Needless to say, backing up your computer regularly is very important. There are a lot of ways you couldlose the data on your hard drive. Unfortunately, people often realize too late how important backups are. Nowadays, you have a lot of different backup solutions to choose from. It can be difficult to find the best way of backing your data. Here is an overview of how you can backup data on a Windows computer.
Backing up Windows used to require a third-party tool but in Windows 7 Microsoft introduced a new backup utility. The new tool can do both image backups and file backups. Image backups are used to save the Windows operating system while file backups are used to backup user data. You can do full or incremental backups. It is also possible to do a system recovery disk which is very handy if disaster hits.
The new Windows backup utility has a lot of useful features. Backups can be scheduled, so you always have a recent backup of your data. You can also let Windows manage the space used for backups, Windows automatically deletes the oldest backup when there is no space for new backups. All in all, the Microsoft backup utility in Windows 7 and Windows 8, is a good tool.
If you want different backup cycles for files on the same drive, the Windows backup utility is not the best tool. It works best when you back up the whole drive, rather than selecting individual files. Restores, especially restores of image backups, are unnecessary complicated. At the moment, you can use an external disk or writable DVD as backup destination but not the Internet. This may be possible in later versions. But still, now you have a decent backup utility included with Windows. Make sure to use it.
But you may still prefer other backup solutions for your Windows computers. The new Microsoft backup utility is a good solution for many but there are better backup tools on the market. For many it does not make sense to pay for an additional backup utility but in some cases it makes sense to go for a more sophisticated backup solution. Software such as Genie Backup Manager, Norton Ghost, Paragon Hard Disk Manager Suite and Acronis TrueImage are excellent programs which offer much more than just basic backups but for many Windows users the additional cost is hard to justify.
Always make sure that you have a couple of image backups. It is the quickest way to restore the Windows system. It is what you need if your disk crashes or if your computer gets infected with viruses. Your personal data you should back up frequently, using standard file backups. If you have a lot of data, you may prefer to do incremental backups. But remember that restores will take longer time if you have many incremental backups. Restores from full backups are easy.
Online backups offer some advantages but you should be aware that there are also some, at least potential, drawbacks. The main advantage is that you can restore files even if you are not at home, your backups are in the cloud. This also protects your data in case of fire or theft at home. Unfortunately, some people store their backup DVDs next to their computer and sometimes thieves take both the computer and the DVDs. Many of the online backup providers have very good interface, making it very easy to back up your data.
But there are a lot of backup providers and it may not be easy to find one that fits your needs and budget. Privacy and security issues are also potential problems with online backups. One security issue to remember is that if your online backup account gets hi-jacked, all your backed up data can be downloaded. You probably don’t want to back up sensitive personal data using the Internet. For sensitive data, you may want to have a closer look at encryption solutions.