Computer backup – save your data..please!

Computer Backup – A discussion and a plea…

Forgot to backup my computer - Vail computer support and repair

Generally speaking, when we talk with clients aboutsaving a copy of their data somewhere (i.e., backup), it seems to be in the same category as a computer warranty (or in other terms, life insurance perhaps?).  You know you need it but you hate purchasing it.  Your backup may never be used but in the end that’s a good thing.  In this discussion, we are talking about your data (files, music, etc) and not your computer programs (for your operation system, that is a different discussion).  For your computer programs, you need to ensure you keep the discs or the downloaded files AND your software keys.

Options

Backup to disk (hard drive or USB flash)

You have the option of purchasing an external hard drive and a program to backup your files.  There are so many options that a full discussion is beyond the scope of this writing.  The Mac OS version of the software (Time Machine) works very well.  On Windows, we favor Genie products and for more intense situations, Acronis.

Pros

  1. One time expense for a hard drive or flash drive – no monthly fee.
  2. One time expense for the software – annual fees sometimes apply for updates.

Cons

  1. Generally requires a contract technician to monitor and keep it running.
  2. Hard drives break and you’ll have to purchase one again in 5 years or less (plan on sooner).
  3. Difficult to determine if it’s broken – many users think it’s working and then realize that it’s not.
  4. Clutters your desk.
  5. Consumes a USB port on your computer.
  6. Consumes some of the performance on your computer.

Backup to the Internet

Pros

  1. As long as you are on the internet and don’t tamper with the settings, it seems to always work (Carbonite is a good example).
  2. Provides great alerts when a backup did not work or if you are backing up too much data.
  3. You have 24/7 phone support from the service provider (i.e., again Carbonite and Mozy).
  4. It’s and off-site backup that addresses flooding or fire situations on the premises.
  5. You avoid having another piece of equipment connected to your computer that will, sooner or later, not work any longer.  Also, reduces clutter!

Cons

  1. Slower to recover your data after a failure since it has to be downloaded.
  2. You pay an annual fee for the software and service.
  3. Some think having your information stored on the internet isn’t safe and secure.  There is risk of this but quantifying it is difficult to impossible.
Regardless of which option you choose, do something to ensure your most important information is safe somewhere.  Hard drives fail regularly.  Although, in our experience, it’s generally a software issue when your computer ‘breaks’, you’ll feel better knowing you have your information safely stored somewhere.  Next is ensuring you know how to recover it if you need it – backups are not very helpful if you cannot recover.
We would love to help in any way that you might need.
Reach My Computer | Computer Support and Repair | Vail and Avon Colorado