Backing up your Windows PC is the best way to avoid panicking when you crash your PC: let’s find out how to save our precious data!
We all lose data at some point in our lives. Want because of the death of the computer hard drive, or because of some damn ransomware that decides to infect our PC by encrypting the files and asking for a substantial ransom. Not to mention the bugs, which with a snap of fingers can delete whole data. If you do not update your computer regularly, all of these problems could seriously jeopardize the files you care about most. However, there is only one way to secure your data: make a backup. But what is the best way to backup your computer? Let’s find out together the most effective and indicated solutions.
Using Windows backup is convenient?
Windows has a proprietary tool that allows you to backup your computer, which does not cost you even a single penny, but the reality is that it does not prove so effective. Often, in fact, the best solution to make a backup of your data is to buy a specific software such as Carbonite, which has the great ability to automatically save backup copies of every file, of any type. Then, after creating them, the software places them in a cloud server, allowing you to access them anywhere and anytime. But if you do not intend to spend money on programs like this, how can you do?
Before starting: think about the right backup
Before starting, you need to know something else: it is useless to back up every single piece of data you create or use on your computer. Of course, if you have specific programs you can do it automatically and it does not cost you anything, since they end up on a cloud server and therefore do not occupy space: but if you have the space counted, then you will first need to understand which files are worth protecting with a backup. For example, you might feel the need to create a backup of your documents in Word, your photos, your videos or any other file that you consider very important for your work or for your entertainment. But you could also avoid making a backup of the programs, since they can be re-installed at any time. If you want, you can also make a backup of the data of the operating system or registry, if you are a “geek”. So, having clarified this point, we just have to start with the ways you can use to create a backup.
Create a backup on an external drive
If you have an external hard drive or any other secondary drive to connect to your PC, such as a USB stick, you can use it to create a backup of the data that you think is most important. And to do that you just need to use the proprietary Windows system, or the Time Machine on the Macintosh. Why should you choose this method? If you do not want to waste time or spend money, this backup system is fast and cheap, because it does not cost you a penny. But making a backup using an external unit also has its cons: if your house is on fire, or if you accidentally pour a glass of water on the external hard disk, there will be no saint to which you can vote, since you will necessarily have to say goodbye to your backup.
Create a backup using an online service
There are online services specifically designed to allow you to create a backup of your data: we are talking about services such as CrashPlan, a very interesting and secure online backup system, and other competitors as good as BackBlaze, MozyHome and the same Carbonite. Obviously, to be able to exploit you will have to pay: the cost of the aforementioned services is around 5 dollars a month, and also includes software for the management of automatic backups, as we have already seen with Carbonite. The advantage is quite obvious: if you lose files, you can recover them at any time by performing a restore via the program, with the possibility of adding a second computer to the list of devices on which you can request backup. In this way, there will be no theft or disaster that can put them in danger. The only disadvantage is equally obvious: you have to pay.
Create a backup using a cloud server
One of the most effective ways to create a backup of your data is to use cloud servers like Dropbox, which will provide you with a dozen Giga to use for storing your data. Technically, many argue that this is not a backup method, when rather a simple copy/paste of files from one place to another: it is still stupid subtleties, because the meaning and the final purpose of the operation remain unchanged. And then, you can also get extra space by spreading your files on different cloud storage, such as Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Drive and so on. The advantages? You will not have to pay to take advantage of these services, and you can access them freely from any computer or mobile device. The cons, however, relate to the space available: little, especially if you want to make massive backups.
Before closing this section, we need a clarification: surely you will have noticed that cloud servers and online backup services work practically according to the same logic. But with one fundamental difference: cloud servers are limited to synchronizing the PC folders with those of the service, while the specific online backup services are optimized for the automation of backups and obviously offer a space suitable for your goal.
Conclusion: what is the best backup method?
We have come to the end of our guide on all the solutions you can take to make a backup of your files, but we have not yet faced a question: which of these methods turns out to be the best? There is no real winner, because every system has its pros and cons: programs like Carbonite and online services like CrashPlan are undoubtedly the most professional, but they force you to pay a monthly fee. If you want to spend, this is the top. But if you do not want to spend, we recommend you use a mix of free methods, so as to increase the degree of security of your backups and have more chances to “fetch” your files.