It cannot be said enough: Back up! Back up! Back up! Always backup your information. Always put your most valuable information in a safe place. Hide it in a fireproof safe, but please, always have backups! Have backups of your backups. Have backups for those backups. You can never be too backed up. Well, that’s not entirely true but we won’t go there.
To back up your digital stuff, you have a few options in today’s world. There are 3 ways we will discuss today:
1. External Backups
2. “Poor Man’s” Backups
3. “Cloud” Backups
External backups are pretty self explanatory. External hard drives. Internal computer drives NOT associated with your main drive. Flash drives. Tape drives. DVDs and CDs. Anything that holds data that will take a long while to stop working. This is the most common way of backing up your information, and works very well.
The “Poor Man’s” backup is a nifty little trick. If you have web-based email such as Gmail, Yahoo!, Hotmail, or AOL then you can do this. What you do is you take your files you want to save, namely work files or other document files, nothing big, and zip them up into a zip file whose total file size is no more than 20MB zipped. Then, you email that zip file to yourself! That way, if your computer dies out, you’ll always have a backup of those files in your email. **Note: Some web-mail clients block Executable (.exe) files found in Zip files, so change the Zip file’s extension to .txt and then email it to yourself.
The last one being described today is called the “Cloud.” You may have heard this term loosely used from time to time, especially in Microsoft ads. The cloud is essentially storage on hard drives owned or rented by major companies found on the internet. You upload your files to these remote machines, which you will never have to maintain or worry about even seeing, and they will sit there until they expire or you delete the files. One shining example of “Cloud” storage, which is also free to a certain extent, is called “DropBox” and they can be found here: www.dropbox.com