There are many different ways in which you can create backups of your computer. You could simply backup a few photos and/or documents, or create a complete image of your system.
In this guide, we’ll look at why you need to make backups, the different types of backups, and try to find something that will work for you.
Why Is It So Important To Make Backups?
Computers are brilliant at storing data (documents, pictures, videos etc). So much so that we will often trust them to look after important files, such as family photos, and school homework. bills and receipts, booking information etc. They’re all stored on your computer.
Even if you don’t really use it that much, there will almost certainly be something on your computer that you just can’t replace.
The problem is that you might have to. Computer hard drives fail (the hard drive is where all your data is stored), and machines get stolen or lost. A computer can all too easily become infected with malware/ransomware/virus infection, or you might just click in the wrong place at the wrong time. And in the blink of an eye, it’s gone.
What Is A Backup?
In computer terms, a backup is a duplicate copy. When you back up your files/folders, you’re essentially creating duplicates that can be called upon in the event that you lose the originals.
Let’s consider a set of keys, as an example. Everyone has a few keys, house keys, car keys bike lock keys. The list is endless.
However, most of us keep a “spare” key somewhere. To be used in the event that the originals are lost or stolen.
In effect, the spare keys are our backup keys. A duplicate set that can be used in an emergency.
And that’s exactly what a computer backup is. It’s a copy, or copies, of the data that’s stored on your computer.
The Different Types Of Computer Backup.
There are two different types of computer backup and many ways in which you could implement either.
Firstly, you could back up just your files and folders. This could be done by simply copying and pasting your most valuable files (photos, documents, etc) to a USB flash drive How To Copy Files Or Folders To A USB Flash Drive.
Secondly, you can back up the whole computer, everything including the operating system (Windows) and all your installed programs/apps along with all your files and folders. This type of backup is often called a system image.
File And Folder Backups.
With a file and folder backup strategy, you only save your most important files. As mentioned above you can use a USB flash drive, or you could make use of cloud storage with Microsoft’s Onedrive or Google Drive amongst others.
Backing up files and folders can be done manually, as and when necessary or you can it set up to run automatically.
There are third-party programs that you can use (some of which can be used for free), but that will obviously require you to download and install the programs.
File History is a backup tool built into both Windows 10 and Windows 11, so it’s already on your computer.
We’ll be looking at how to use File History on the later in the course.
Whole Computer Backups.
System images create a “snapshot” of your computer as it is at the moment when the backup is taken. They will include everything on your PC. With an up-to-date system image, you can recover/restore your computer in the event that it suffers a complete failure.
The only real downside to system images is that, since they back up everything, they do require more storage space than file and folder backups.
Both Windows 10 and Windows 11 include a backup tool called Backup and Restore.
Backup and Restore can be used to either manually or automatically create system images of your computer.
Third-Party Backup Software.
Here again, you can use third-party software to create system image backups. Programs like Macrium Reflect, Acronis and EaseUs among many others improve upon the basic capabilities of the Windows Backup and Restore tool by implementing space-saving Differential and Incremental backup strategies The Difference Between Differential & Incremental Backups.
No one type of backup solution will suit everyone. So much will depend on how you use your computer, what your doing on your computer and what you’ve got available to use as storage.
At the very least, you should be copying your files onto a USB stick.
File History can be a big help, particularly for students or anyone that regularly uses files that simply can’t afford to lose.
The same goes for cloud storage. Albeit with the proviso of space and security.
Creating system images can also be a big part of any backup strategy. But again, we have the issue of finding space to store them.
These simple to follow guides aren’t a part of the course, instead they are standalone guides.