What would you lose if your computer crashed? Instead of wondering, find out how to backup your files

When was the last time you backed up your computer? Maybe the better question is, “Have you ever backed up your computer?”

Many people never think of a backup until it is too late. There are obvious reasons for having a
current backup. Malware, a virus, water damage, a fire, or other disaster that hits your home can
cause you to lose everything stored on a laptop or desktop computer.

Think for a moment about what you would lose if your computer crashes. Photos, videos, music,
important documents, and other files you’d like to save forever and maybe hand down to the
children.

Many people save important documents and files by copying them onto a hard drive or flash
drive. That’s a good idea, but a copy is not a backup.

A backup includes hidden and protected files and the operating system. You can completely
restore a computer with a backup while a copy of files are just those files.

It might sound and even look difficult. But creating a backup of a computer isn’t a huge task
anymore.

You can take a computer to a technician who’ll create a backup drive for your entire computer.
This can cost several hundred dollars each time you do it.

Another option is a service such as Carbonite or iDrive. These services run in the background, and as you add, delete, and move files, the service builds a backup. If something happens to
the computer you can download everything on another machine.

For a little extra, you can even have them deliver a replacement hard drive loaded with your files. These services start at $100 a year, though they generally offer a big discount for the first year.

You can also do it yourself with just a little time and effort.

You’ll need to purchase a large hard drive to hold all your files. It’s best to get an SSD external drive.

On a PC, go to settings, security, and backup. Choose which drive or drives to backup and the
new drive where you’ll store it. Windows will continually create a backup onto the new hard
drive. The default setting is to create a new backup every hour.

On a Mac, it’s called “Time Machine,” and you’ll also find it in settings. It’s as simple as
connecting the new hard drive to create a backup.

The only drawback to doing it yourself is if you leave the backup hard drives connected to the
computer. Because if something happens to the computer, it could also affect the connected
hard drive.

So the best option, if you want to do it yourself, is to store the backup drive in another location.

Set a reminder on your phone to update the backup every few months or at least once a year.

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