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Tips How to Back Up Your Personal Files & Photos

How to Back Up Your Personal Files & Photos

Computers are powerful tools, but unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to lose a lot of data – forever. One little error, a hasty command, a virus, or an unexpected (are they ever expected?) computer crash can cause you to lose an important project or worse. And we’re not even talking about fires or floods! Data recovery on your personal computer can cost hundreds of dollars – and because recovering everything is not guaranteed, if items like photos are lost, they are irreplaceable. Proper data backup is critical.

Consider Pixar’s experience: The movie “Toy Story 2” was almost destroyed because of one tiny error. An employee entered an erasing command into Pixar’s system – apparently in the wrong place. The result was that all the computers began to wipe the film data … first, Woody’s hat disappeared, then his boots, then he disappeared entirely; whole sequences were deleted. Although disconcerting, this should not have been a huge problem, because there was a backup, right? Wrong! Ultimately, 90 percent of the film was completely gone because Pixar’s backup system hadn’t been properly archiving and no one had been checking to be sure it was! This was such a serious loss that Ed Catmull, Pixar’s co-founder, said that rebuilding the film “would have taken 30 people a solid year.” Providentially, the film’s supervising technical director had been working from home because she had just had a baby. The movie (and very probably the company) was saved by carefully retrieving that one remaining copy from her home computer! Although this happened over 20 years ago, it’s a very “graphic” picture of the importance of backup.

As a telecommunications company, SKT takes data backup very seriously. Around here, every day is backup day. But we all know that life can get hectic and it’s easy to forget to back up your personal or business computer files. Join us on March 31 as we celebrate World Backup Day. Get in the habit of backing up files on a regular basis – every week, every month, or whenever you get new, important documents or photos. And don’t rely solely on one method – the more backups you have, the better.

Following are some different options to ensure that you don’t lose important projects, documents, records, or photos currently on your computer or other devices:

Utilize cloud storage with Dropbox, iCloud, IDrive, or OneDrive

  • Dropbox is considered a pioneer in cloud storage, providing a powerful solution that can keep everything safe in online storage – with multiple layers of protection. It offers one central hub, file sharing and syncing, with secure access to all your files, which can be uploaded and accessed from multiple devices – Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and via web browser. Collaboration and productivity tools are available. If your device is lost or stolen, “remote wipe” lets you clear all the files and folders from your missing device’s Dropbox account. Cost depends on the amount of space you need. Get started with Dropbox Basic – their free plan with 2GB of storage. See Dropbox’s complete range of personal and business features, plans, and pricing here.
  • iCloud is built into every Apple device. It automatically backs up iOS and iPadOS devices when they’re connected to power and Wi-Fi – securing and syncing photos, music, files, contacts, and almost every other kind of data – keeping it safe, up-to-date, and available wherever you are. Although not compatible with other operating systems like Android, sharing and collaboration are fast and easy and your updates are effected across all Apple devices. Two-factor authentication can be utilized for an extra layer of security. iCloud users get 5GB of storage free, and it’s easy to add more at any time. The most popular backup plan is 50GB for $0.99 per month. Learn more and check out iCloud features and pricing here.
  • IDrive is for you – if you want continuous data backup on multiple computers and devices (PCs, Macs, iPhones, iPads, and Android). In addition, data from any external hard drives, NAS (Network-Attached Storage) devices, USB, or other mapped storage systems you may have, can also be backed up with IDrive – in a single account. IDrive automatically recognizes changes made to files in the backup set and starts the backup operation in near real-time. You can remotely manage your computers and data backups or back up your entire drive as an image file to a secondary location like an external hard drive or to the cloud. Visit here for personal, team, and business plans and pricing.
  • OneDrive by Microsoft offers 5GB of cloud storage for free. Choose which files are backed up and when – then access them from any device, anywhere – without taking up the space on your PC. Offering a wide range of compatibility (which is one of its strengths), OneDrive’s online backup and syncing is not just for PCs, but also for Macs, Androids iOS, and Xbox (integrating seamlessly with Office 365 features including Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in real time, if desired). Great for those already using Microsoft products, you can get 100GB of cloud storage for about $2 per month. See all of OneDrive’s home and business pricing and plans here.

Copy your files to a flash drive or external hard drive. 

Depending upon the amount of data you need to back up, a flash drive or external hard drive can be a good option in addition to a cloud-based backup.

  • Flash drives – tiny, highly-portable devices that can be erased and reused, are great when you don’t have access to Wi-Fi, and are especially handy for students to back up schoolwork. Despite their size, you can pack a large amount of data on a flash drive. They’re easy to use; simply plug right into your computer’s USB port and copy or drag and drop files over. For added security, encrypt the flash drive and add a password. Price starts at just a few dollars; Amazon’s Choice is the SanDisk 128GB Cruzer USB 2.0 Flash Drive at $15.29.
  • Hard drives, which come in countless sizes and storage capacities, continue to be a reliable option because of their cost-effectiveness, capacity, and longevity in the market. Simply connect one via USB cable to your computer and drag and drop or copy files for safekeeping. Amazon’s Choice is the WD 2TB My Passport Portable External Hard Drive at $62.99.

If you’re backing up large amounts of data, particularly for a business, we recommend consulting a managed IT service provider to ensure that your data is properly backed up and secure.

Advantages of employing a flash drive or an external hard drive for backup are that they’re in your physical custody and control, and they have a one-time cost. Disadvantages include the fact that they can be stolen, damaged, or lost in a flood or fire, just like your computer or device. Cloud storage solutions offer safe, secure offsite backup but may require recurring fees.

This article is meant to serve as a resource and does not endorse any product, company, or service. Consumers are encouraged to do their own independent research and proceed at their own risk.