Why and How to Backup Your Computer

Why You Should Backup Your Computer

In the first two years of college, I worked at an IT service desk. I helped fellow students with computer issues ranging from connecting to campus wifi to replacing broken hardware. Most of the time I could fix their problems, but there was one issue that I couldn’t fix without some help from the computer owner.

The story went something like this. George would come into the office, and his computer wouldn’t start. I’d run a few tests and determine that his hard drive had gone bad. I’d tell George that this is pretty simple fix and ask the pivotal question: Do you have backup?

Most of the time George would respond with “Ummm, backup?” People like George lost all their photos, their art portfolios, everything. One student in particular lost a semester-long project the night before it was due. Talk about frustrating.

The scary thing is this could happen to you or me tomorrow. Hard drives die and computers are stolen every single day. But thankfully there is a solution to make sure this will never happen to you—backup your computer.

How to Backup Your Computer

There are many ways to approach backing up, but the basic concept is always the same. Have everything you care about in multiple places at all times. Here’s how I approach backups.

  • Copy One: I have all the files I care about on my laptop. This is probably true about you too. If you have files that are only on an external hard drive, that would be copy one for you. You still need two more.
  • Copy Two: My second copy is a 2TB hard drive that I duplicate my laptop onto using Time Machine. The point here is to have an exact copy of your laptop. If something does go wrong with your computer and you have a Time Machine orsimilar backup, you can copy your files, apps and setting to your new machine and be ready to work again relatively quickly.
  • Copy Three: My final backup is offsite. This keeps me protected from situations like fire, flood or theft. For offsite backup I use Backblaze. It’s relatively cheap at$5 a month for unlimited data. It uploads in the background, provides full encryption and has every other feature I’ve ever needed.
  • Partial Copies: I have some partial copies of my data as well. I keep my most critical files in Dropbox as I work on them, and my photos are on iCloud. These services are good, but at this point I think they’re too expensive to be a full-fledged backup solution.

Please don’t be another sad story. Be safe out there. Backup your computer.