prompt to make it a backup, go to "System Preferences" and then "Time Machine" to set your new drive as a backup disk.
3. Once you get to the Time Machine’s preferences, click “Select Backup Disk” and choose the correct drive. When you select that button, OS X will perform the backup. Leave your computer on and it will back up your system as you work.
If you ever run into issues with your computer and need to restore your files, you can click on the Time Machine icon in your menu bar and then on “Enter Time Machine.” After you get in, you can search through your old backup files and restore them to your hard drive.
Now you know how to back up your system whether you are on Windows or a Mac and you will be prepared should anything happen to your hard drive. However, because you are backing up your computer to a drive that is usually located in the same room, the external drive won’t protect you against disasters such as flood or fire. To make sure that you will always have your files, you're best using an Online Backup so you can access and restore your files from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.