You can pick and choose which files you back up, but sometimes it’s easier to just back up your whole computer. This eliminates the need to browse through thousands of files and pick the exact ones that you need to back up. Backing up your entire computer also eliminates the risk of missing important files that should have been backed up.
The good news for those of us that like to keep it cheap is that storage prices are constantly dropping. Contrary to what you would normally think, it’s not all that expensive to back up everything. In many cases, it is just as cheap to back up your entire computer as it is to back up specific files.
There are two options for backing up everything. You can get an external hard drive and copy everything over at home or you can get an account with an online storage company. Both backup methods have their own pros and cons, so let’s take a look at both.
How to Back up with an External Hard Drive
You can back up your files with an external hard drive by visiting your local computer store and purchasing an external USB drive. Prices range considerably, but you can normally get a 500 GB drive for around a hundred bucks. All you have to do is plug it in to your computer and copy your files over. Your files are now backed up.
- Purchase an external hard drive
- Connect it to your computer
- Copy the files over to the new drive
- Store the drive somewhere safe
- Remember to perform regular backups
Pros and Cons of this Method
The external hard drive used to be my primary backup method. I found it pretty easy to just run to Best Buy, pick up a drive and copy everything over. Storage prices have dropped so low now that this is one of the cheapest methods for backing up your whole computer.
There are both good things and bad things about backing up with an external hard drive. On the positive side, a local hard drive gives you complete control over your backups. You are completely in control over your own security and you don’t have to rely on anyone else for accessing your backups.
Another thing that I like about this backup method is that no internet connection is necessary. As long as you have access to your external hard drive, you can retrieve your files whenever you want. You are also not limited by upload and download speeds.
There are also a few downsides to backing up with an external hard drive. One major downside is that you have to remember to perform backups on a regular basis. It is very easy to get lazy about making backups (trust me).
Additionally, external hard drives are often kept in close proximity to the computer they back up. This is a bad thing because a single disaster can easily wipe out both the computer and the backup drive. For maximum protection, you need to store your backup drive in a separate building.
How to Back Up Everything Online
Online backup is also pretty simple. The only thing you have to do is choose an online backup company*, pay for an account and install the backup software. Once you do that, the software will scan your computer and back up your files to the cloud.
- Choose an online backup company
- Sign up for an account
- Download and install the backup software
- Tell it which files to install
* Since you want to back up your entire computer, I strongly recommend that you choose an unlimited backup company. Several names that I recommend are Backblaze, Carbonite and JustCloud. These three companies all offer unlimited backup plans at reasonable prices.
Pros and Cons of this Method
Online backup also has its own list of pros and cons. This is my preferred backup solution, but it might not be for everyone. What I like most about backing everything up online is that it is so easy. I never have to remember to perform backups because it all happens automatically. I also never forget to perform backups.
Additionally, I’ve found online backup to be the cheapest solution. Unlimited backup companies can give you unlimited storage space for less than $100 a year. I never have to worry about upgrading my hard drive, dealing with technical issues or otherwise getting my hands dirty. I pay the money; they take care of all the rest.
I also like being able to view my files from anywhere in the world. I travel quite frequently and don’t always have the time to copy everything over to my laptop. Fortunately, I can just log in to my backup account from my laptop and
A major con to online backup is that you expose your files to slightly more risk by storing them online. Even though most backup providers take security seriously, there is never a way to 100% guarantee the security of something on the internet. I don’t store life-and-death material online so this is a risk that I’m willing to accept.
Another downside to online backups is that you must rely on your internet connection for uploading and downloading files. A large backup will take forever to upload the first time. After you complete the initial backup, things are pretty quick. The backup company only has to upload changes to your data after that point.
Author Bio:- Wes Burns is a full time writer with a specialization in online storage and data preservation. He also strives to make online storage accessible to the average computer user.