To backup computer files, you have two options: Backup individual files, or backup the entire computer. Consider how often you use your computer and how much you value these files when you choose a backup plan.
Casual Computer Users Without Many Files
If you have the occasional important file, you can simply e-mail the file to yourself, which will keep the document stored on your e-mail server. You can also upload files to online storage programs, burn the files to CD or DVD or save the files on a small flash drive.
Frequent Computer Users With Many Files
The more files you have, the more of a hassle it is to back them up with e-mail attachments, CDs or flash drives. In this case, invest in an external hard drive. When you connect the hard drive, simply click and drag the files over to the hard drive, just as you would with a flash drive.
Super Computer Users
If your backup process starts to take too long or you are having trouble keeping track of what's backed up and what's not, it's time for back up software. This software will backup your entire computer and can distinguish which files have been backed up and which ones haven't. You will receive a prompt from your backup program whenever it's time to run the backup process, or you can set it to run automatically.
Heavy-Duty Computer Users
You can rely on hard drive images if you need to capture every last detail of your computer, right down to the desktop software. Imaging software, such as Norton Ghost or Clonezilla, catches all the details so you have a clone of your entire computer. Simply load the image file up on a new computer, and it will be as if you never left the old one.
No matter which method you choose, the key to backing up your computer successfully is to make it a habit. The more automated you can make the process, the more likely it is that you'll back up your computer. Once this habit is part of your computer maintenance routine, you can relax knowing you're less likely to lose important files.