HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) — The risk of something happening to your computer or phone isn’t huge, but it happens every day.
And when it does, unless you have backed up your computer, when all those files go missing due to some accident or malware, then all those pictures, videos, music and files are lost. Always.
Backing up a computer or phone isn’t as hard as it sounds. It’s possible, but there are simple and relatively inexpensive ways to do it. There is a difference between backing up your files and storing data.
A backup means that if something should happen, you can load the backup onto a new computer where everything works as it does now.
Data storage means that you save copies of photos and files to a cloud service. If something happens to your computer, these files are saved, but the programs and anything else on your computer will not be recoverable.
The first option is also the simplest. It’s a backup service like Carbonite. This annual subscription of around $100 to $120 per year backs up everything to a computer. It does this continuously as you add photos, videos, and other files. The backup is created and updated on the fly as you work.
You can also configure Carbonite to back up the computer daily when you are not using it, such as when you sleep. Files are made available on any computer or device using the Carbonite application. Backing up or making copies of data is cheaper.
Dropbox, Windows, Amazon, Apple, and Google offer free storage plans.
Most free plans only include around 5GB of data storage, so you’ll have to pay a monthly or yearly fee to get enough storage for an entire computer.
Another option is to buy a portable hard drive and save the files there. Splurge on 4TB or more to have enough space for all your hard drives. You can move files to it manually, but some external drives include software that backs up files in the background and overnight. It will take a long time to save all the files.
The loss of your hard drives and everything on them can occur due to an accident such as fire or flood. You might accidentally delete the files or crash the hard drive. Older computers have spinning hard drives that can and do lock up where you can’t recover any files. You can pay a technician to try and get them back, but that doesn’t always work and it’s often expensive.
Ransomware is another culprit. A cybercriminal installs a program on the computer that encrypts all files until you pay a ransom. This happens frequently. According to a study, around 30% of computers are already infected with some type of malware or virus that can kill the computer or encrypt files.
If you choose to back up to a portable hard drive, it is important to unplug it from the computer after the backup is complete. If malware is installed on the machine, it will encrypt all hard drives connected to the computer. Unplug the hard drive and store it in a safe place. You might even want to store it in a safe or other place to protect it from fire or flooding.
Is this an overreaction? Not at all. We have a lifetime of memories and files stored on these computers. Don’t find yourself wishing you had saved them. The best time to back up a hard drive is ALWAYS before the hard drive dies. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize this until it’s too late.
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