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How to Backup Your Computer's Data

At Phone Medics Plus, we aren’t just committed to fixing your phone or PC when something goes wrong, we also want to give you the tools to keep your devices running well, and to help you minimize the inconvenience when something does go wrong. That’s why we’re going to spend our next few blog posts talking to you about how to keep your data backed up. Today we’ll cover backing up the data on your computer. In our next couple of posts, we’ll discuss backup options for the data on your iOS and Android device.

Data Loss: Not If, But When

The unfortunate reality of life in the electronic age is that it isn’t a question of if you’re going to suffer a data loss on your PC or mobile phone, it’s when. Data loss happens to all of us sooner or later - a hard drive fails, important files accidentally get deleted, a laptop gets misplaced or stolen or damaged, and suddenly all the family photos, important documents, and other data on your device are gone. If you don’t have backups, the loss can be devastating.

Fortunately, avoiding such a painful loss is surprisingly easy. It has never been easier to make and store backups of your personal data. For PCs, there are three basic ways to backup your information: on-site backup, off-site backup (aka cloud backup), and drive cloning.

On-Site Backups

With on-site backups, you regularly transfer the data from your computer onto an external hard drive connected to your computer. That way, any data that gets lost from your main hard drive can simply be copied back onto it from the backup drive. There are several ways to manage on-site backups. You can even do it manually - you just copy your new files into the external drive regularly. For most of us, of course, manual backups aren’t a good solution. Fortunately, there are a lot of different programs out there that will automate the backup process for you, and many of them are free, and even the ones that aren’t offer free versions so you can try before you buy. Some popular options include Aomei Backupper, Acronis True Image, EaseUs ToDo Backup, and Genie Timeline.

Cloud Backups

Off-site backups - also known as cloud backups - store your data in much the same way as on-site backups, but they do it by uploading your data to the cloud. Cloud-based backups have a major advantage over on-site backups: they keep your data safe in the event of a burglary, house fire, flood, or other situation where an on-site backup could be compromised.With off-site backups, you avoid that danger. Your data is stored securely in servers belonging to the company that you use for your backup service.

The biggest disadvantage cloud-based backups have over on-site backups is price. While many on-site backup solutions are free, or can be had for a reasonable one-time price, cloud backup solutions come with a subscription fee. That said, the prices for these services tend to be quite reasonable, and more than worth the peace of mind that comes from knowing that even if your house burns down, your data will be safe. The most popular cloud-based backup services are Backblaze, iDrive, and Carbonite. All three offer similar services for similar prices. The primary differences are the amount of data you are allowed to store and the number of computers you can backup for the price.

Cloud Storage Options

In addition to paid backup services, there are a few cloud-based services that will backup some of your data for free. Cloud storage services like Google Drive or Dropbox, while not true backup solutions, are a way to make sure your data survives and is accessible from multiple locations. Also, Google Photos will backup all of the photos on your PC (or mobile device) at a slightly reduced resolution for free, or at full resolution for a price.

Drive Cloning

With drive cloning, you use special software to create an exact duplicate of your hard drive on an external drive. Drive cloning can be a powerful tool, since it preserves your hard drive exactly as-is, which means that in the event of a hard drive failure, the cloned drive can be used to recreate your old drive on the replacement drive, making the transition to a new drive virtually seamless. There are several products on the market, including Macrium Reflect, CloneZilla and Acronis True Image, that will facilitate this process, and even allow you to create a schedule for regularly cloning your drive.

Which is Best?

Now, you may be asking at this point, “which backup solution is right for me?” The reality is that while any backup is better than no backup, the best way to protect your data is with redundancy. Combining on-site backups with cloud backups is the best way to keep your data as safe as it can possibly be.

Maintaining regular backups is only part of the process for dealing with a hard drive failure or other data loss. The next step is removing your old hard drive and putting a new, better one in its place. That’s where Phone Medics Plus comes in. Our team of professionals has the skill and the knowledge to replace or upgrade your hard drive and get you back in business quickly. You can call us, book your appointment online, or bring your computer to our repair facility at 91 E. Merritt Island Causeway in Merritt Island.


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