Data Backup - because you don't feel like doing it, but losing your data or paying for data recovery is much worse.

Everybody knows that they should back up important data such as pictures and business files, but the reality is that most of the time people do not backup their data frequently enough or at all.

This article contains a few tips for backing up your data now, before it is too late. It is far better to avoid a very expensive and aggravating data recovery situation in which you may have to spend a large amount of money to get your data back, or not get your data back at all. While data recovery solutions that we provide are usually $50 to $250, some jobs cost much more. Level 3 data recovery can cost over five thousand dollars ($5,000) and can usually be avoided if you have a basic data recovery plan in place.

Tip #1 - USB Flash Drive. You may have noticed that USB Flash drives are much bigger today than they were just a few years ago.

It is common to find a 64GB, 128GB or even 256GB USB Flash Drive at your local Best Buy. These are ideal for backing up your most critical files one time and then archiving the entire USB Flash Drive.

Step 1: Purchase a USB Flash Drive that will hold all the most important data you have. You do not necessarily need to get one that will hold all of your data, as the function of this backup device is just to have an emergency copy of your most valuable and irreplaceable data. I suggest any of the following brands: SanDisk, Samsung, Toshiba, PNY, Kingston, Lexar, Transcend. This is an area in which is is especially important to NOT buy a generic device.

Step 2: Select your most important files, which are hopefully organized into folders, and COPY the files to the flash drive. You can simply drag and drop the files, but do not move them to the flash drive or else the original file on your computer will not be there any more.

Step 3: Remove the flash drive and connect to another computer to verify that the files you want have successfully been backed up.

It is a good idea to also scan the drive for viruses at this time, using your antivirus software.

Step 4: Disconnect the flash drive and keep in a safe place. You may want to consider keeping the flash drive at a different location than your computer, in case of a serious disaster such as fire destroys the entire building that your computer is kept. I suggest making a USB flash drive with your most important pictures and data every year, and keeping them in a safe place. This is your last line of defence against disaster.

Pros: Simple, Cheap, Effective.

Cons: No Backup of recently created data files, Not a complete backup, No backup of your Operating System or Programs.

Tip #2 - External Hard Drive. With an External Hard Drive, you should be able to back up 100% of all of your data, because External Hard Drives are typically very big.

Step 1: Research the various brands of External Hard Drive and read about the backup software that they come with. Each one is a little bit different, and you need to know now exactly which one is right for you, which requires reading and research. I suggest any of the following brands: Seagate, Toshiba, Western Digital, LaCie, or even Maxtor. Again, do NOT buy a generic device.

Step 2: Purchase an External Hard Drive that has the software you want and at least the same storage capacity that your computer's hard drive.

Step 3: Using the backup software that was included with your external hard drive, follow the instruction and make a backup of your computer's hard drive.

Step 4: Decide if you want to keep the External hard Drive connected and make daily, weekly, or monthly automated back ups. Keep in mind that if you get a virus, it may infect the files on the External Hard Drive as well.

Step 5: Check the integrity of the data back up. It the data back up in a format you can actually use to get your data back? Is it a drive image backup or just a file backup? Without using your primary computer, it is possible to access the External Hard Drive and get your data back? This is an important step, because there are often times when a computer user follows the steps of making a backup, but when it matters most, they find out that the backup is ineffective or can not be accessed.

Pros: Complete Data Backup, Not Too Expensive, Configurable for Daily Backup.

Cons: Prone to mechanical failure and virus infection, Data May not be accessible when needed if not configured correctly.

Tip #3 - Online or Cloud Backup. Cloud Backup is considered to be a great solution, but often requires a monthly fee.

Some users are afraid that data backed up to a non local device may be stolen because the data is kept on a third party server, so it is not physically in their sole possession.

Step 1: Research Microsoft ONEDRIVE and Apple iCLOUD and decide either one is right for you, or if you want to consider using a different cloud backup solution such as Kryptonite.

Step 2: Sign up for an account and take into consideration the ongoing monthly fees. Make sure your user name and password are not easy to guess. Do not make your password 123456

Step 3: Download the software and start your first backup, which will probably take all night.

Step 4: Connect to your cloud backup service with another computer, to verify that your data is being backed up the way that you want.

Pros: Complete Data Backup, Configurable for Continuous Backup.

Cons: Monthly Fee, Possible Data Theft.

In conclusion, data back up is some amount of work, but it is work worth doing.

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